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How I Overcame My Presentation Fears

Posted on the 05 May 2011 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

Today's guest post is by Angeliki who is in the final year of her PhD (Congrats Angeliki!). She lives and works in UK. Her passion is reading everything related to psychology and sharing what she’s learning on her blog RePSYCH. RePsych explores ways to enjoy each moment and includes articles on productivity, organisation, stress reduction, healthy leaving and self-discovery.

Giving presentations is not one of my favorite activities. In fact, having to present in front of a big audience makes me feel sick and scared. But, I have had to get over my fear. I have to give a lot of presentations as part of my job so I have had to push myself to become the best speaker I can possibly be.
In the past, Classy Career Girl has given some fabulous tips on speeches and presentations.  I have studied other speakers and have meticulously taken notes.  Also, in every presentation I’ve given in the last year I wrote down what was good and bad and what worked and what didn’t. Another secret to improving my speaking skills was watching videos on TED which was the best presentation school for me. I learned so much and I have a notebook full of scribbles. I wanted to share some tips that really helped me.
1. Walking to the podium and back. This is as important as the presentation itself. You have to look confident and comfortable. Even if you don't feel confident, fake it. Walk with a straight back and walk slowly. Don’t run to the podium and  don’t run to your seat when you’re done. You don’t want anyone else to know that you are scared or unsure. You want to create mystery and enigma so take your time because you are important and others want to hear what you have to say! (But, of, course don’t overdo it).
2. Stand up. When your name is called or after you’ve been introduced don’t stand up reluctantly. Instead, “jump” up as you’re about to do something fun and exciting.
3. Pause-pause-pause. Speak slowly and pause at the end of each sentence. That was especially difficult for me because I naturally talk very fast and hardly ever pause. To remind myself, I actually wrote the word PAUSE in the end of sentences in my notes.  Another thing I did was while talking to a friend I asked her to clap her hands when I was going too fast.
4. Be enthusiastic. No one wants to listen to something boring. If you are enthusiastic about your topic you will transfer your enthusiasm to your audience. I’m afraid you can’t fake this, so you better find something that you are passionate about to present about.
5. Don’t use Powerpoint. In most of the amazing talks that I have seen, the speakers didn't use Powerpoint. You don’t actually need it and it breaks up the flow of your talk. An engaging talk doesn’t need props.
I would highly encourage you to study great speakers in your field as I have done. These are just a few ideas that I found helpful but I’m still learning so if you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to improve a presentation, please leave us a comment below.

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