So I recently had to do my first assessed pitch presentation at university. To give you an indication of how much I hate giving presentations, I’d been dreading it since I read the assessment methods when considering the course. They scare me, A LOT. But I survived it, and so I’ll share some tips on how to survive yours if you have one coming up. Some of these things were suggested in my constructive criticism from the lecturer.
1. Probably the most obvious one and I’ll forgive you if you roll your eyes, but don’t just stand behind the computer and stare at the screen. My defence for the presentation I just did was that I needed to tap enter to keep the presentation going, but the lecturer suggested getting a clicker for next time. Using a clicker means you can stand away from the computer and appear more engaging. It sends fear to my very soul but I’m going to suck it up and give it a go next time- can’t hide behind the computer forever! If it gets you better marks it’s worth a shot.
2. Use the presentation as a summary. I’ll admit I wrote way to much on the slides. At one point my nerves got the better of me and I started reading word for word despite having different notes to read from. If you summarise on the slides you’ll be forced to use notes or memory (if you’re at expert level) and not look at the presentation so much, appearing more confident. Having too much to read can also take away the audience’s attention and you ideally want their focus on what you’re saying.
3. Use that nifty animation function. I don’t mean have your words flying on from all different directions with aeroplane sounds, but it’s good to make each bit of information appear as you start to talk about it. The lecturer suggested I do this more in my presentations as it means they can quickly read that bit then put all their attention straight back to your talking. With all the information on each slide all at once the audience will be tempted to just read instead of listen. It makes your presentation look better, and who’s inner child doesn’t want to play with the animation function?
4. Learn that presentation inside out. Another obvious one, but it’s pretty easy to think because you’ve wrote notes and rehearsed a few times that it’ll all be fine on the day. If you know your campaign, or whatever information you’re presenting inside out then even if you go off track from the notes you’ll know what you’re talking about. You won’t be as nervous and you’ll be ready for any questions thrown at you. I added an extra slide in about ten minutes before I was due to present. When it popped up I’d totally forgotten about it, hadn’t rehearsed it and it threw me. Make sure you’re as prepared as possible, it’ll definitely ease the nerves.
5. Dress that little bit more fancy. If you feel professional, even if it’s just a uni presentation like mine, you’ll feel more confident and it’ll help get you in to focused mode. I tried to dress smart, and felt like I was going to work when I headed out, but I feel like it helped. Look the part, feel the part.
Do you have any different tips? Let me know below or send me a message on Twitter!