How to present your speech
The act of presenting or delivering a speech is one of the most daunting known to today’s student population. Public speaking is still one of the most frequently reported fears in American life, and many students do not know how to conduct themselves properly during a presentation. While many English and Communications classes go over the basics of writing a strong essay or composing an effective speech, far fewer courses actually teach students how to deliver a speech properly.
If you are nervous about a speech or presentation, preparation is absolutely key. Follow these tips to improve your confidence and boost the quality of your presentation.
- Practice Until It Becomes Second Nature
- Slow Down
- Be Conversational
- Plan for Audience Responses
You want to know everything that you will say in your presentation. Deliver the presentation in the mirror, in your bedroom, in the shower, and even in the classroom where you will be presenting. Present until you no longer need to look at notes or presentation slides to keep track of where you are in the presentation. Present in front of friends, classmates, and loved ones, so you are used to addressing an audience. All of this practice will help you memorize your presentation, and it will also help ease your stress and make you perform better.
Many students rush through their speeches because they are nervous. Reading and speaking more quickly is a natural consequence of physiological arousal, which can be caused by stress, caffeine, and anxiety. Learn to slow down as you read your speech. Skip your morning coffee on the day of the presentation. Odds are you will be so excited for the speech that you won’t need the buzz.
Do not bore your audience with lengthy asides, rambling points, or needless information. Do not be too dry or serious in your speech. This will not impress your audience, and may actually cause them to take you less seriously because they are uninterested. Instead, approach your talk with an air of informality. Even if you spent weeks preparing, your speech should seem casually and off the cuff, as if you’re speaking from the top of your head. Be willing to joke with the audience or pause for questions.
A speech is a conversation between the audience and the speaker, even if it is a bit one-sided. Add jokes and pauses to your presentation. Try to plan for all possible audience questions and reactions. Make eye contact and respond to the emotional temperature of the room.