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Creating Presentations

Presentation Anxiety

It’s normal to be anxious or nervous when giving a presentation, but there are ways that presentation anxiety can be reduced. 

Before your presentation, build your confidence through knowledge.

  • Remember that the focus is not on you, but on your message
  • Remind yourself of the value of your ideas
  • Educate yourself about the facts and build a passion for what you’re talking about

Learn and use public speaking techniques that will improve your presentation.

  • Start with an attention grabber
  • Use a pre-planned structure, like a beginning, middle, and end
  • Engage the audience with eye contact or tools (ie. polls, Q&A)
  • Don’t be afraid of silence
  • Use effective body language
  • Practice!

Identify the cause of your anxiety so you can use specific techniques to reduce it.

  • A new skill? Work on skill development and practice
  • Perfectionism? Practice mindfulness, use this event as a lesson learned
  • General stress? When not directly related to the presentation, focus on destressing strategies (ie. yoga, mindfulness, journaling, music)
  • Glossophobia (fear of public speaking)? Discuss with a counsellor at the Student Wellness Centre
  • The event? With pressure to succeed at the event, concentrate on preparation, building knowledge, and practicing

Other strategies to try:

  • Find opportunities to present regularly, or join a club where there is a lot speaking
  • Focus on one audience member rather than the whole crowd
  • Watch TED Talks and observe how the presenters speak, move, etc.
  • Use appropriate humour in your presentation

 

Improve your writing and study skills! Book an appointment with a writing advisor and/or academic coach on OSCARplus.  Questions? Email skills@mcmaster.ca

References

“Fear of Public Speaking.” The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disordershttps://centerforanxietydisorders.com/fear-of-public-speaking/.

Sawchuk, Craig N. “Fear of Public Speaking: How Can I Overcome It?” Mayo Clinic, 17 May 2017, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/specific-phobias/expert-answers/fear-of-public-speaking/faq-20058416.

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