By far the biggest problem in giving a class presentation is standing up in front of the class and looking like a fool. But, this is only a fear – not a reality for the student who knows the greatest speakers’ secrets. The fear never goes away; the speakers merely get better at masking it over the years.
Of course, the first thing the student needs for a great class presentation is a great idea. Class presentations are usually geared around what has been studied in the class, so if you haven’t been paying attention at least choose the topic that is most interesting to you. If you absolutely hate your science class, find something on topic that pertains to you – like the weather.
The best tool for speaking is props. Props are materials that further explain what you are talking about. Not only do props prove that you have researched and taken the time to prepare your talk, but they are an excellent way to keep the focus off of you! Furthermore, props keep you on a roll; they remind you of where you are in your speech so that you don’t have to read from the paper which would be utterly boring to the listeners. A good example of props for the “Weather” presentation would be maps of radar, photos of tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., a thermometer or a barometer.
Make only one note card as a “cue” card. This card should be placed somewhere stationary and used only to glance at. Use a bold black marker to make one or two-word cues in the order of your speech. For example, the card may have a list consisting of atmosphere, then climate change, then temperature and so on. If during the talk you find yourself at a loss for words, simply treat this as a pause and glance at that card. If you’re still stuck – review. Re-cap what you’ve just gone over and it will probably come back to you.
Excellent speakers agree that there are certain taboos to avoid while talking to a group; one of them is nervous ‘ticks’. Don’t twirl your hair or fiddle with your ring or weave back and forth. Unless you are using your hands to show a prop (which is a good idea), try to hold your hands in place somewhere. A second taboo is lack of eye contact. If this makes you uncomfortable, you can look at the tops of the heads of the people in the group to appear that you are including everyone in the room. Think about it: if you are standing with your hands stock-still, it would seem a bit robotic to not glance around the room.
A final suggestion in delivering an engaging speech is to watch the pace of your language. It’s natural to speak faster when we are nervous. If the speech is important to you, for say a job interview or a final grade, you may want to practice at home. Many family dogs have listened joyfully to their masters’ speeches. If possible, record yourself to check out the pace. Slow, deliberate speech allows listeners to relax and also gives you time to think about what you are going to say next!
All in all, just about everyone is nervous getting up in front of strangers. Even teachers have the jitters the first day of class, but the only difference between you and them is that they have become masters of masking their jitters by using this list of secrets:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Choose what interests you most
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Prepare a few props
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Keep one cue card
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Don’t fidget or weave
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Make eye contact
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Watch your pace
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Practice the speech