5 Ways to Improve Your College Presentation Skills

April 10th, 2017

BY TES PAJARON

A lot of people find public speaking to be a bit intimidating – even when they’re speaking to a group of their peers. Unless you’re overtly extroverted or strongly charismatic, giving a college presentation may come as a bit of a challenge. You want to make a great impression, prove to everyone that you’re well researched and of course get topgrades. Preparing can help you find the confidence you need to nail your presentation, and your grade will reflect your effort.

  1. Learn More Than You Need to Learn

One of the easiest ways to make a presentation more interesting is to provide listeners with facts they wouldn’t have had easy access to. Yes, you do need to discuss the basics, however it’s what happens when you go beyond the basics that makes a presentation truly interesting. Pepper your presentation with interesting facts or even jokes about the subject matter. You won’t be regurgitating a textbook or a study if you have enough additional information to spice things up a little bit. You can even get your audience involved. These new tidbits will keep people engaged in what your presenting.

  1. Know When to Fake It

Eye contact is important in a presentation. You want to acknowledge the people who are listening to you. They’re giving you their attention, and the least you could do is return the favor. If you feel too nervous to commit to actual eye contact with the people you’re standing in front of, you can always fake that eye contact. By looking at inanimate objects in the distance, it will appear as though you’re shifting your glance from person to person. You’ll appear engaged, but you won’t actually be distracted or uncomfortable.

  1. Memorize as Much as Possible

Nobody wants to watch you read. It’s a great idea to have notecards with your talking points to help you keep your presentation on track, but if you spend most of your time looking down, you’re minimizing your presence. Have the main points on notecards and memorize the parts connecting these points. Don’t be afraid to adlib a little bit. As long as you’re hitting all of your major talking points in a reasonable amount of time while maintaining a connection with your audience, you’re going to be just fine.

  1. Time and Pace

Your college presentation will usually have to adhere to some kind of timeframe. Maybe you have to fill a minimum of five minutes and a maximum of ten. If you’re feeling jittery or you’re simply tired of the material you’ve learned, you may rush through your presentation and fail to meet the time limit. When you practice, time yourself and adjust your pacing. You can stretch a little bit of material a lot farther with practiced pacing. A few pauses for your listeners to digest the information and a steady talking speed can actually reduce the amount of things you’ll need to say in order to make your time. However, make sure you leave yourself enough time to cover all of your points.

  1. Be Comfortable

If your shoes are killing your feet and your belt is on too tight, it’s going to be difficult for you to concentrate and engage with your audience. You want to look nice standing in front of your class, but you don’t want to look awkward and uncomfortable. If your narrow pointed toe shoes are making it painful every time you step down, your audience will be able to see it in your face. Dress nice, but dress casually. You’ll be able to breathe, move, and think better in clothes designed with your comfort in mind.

Practice makes perfect. Once you think you have a good idea of how you intend to deliver your presentation, practice it until your delivery becomes second nature. Also if you feel you need to brush up on your presentation & business skills be sure to check out online courses on the topic. It’s a lot less intimidating to do something familiar in front of a group than it is if you feel out of your element.

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

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