Sometime between attending college and dying, the chances are high that you will one day have to make some sort of presentation before a crowd. It may be for a class project, it might be for the amazing piece of art that you have happened to create, or it may be to talk about the brand new flower you have cultures for the seniors horticultural club. Whenever it is, it is guaranteed to happen, and it is a good idea to be prepared, because the chances are also high that someone else will be making a presentation that day and you’re going to want to stand out from everyone else.
In order to do this, it is first extremely important that you are well prepared. You need to know the material that you are presenting like the back of your own hand, especially because it is common for nerves to make many people forget the most carefully prepared speeches. Make sure you devote a good amount of time to researching your presentation a few days before you are scheduled to speak. This ensures that you won’t be caught unawares when someone asks you a fairly obscure question about your subject—this is especially important for college presentations, as professors will often factor in responses to questions as a part of the overall grade.
Once you have a thorough knowledge of your subject, it is then important to make sure that your presentation materials are professional looking and well put-together. Make sure that your PowerPoint slides are informative, listing the main points that you want your audience to remember. It is also important to make sure that the slide backgrounds are sleek and not distracting. If your presentation requires some sort of handout, make sure it is well designed and interesting to look at—if it is for your job, put the forms in a clear folder so that your colleagues can keep things organized. If you are making a presentation on a particular product, it is a good idea to offer samples to your audience so that they can get a hands-on feel for what you are talking about.
Another important part of your presentation is—you. Make sure that you are well dressed in a professional manner (unless you need to dress up for some reason. If that is the case, the more authentic and detailed you can be, the better). Your appearance can either lend itself to the information and impression you are giving to your audience, or it can take away. You don’t want people to be distracted by the body odor coming off of you because you haven’t showered for a week—so make sure that your hygiene is up to date, along with your wardrobe.
Finally, try to enjoy yourself during the presentation. Your audience will be able to tell whether or not you are comfortable with them and with the information you are giving. If you have fun, they will know it and will most likely smile along with you. So even if you’re nervous, try to find a way to be comfortable in front of everyone and let them know that you really care about what you’re saying.