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Simple tips to improving your presentations

by Tris Hussey on May 7th, 2007

Did you know public speaking is the number one fear of many people?  Even more than some things like falling and dying.  Really, I’m serious.  I have friends who’d rather be thrown into a vat of starved leeches than have to give a talk or presentation.  Via Lifehacker here are some tips for better presentations:

Hack #1: Rephrase Questions

Hack #2: Pause, Don’t Trip

Hack #3: Write Out the Tricky Parts

Hack #4: Watch Your Apologies

Hack #5: Don’t Distract With Powerpoint
Source: 5 Powerful Hacks to Immediately Improve Your Presentations at Ririan Project

These are good, but you know, they aren’t enough.  Want my tips that have been working for me for over ten years?  Actually, I’m going to tell you anyway, since you’re already here.

First thing is advice my Geology advisor gave me … you know this better than anyone else.  Yes, I know you might not think so, but it’s pretty likely you do. I’ve had to give two big presentations on research I’ve done in my academic career, one for my senior honours project in college and the other was my masters defense.  Those are not easy.  They are nerve wracking to say the least.  But I knew I knew my stuff cold.

Next: practice, but not too much.  Just know what your slides say and what points you want to make.  Don’t try to have each word memorized, that’s just going to drive you nuts, and your audience will feel like they are listening to a recording.

Wear clothes you are comfortable in and you think you look great in.  I don’t care if you’re a man or woman, but wearing clothes that are both comfortable and when you look in the mirror you think “damn I look good” will do wonders for your attitude.

My last piece of advice is a direct result of my masters defense: what’s the worst that can happen?  Really, what’s the worst?  They can be bored or fall asleep or even ask a hard question, but at the end of the talk … you’ll walk off the stage intact.  In my masters defense they could have said: nope you suck, no degree for you, back to the lab.  They didn’t, so after that every presentation as been cake.


POSTED IN: Presensation Hacks, PowerPoint

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