The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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How To Prepare For A Presentation

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Ho to prepare for a presentation graphic, with a Zoom recorder

Presentations aren’t my strong suit. No matter how much preparing I do, my mind always goes blank right before it’s my turn to talk. I am so impressed with a teacher’s ability to speak publicly for so long. It’s a powerful skill to be able to gain the attention of an audience.

At the beginning of this week I had to give a 15-minute presentation. I was nervous, but determined to talk with confidence. Below are a few of the things I did in preparation for my speech.


1. I looked up words and names I didn’t know how to pronounce. It’s not a great feeling forgetting or not knowing how to say something in the middle of a presentation. I used Google Translate to hear the pronunciation of certain words.


2. Ditch the coffee and grab a water. I don’t know about you, but coffee can sometimes make my throat dry. Having a water by my side allows me to take sips when I hear my voice starting to strain. Plus, it gives me time to pause and prevent myself from going off topic.


3. Time your presentation beforehand. I used the stopwatch application on my iPhone to ensure my talk followed the time limit guideline.


4. Record and listen to yourself. By hearing your presentation out loud you get to note what part needs improving. You can hear if you are rambling or not giving enough detail. It's a sign your talk needs some revision if you start yawning while listening to your own recording. 


5. Go through your presentation with a friend. Try finding someone who is less knowledgeable on the topic you are discussing. They will be able to point out what points need further clarification.


6. Dress nicely. Looking presentable boosts my confidence and shows the class that I care about my topic of discussion. Putting in a little extra effort in what you wear can be a game changer when it comes to your presentation.


7. Don’t try to just get it out of the way. I have gone into classes wanting to be the first to present just to get it over with. When I think this way my work tends to be sloppy and unorganized. Going first is great if you feel proud and ready.


8. Finally, get a good night's rest and stretch. If you know you have a big presentation the next day, go to bed relatively early and eliminate all distractions. Set alarms for the time you want to be in bed and stick to it. Stretching before you present is a great way to get your blood flowing and mind working.



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