It’s completely normal to be nervous before your class presentation. Even if you’re comfortable with your classmates, there’s something about public speaking that creates anxiety. The good news is that public speaking doesn’t need to be so difficult. To make public speaking more bearable, we’ve included 5 tips to boost your confidence for your class presentation.
1. Pinpoint what makes you nervous
Before you start creating your presentation, identify what about the class presentation is making you nervous. You may be nervous about receiving a poor grade or embarrassing yourself in front of your classmates. Once you figure out what is making you nervous, you can work to address it directly.
If you’re worried about receiving a bad grade, check the grading rubric and make sure you address each of the categories in your presentation. If you don’t want to seem awkward and nervous in front of your classmates, remind yourself that you’re the expert on the topic you’re presenting, and your classmates will view you as one, too.
Additionally, remember that your classmates are just as worried as you are about receiving a bad grade and looking unprepared in front of their classmates. Working to identify what makes you nervous will help you combat it and increase your confidence.
2. Watch speeches you admire
In order to determine what makes a great class presentation, you should watch or attend speeches and take note of the characteristics you liked. If you already have some favorite speeches, watch those online. If you don’t, some great places to start are commencement speeches, since they’re inspiring and emotional.
Take things you learned from watching speeches, like the tone of voice, cadence, posture, and incorporate them into your own class presentation. If you like how someone started their speech with a joke, add a joke to your presentation if it’s appropriate.
Having speeches you watch and look up to will help you model your class presentation after them. This will make you more excited to give your class presentation.
3. Practice, practice, and practice again
While this advice seems inherent to almost everything, it’s especially important in gaining confidence in your class presentation skills. Feeling prepared will help you relax, which will result in a smoother, more confident presentation.
You can practice in front of a mirror, your roommates, or to yourself. Remember that people usually speak a lot faster when presenting to a group because they’re so nervous, so watch your cadence and become familiar with your presentation. Natural pauses help the audience understand what you said, and you lose them when you speak too quickly.
Make sure your introduction and main talking points are memorized. If you have these down, your presentation will seem effortless. Since you’re the expert on your topic, you’ll always be able to add supplementary information when you feel it’s right. If there’s a time requirement, remember to time your presentation. Practicing until you feel very comfortable with your class presentation will help alleviate your nerves.
4. Visualize your success
It’s been shown that visualizing your success will actually increase your chances of succeeding. To build confidence in your presentation, imagine yourself doing it. Walk yourself through effortlessly giving your entire presentation with your classmates listening intently. You can even come up with potential questions you might be asked after your presentation.
Visualizing yourself giving a successful class presentation helps you understand that it’s possible. This increased confidence in yourself will show when you give your actual presentation.
5. Learn from your mistakes
If this isn’t your first-class presentation, reflect on the mistakes you made in the past. If this is your first-class presentation, ask friends, family, or even your teacher on their tips to give the best class presentation. Incorporate these lessons into your presentation in order to feel more prepared than ever before.
Learning from your past mistakes is important because mistakes should be seen as a learning experience. You can be embarrassed by class presentation mistakes, but do not let it consume you. Using your past experiences to grow and better your public speaking skills will help you become more confident every time you have a class presentation.
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