Deal with nerves

Be prepared & rehearsed

Be prepared.
If you turn up for a presentation badly prepared you get confused, your notes and slides are a mess and your audience find it hard to follow and lose interest quickly.

If you put in the time and effort to prepare well you know the content well, and know what order you are going to talk in. You have neat, brief notes that you can use as prompts (not a script). That means you can interact with the audience much more and keep them interested. The structure of your presentation is well thought out and clear.

Being well prepared is one of the best ways to reduce nerves. If you can be confident about the content and structure of your presentation, you can be much more confident about standing up and giving it. Do the groundwork and you can give a strong presentation.

Be rehearsed
An actor will always rehearse so they know their lines and how they are going to deliver them. The more times he/she has been through the part, the more confident they are at delivering it well: the more you practise the more confident you will be about giving your presentation.

This video shows a Solent University masters student talking about how he prepares for a presentation:

Rehearsal tips:
  • Read each section out loud as you prepare it
  • Check that you can talk fluently about the content you have prepared
  • Work through any confusions or difficulties you come across in this practice
  • Read through the whole presentation
  • Time yourself to be sure that you are not over or under time
  • Practise slightly different ways of expressing what you want to say
  • Check all of your transitions
  • sound or video record yourself giving the presentation and review how well you did it.
  • Rehearse in front of an audience- Flatmates, classmates, your family 
  • Encourage your rehearsal audience to ask questions at the appropriate time as that will prepare you for handling questions when you do it for real.