10 Tips to Nail Your Next Presentation

Hey there! I’m assuming you have a presentation to give sometime soon! That’s awesome! Today, I am going to give you several tips to give an engaging presentation. 

I have presented my research at multiple conferences – winning prizes at four of them! I love public speaking and engaging with the audience. My public speaking career began when I spoke in front of my FCA club my freshman year of high school. So I guess you could say that I have had some time to practice. Let’s go ahead and get started. 

  1. Make sure that you are dressed for the occasion.

You want to look professional and put together – no sweat pants or hoodies.

Bonus Tip: Make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes too! 

2. Double check that you have all the equipment you need for your presentation. This can include a computer, pointer/clicker, adapter cables, flash drive, hard copy of your presentation, etc. 

Bonus Tip: Carry a pen and notebook in your bag to conferences/presentations. You will want to take notes during other people’s talks. I learned so much from other people’s research. You can also take note of what other people did well with their presentation and you can try it for your next conference. 

Bonus Tip 2: Make sure to take a water bottle with you! 

3. Try to stay relaxed as possible when you’re in front of the room. 

Some conferences have chairs for you to sit in while other places will have you stand behind a podium. Just keep your body relaxed! 

4. Make eye contact with people in the audience. 

Sweep your gaze around the room and make eye contact with people in the audience. If you make eye contact with someone – smile at them! They’ll most likely smile back at you and this will help you feel more relaxed. 

5. Speak with confidence. 

You are the expert in the room once you start talking. Everyone is there to hear what you have to say! You put the hours into this presentation and should feel proud of your work! 

6. Don’t worry if you stumble over your words! 

Nobody is judging you, I promise. Bonus points if you are able to laugh at yourself. This will show other people in the room that you are still human and comfortable with yourself! 

7. Speak slowly and enunciate your words. 

Sometimes it’s easy to get nervous and you might start speaking quicker than usual. This makes it really hard for people to understand you. Just remember to take a deep breath, speak slowly, and enunciate your words. 

8. Make sure that you are projecting your voice. 

This is especially if the room doesn’t have a microphone set up for you to use. You might even start your presentation by asking if the people in the back of the room can hear you. If they can, that’s great! If not, you’ll have to speak louder. 

9. Make sure to thank the audience for their time and attention. 

Depending on the presentation this would be the time to ask if the audience has any questions. Try to answer as many questions as possible. 

Bonus Tip: Don’t make up something if you don’t know the answer to an audience member’s question. Simply tell them that it was an excellent question and that you don’t know the answer to it. Make a mental note of the question or write it down quickly! Audience questions can make your presentations better over time. 

10. After the presentation and question time is over, you can ask any friends or colleagues in the audience if they have any critiques of your performance. 

These need to be trusted people that will give you good advice that will make you a better professional speaker. 

I hope these tips help you out on your next presentation. You’re going to do great! I just know it! 

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂 

(Left) 2nd place finish for American History Graduate Students. My cohort swept the prizes for US History that year!
(Right) 3rd place finish for American History Graduate Students. Shout out to my friend for snapping the picture of me speaking!

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