Last week I had my first presentation of the year. It was for my Foreign Policy Analysis class with Professor Edelgard Mahant. This is one of my favorite classes this year. My presentation was jam-packed; so jam-packed that I went over time. This was unfortunate. When I spoke to my husband about this he suggested that in the future I enlist the help of one of my classmates. He or she can provide a signal to indicate to let you know that your time is almost up. This is a great idea! There are other things that you can do to make sure you stay on time, like rehearsing. I didn’t rehearse before this presentation and this really affected my delivery. As I usually rehearse, I know it works!
Rehearsing your presentation several times before the big day makes your delivery much smoother. If you don’t have a family member or friend who you can present to, I suggest you record your attempts during your rehearsal. This way you will hear how your presentation sounds- especially if you have the tendency to say, “uhhh” or “ummm”. The other culprit of unnecessary noise during presentations is lip smacking. The playback will reveal the areas you can improve on. The flow of the presentation rests on your ability to deliver the content smoothly. What works for me is replacing my “umm” with a pause. This pause allows me to collect myself before I proceed with my next point.
Nerves are another challenge when presenting. There is a lot of adrenaline that pulses through your veins when you stand in front of people. Sometimes we have the tendency to speak really fast because of our nerves. Our mind is racing, trying to remember the content, and our mouth is trying to keep up! When rehearsing, make a conscious effort to slow down and enunciate all your words.
If you have your timing down, consider smiling as you deliver your presentation.Smiling makes you more attractive to your audience but they also become more receptive to what you are saying. Smiling shows your audience that you are engaged with them and also engaged with your content. I delivered a lot of presentations in my time in the working world; as an Account Manager with Morneau Shepell, part of my role was to deliver orientation sessions to employees and managers. The tips I have given you, are coming from experience.
There are good resources out on the web too:
If you are looking for some help on how to organize your presentation, consider “The Preacher’s Maxim” as suggested to me by my
friend and classmate, Dean Ray (@deanraymondray) : first tell them what your gonna tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. I think that’s the gist of it.
If you are ever looking for some suggestions, you are also always welcome to ask me. See you next week!