An exam in college? A presentation at work? A regular speech at school? Over the years we approach them more and more easily, we learn, however, we cannot always cope with stage fright or effective way of conveying the content. Are there any proven patterns for a good self-presentation?
Self-presentation must have its goals. What are they? If you are preparing for an exam at university, try to take into account the requirements of your committee, if in a company – its needs. The presentation must be focused, so it is worth having these goals in front of you and subordinating the entire content to them. The speech always depends on the place where we give it. At school we will speak differently than at work.
If we can cope with stage fright, presenting our paper will be easy. There are various ways to do it (such as breathing exercises), but not everyone finds the same thing helpful. It is the stress, the fear of being judged that makes us give in to our emotions and actually become worst. Fortunately, the art of self-presentation is something that each of us can work out.
Contrary to appearances, this presentation is addressed to someone, we are not doing it just for ourselves. So we need to focus on what we want to convey and what form will be ideal for them. If the speech is to last longer, you should take care of appropriate “interjections” so that the audience will not fall asleep. Use rhetorical questions, change your tone, gesture – attract the attention of the audience. During the exam, make sure that the information you provide presents your knowledge well, your sentences are clear and precise. This will put us in a good light and result in an adequate grade.
Don’t make your presentation too complicated. Long sentences can make it difficult to understand. From time to time, use short slogans that summarize individual parts of the presentation and help to remember the whole. That way, after the presentation, everyone will be able to tell what the presentation was about in the first place and no one will feel like they just wasted their time on us.
To make our presentation varied, it is worth trying to get a technical setting in the form of a projector. Often it is possible, because the pictorial form of the presentation helps in its reception. The standard tool that is used is PowerPoint, but it already depends on individual preferences. Recently (pandemic) caused the development of many online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, which allow us to self-present online (this is governed by slightly different laws, which are worth remembering). Then the visual presentation is even required.
It must be characterized by a clear message, appropriate font size, contrast and number of sentences and images on each slide. There can be neither too many nor too few of them, but it depends on what we are going to present – if the project is based, for example, on presenting apartment designs, more pictures simply have to appear there. As far as contrast is concerned, light letters on a darker background are usually chosen, as they are visually more pleasing, but they do not have to be “mournful” white letters on a black background.
Often, just arriving and knowing the location of your future speech is enough for a person to stop being so nervous. This is understandable – if we know the technical background beforehand, we won’t stress about whether the equipment will work, whether the file will open, etc. We will also be able to imagine our speech, get used to the thought, which also helps some people a lot. Ideally, we will have the opportunity to rehearse our speech under these conditions.
If we do not have the opportunity to rehearse our speech at the venue, we should do it somewhere else. Only during such a process we will be able to adjust our voice, practice the way of speaking, poses and gestures, better remember the content presented. Not always what looks good written will look equally good delivered orally.
Plan your speech
If your presentation is longer, it is a good idea to provide an outline for your audience so they know what to expect. Include your main arguments. If you are stating a thesis, you must include examples supported by citations or results from researchers, and you should include various documents or teaching aids that you can hand out to the audience for review. The speech should also begin and end properly, not forgetting a brief summary.
Public speaking – it’s something most of us don’t like, but more than once had to face it. It is not worth being afraid. To do this, it is good to prepare properly, not forgetting about the basic features of self-presentation.
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