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Public speaking can feel nerve-wracking but is an important skill to master. Being a good communicator will impress your teachers and even job recruiters. So, follow these tips for successfully giving a class presentation.
1. Pay Attention to Your Non-Verbal Cues
What you say is just one element of the presentation. In fact, 55% of communication is non-verbal. So, pay attention to your body language. You should appear confident, by having good posture and smiling. Also, make eye contact and avoid fidgeting.
Another thing to pay attention to is the way you dress. You want to wear business attire and look professional. Keep in mind your outfit should reflect the nature of the assignment. For example, if you’re speaking in front of a large group you may want to dress more formally.
2. Keep a Steady Pace
When people get nervous they can start to talk faster. Therefore, try to slow down and pace yourself. Remember it’s okay to pause every once in a while to collect your thoughts. Plus, slowing down can help you avoid filler words like “umm.”
To help you with your pace, time yourself giving the speech. That way you can see exactly how fast you’re talking. Another idea is to write out the class presentation and mark where you can pause. Another idea is looking at public speaking examples, such as TED talks.
3. Speak at a Loud Enough Volume
Speaking quietly is another nervous habit. Yet, everyone needs to hear what you’re saying. Plus, your professor may be sitting in the back of the room. In addition, mumbling makes you appear less confident and distracts from your message. To help speak up, breathe from your diaphragm and relax your posture.
4. Talk Clearly
When giving a class presentation, it’s essential to speak clearly. If people can’t understand you then your speech isn’t going to be very effective. Also, students may have trouble following it and start tuning out. The professor may even miss key information. One way to speak clearly is using simple language and shorter sentences. Also, try to avoid using filler words, such as “like” and enunciate properly.
5. Make Your Presentation Interactive
Sometimes your speech can feel like a lecture. That’s why it’s important to add elements to engage your audience. This may include things like asking questions, using visuals, or planning activities. Be sure to have an attention-grabbing introduction. For this, add in elements of humor, evoke emotion, or tell a relevant anecdote. An interactive delivery shows your creativity and provides a memorable class presentation.
6. Make Eye Contact
If you’re feeling anxious, you may start to look down. Yet, making eye contact shows your confidence and makes your voice louder. Keep in mind you can look at people’s shoulders or foreheads instead.
Plus, eye contact helps you gauge the response of your classmates. That way you can make comments based on this information. So, if they appear skeptical, you can say something like, “I know it’s hard to believe, but data backs it up.”
7. Use the Appropriate Number of Slides
Many people get caught up in having a certain amount of PowerPoint slides. Instead of focusing on the number, use as many as you need to get your point across. If you’re sharing a more in-depth topic you may need more than others.
Also, make sure all the information on the slide is relevant. Keep the word count low and discuss one point at a time. Too many words can overwhelm your audience. Another important element is adding visuals, such as graphs or photos. Make sure these are large enough for your peers to see. This can help reinforce the points you’re making and is more engaging.
8. Use Visual Cues to Highlight Relevant Information
As you speak, some of your peers may become distracted. Therefore, use visual cues to draw back their attention. For example, use contrasting colors to emphasize key points. Another tip is to reveal bullet points one at a time. That way the one your currently showing reinforces what you’re saying.
In addition, bold keywords in a long paragraph. For visuals try to circle important parts of the chart. Along with visual cues, use verbal ones as well. Start with introductory phrases, like “This part is really important.”
9. Have Transitions for Your PowerPoint
It can be harder to see change unless there is a clear transition between slides. This is especially true if your slides look similar. Many programs allow you to add in transitions, such as a cross-dissolve. Also, make the changes relevant to the information. For example, if you’re talking about combustion, use a flame transition.
10. Repeat Key Information
Repeating key points helps them stick in your audience’s mind. Plus, it can help tie together two different ideas. It’s also a good idea to start by giving an overview of what you’ll discuss. Then at the end of your presentation repeat the main ideas for emphasis. You can also use visuals to reinforce information.
Tips for Your Class Presentation
Throughout your college career, you’ll give tons of class presentations. These can feel a little intimidating. So, try these tips to give an impressive speech.