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Blog Post # 5: Oral Presentations

Q: Thoughts, vibes, feelings about oral presentations? How do you prepare for oral presentations? Lessons learned from good presentations you’ve seen? Tips?

Overall, I feel pretty good about the upcoming presentations. I’m glad and lucky that I’ve picked a topic that aligns so closely with my interests– it’s always easier to talk about things you feel passionately about. I feel like I have a strong grasp of the material, I’m very happy with the powerpoint I’ve prepared, I just need to practice my speech, and I should be good to go. One of the main problems I foresee is nerves.

When I’m nervous, I tend to talk fast and gesture with my hands a lot, neither of which is helpful for a listener to focus on the topic at hand. Remaining self-aware, and reminding myself to take a deep breath and stay grounded in the moment are the best advice I have. (Fingers crossed- feel free to comment with any other strategies!)

One thing I’ve learned, time and time again, is that I tend to psyche myself out before an important event. One of the most effective and helpful remedies is to use that nervous energy to fuel your preparation process. Keep good notecards, have the powerpoint figured out in advance, and know your speech like the back of your hand. Avoiding procrastination is hard, but you’ll feel so much better on the other side knowing you did all you could to make things go well.

It also helps to remind myself that everyone is human, everyone has been in that position. There’s not a single person on Earth that doesn’t know what it’s like to be nervous. As such, people are usually more understanding than you think. Even if you do make mistakes, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself! Treat the topic with appropriate seriousness, but don’t work yourself into a panic over it– generally speaking, things aren’t as big a deal as they feel, or may appear.

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