‘Presenting and techniques’, created with Easel.ly, by Tara Lupus
I’m an anxious person who loves performing and presentations. A bit strange right? I’m studying public relations so I’ve had the opportunity to practice my presenting skills which has been perfect for me. Plus, in the world of communication verbal presentation skills are vital! I really do look up to motivational speakers and speech writers. Even my University lecturers and tutors inspire me to become a good speaker, and really anyone who can carry out an engaging presentation without letting the nerves kick in. So in other words, I’m in awe of people who have great presentation skills and I am motivated to one day be great too. I’ve been told by tutors over the year’s one word: practice. I practice my presentations at home, in the shower and in front of the mirror but sometimes that’s not enough, not enough to extend or work out new ways to feel comfortable presenting, so I tried something a little on the crazy side this week…
I’m writing this blog post today because I thought I would share one of my new techniques that helped me remember a script for my 5 minute presentation. I know, I know, you say 5 minutes is nothing, once you’re up there you’re sitting back down again a second after. While I can agree with you, when the marker is assessing your ability to rely on memory rather than a script it can be daunting for me. Yesterday, I presented my first presentation relying on dot points instead of having a full script to rely on if things got awkward. This time round I had to step up and work hard to deliver a presentation relying on my memory and not on a script.
So, here it goes. For a couple of previous units, I created some videos featuring myself. I spoke to the camera as I walked down the street. I found that my ideas flow much more naturally when I’m walking and forcing myself with each step to keep talking. I thought to myself, why not try this technique again? With a change of surroundings I also found my confidence grew as I knew some people could be judging me for talking aloud. I did avoid or stop talking as I walked past some people, but if I really felt the need to complete a sentence I just kept going. But if you feel uncomfortable with the thought of strangers thinking you’re a crazy, nothing is stopping you from stopping – it’s not presentation time yet. The only person I was embarrassing was myself, but to be honest I did not feel awkward at all because I wanted to really make myself feel comfortable with my vocabulary and a practicing my conversational tone – this was the style we were being asked to present in. The thing is, I knew why I was doing this and it was going to be me up there presenting… so if this was going to help me ‘think on my feet’ literally then nothing was going to stop me. I also took a hard copy of my speech with me to help me remember where I was up to and if I had any blank moments I could use the script to prompt me. I was able to work out which parts I knew well and other parts that were not sticking so well.
I think this technique works, if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone. Every time I stand up to give a presentation I am stepping outside my comfort zone, even though I love talking. Talking to friends and family is completely different to a professional presentation and now I’m trying to learn how to build my professional presenting skills and keep it fun. When I presented yesterday I was less anxious, even though my hand was shaking and my leg jolted uncontrollably – but like I said earlier it takes practice. I’m extremely happy with how I presented and scored an HD (High Distinction) with excellent feedback from my tutor such as “A natural presenter”. I’m not lying guys when I say this technique helped me, it honestly did. It was another opportunity to practice my presentation in a different surrounding and the odd feeling of doing it in a public space.
Remember: You’re walking past them, how many words do they hear anyway? You know why you’re doing it, do it for yourself.