Formation continue, also known as vocational training, is different from traditional education, but there are some similarities between the two. One similarity is the fact that some teachers still require students to talk in front of the entire class, which is a nightmare for introverts. Nonetheless, public speaking is a necessary skill to master when you want a career in leadership.
Here are some tips that can help you ace your class presentation:
1. Remember That It’s a Skill
You may be tempted to think that, because you’re not proficient at speaking to a crowd, you should just leave that task to others who can. You may not have been born with the talent to use words to charm your way out of anything, but you can definitely learn this particular skill. Formation continue students know that theory and practice go hand in hand in acquiring knowledge. Anyone can become a good orator. It just takes a little practice.
These are some exercises you can do to improve this skill:
- Talk to Children – Present your class report to kids to alleviate your anxiety over talking with your peers as well as to be able to convey your ideas simply and concisely.
- Outline Your Points – Writing down the flow of your presentation in a bullet-point format allows your mind to visualize it and absorb it better.
- Experiment – Practice and alter some parts of your speech using different words or phrasings. This tactic allows you to become a natural speaker and prevents you from sounding like someone programmed the presentation in your brain.
- Learn Different Styles of Pacing – Carry out the presentation with a friend and ask them for feedback, such as if you should speak slowly to clearly get your message across.
2. Use Visual Materials Appropriately
Slides are meant to supplement your talk; it shouldn’t be the highlight. Otherwise, you could have just sent the PowerPoint or Keynote file via email to your audience and saved everyone’s time. Your presentation slides must only include the facts or points that you want to emphasize so that, if ever your peers don’t listen to the entire thing, they still get valuable takeaway.
Some guidelines to follow when crafting your slides:
- Simplicity is Key – Yes, you want something more than just black text on a white background, but you shouldn’t overdo it with the colors and designs, too. Make sure that you use hues that complement each other with a font size that’s readable even from the back of the room.
- Include Key Points Only – Don’t just dump your whole script in the slides and read as you move along your presentation. Visual aids should support what you’re saying in front, not repeat your words verbatim, so keep it to a few points per slide.
- Limit Animation – While transitions and builds can enhance the engagement of your audience, you should keep it to a minimum. Stick to subtle effects such as Wipe and Fade. Also, keep the effects consistent throughout your presentation.
- Place High-Quality Graphics – When using photos and images, choose the ones that are high resolution. Don’t stretch a small, low-resolution picture because it will just turn out blurry and can become a visual hindrance and distraction rather than an aid. Be aware of copyright issues, too. It’s better to take your own pictures and use them.
3. Keep Your Audience Engaged
No one wants a robotic speaker droning away in front while boring the class out of their minds. You want your classmates to learn something after you presented the information that you want them to learn. That’s why you should keep your audience engaged with stories, eye contact, and humour.
You can even make your presentation interactive by:
- Hosting a Q&A – A question-and-answer (Q&A) session after your report will give the audience an opportunity to clarify some ideas or points that they don’t understand. Plus, you can also gauge if they actually listened to you.
- Obtain Audience Feedback – Ask your classmates yes or no questions such as “How many of you have ever gotten a parking ticket?” for a report on traffic rules and regulations and have them raise their hands for confirmation. This can build their participation and make them more attentive to what you have to say.
- Let Them Choose – An interesting approach is to set up a “choose your own adventure” presentation that allows them to pick what back stories they want to hear or what videos you should play next.
- Get Them Moving – Activities such as having them turn to their seatmate to say hello can break the “rigidity” of the class and give it a more open vibe where they can easily interact with you as a speaker.
4. Demonstrate Confident Body Language
As a speaker, you’re expected to have done your research and know all about the topic assigned to you. The way you present yourself in front can make or break your peer’s impression on your expertise on the subject. Most communication is done through nonverbal cues, so, if you go ahead and report with slumped shoulders, your classmates will conclude that you don’t know what you’re talking about and proceed to tune you out.
Confident body language includes:
- A Proper Standing Position – Stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart. This evenly distributes your weight on both legs and immediately gives off an air of confidence.
- Eye Contact – Looking at your audience directly in the eye shows that you’re interested in their learning experience and comfortable in helping them with the process.
- Hold Your Chin Up – Face the group with your chin held at an appropriate angle, with your neck a bit stretched. Of course, don’t keep your head too high that you look down on them when you talk. Strike a balance of confidence and humility.
- Resist Fidgeting – Fidgeting is a sure sign of nervousness. Keep this to a minimum. You can lessen your anxiety over the event by practicing your speech and preparing every detail of your slide beforehand.
Presentations can be fun for the speaker, even for shy people. Think of it as your time in the spotlight, where everyone gets to listen to what you have to say. It’s normal to feel anxious and nervous. Nonetheless, take this moment to shine and share your newfound knowledge with your classmates.
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