By Megan You, Illinois FBLA State Vice President, Southwestern Area
Have a powerpoint or case study you have to present in front of judges? Have a bad case of stage fright? Do you get hot, cold, shaky, or dizzy when it comes to speaking to an audience? Here are some tips & tricks to help calm your nerves and to present like a pro!
For a little background, I used to never speak in front of anyone apart from my family or close friends. I was always sheltered and too afraid to have a voice, whether it was for presentation purposes or outside of it. However, involving myself in clubs and organizations like FBLA taught me how to properly break out of my shell of discomfort. Acknowledging this, I’m extremely proud of the achievements I’ve made through solely competing in presentation and case study events like Public Speaking, Sports & Entertainment Management, and Entrepreneurship. Speaking in front of a crowd of either 10 people or 3,000 people gets easier over time, trust me. Through the tips I’ll mention, hopefully this will not only strengthen your leadership, but also make you confident in yourself the next time you speak in front of strangers!
I know this sounds easy, but the first thing you have to do is to take deep breaths and drink tons of water. Sometimes when you’re really nervous, you forget to do common, menial tasks like these! Forgetting to breathe and hydrate yourself will only heighten your nervousness and could possibly force you to mess up. Another tip is to act confident. Whether you feel like it or not, when judges or strangers from a crowd pick up that you’re confident in what you’re about to present, they’ll have more trust in your words and be more attentive to what you’re saying. If you forgot what you were saying before or forgot part of your line/script, pause, take a break. The judges/audience will appreciate silence more than stuttering.
Lastly, if you have a presentation or visual aid to present, make sure that the audience isn’t geared to the slideshow or object but more so yourself and how you’re presenting it to them. Don’t focus too much on pointing things out on a slideshow but also don’t refer back to your prop a heavy amount of times. Point, mention, specify.
Hopefully, these tips & tricks helped you! While these may seem a little introductory or small, they’ll help you massively in the end. So make sure you breathe, drink fluids, be confident, and present like a pro.