Presenting a Seminar in college
By Deepa Gupta, Lecturer Amity University Noida
So you've got to present a paper, deliver a seminar or give a presentation for you semester project? You have prepared very good Powerpoint presentation but speaking in front of large audience is giving you shivers.
If so then here are some public speaking tips that should make your job easier.
Outline your speech
Write out about what you are going to talk about. Ideally you should note all the points you want to make in your speech and in a reasonably logical order. You must have thought about these points while preparing your Presentation.
Make notes about these points
Elaborate your thoughts about these points which you just noted. For each one note few bullet points on which you can expand on.
You can think of using old-fashioned 3x5 index cards.
Practice your presentation
Stand in front of a mirror and practice your speech. If you feel shy in front of others then do this while no-one else is at home. Speaking out loud is a very important part of this practice. Sure, it may be uncomfortable the first few times you try it but you'll get better as you go along. Note the places where you stumble. This gives you pointers for where you need to change your speech slightly.
Think like you are talking to one person
While presenting your seminar, talk as you are talking face to face with one person. If you've got a large audience, focus on one person and talk to them. You've done this all your life so it should be easier.
Stay away from humor
Unless you're a renowned after dinner speaker, humor is best left out of your speech. Not everyone shares the same sense of humor – for some "Aaj Tak" is a serious news channel while lot others watch it as a comedy channel – so keep such examples out of your presentation.
Don't fidget or move too much while speaking
If you've got a podium then there's a natural place to put your hands. If you haven't, be aware of what you are doing with your hands and don't play with them or gesture too much. Fidgeting makes you look nervous!
If you stumble, carry on
Most of your audience will be relieved that it's not them giving the speech. If you stumble, recover as fast as you can. Do your best not to get uncomfortable and make sure you keep your place in your speech so you can recover from any glitches quickly. The points you noted during your preparation might come handy in such situations.
Keep it short
Unless you've been told that you absolutely have to speak for a set amount of time, stick to the idea that less is more. Don't bore your audience. Ideally they should be wanting more when you've finished your set speech.
Don't resort to alcohol
Tempting as it may be to have a shot of something before you take to the stage, it's better to be 100% sober and in control.
Unless the fire alarm has just sounded and you all need to leave the building, keep going! Keep your speech going as planned. Don't panic if one or two of your audience walk out – they may just have had an urgent message or need to answer a call of nature. And make sure your cell phone is turned off as well!