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Presentations: oral

Practise your presentation

Practice makes perfect when it comes to presentations. It will give you a realistic idea of timings and should highlight any issues with the flow of your argument and the structure of your ideas.

Practise your presentation by yourself, or find a willing audience and ask them to be a critical friend. Deliver your presentation as if it is the real thing and ask for constructive feedback.

You can use the group rooms in the Laidlaw Library to practise presentations. These rooms are equipped with large screens, and can be booked by groups.

Manage your nerves

Most people feel nervous about presenting. In fact, you need a degree of anxiety to be alert. If you have no nerves you are likely to be complacent and not do your best. A balance is needed; you need to recognise your nervousness, manage it and channel it.

Always approach your presentations with a positive frame of mind. It's natural to be a little nervous, but don't focus on the negatives.

Know what you want to achieve, plan and practise, and you will feel much more comfortable in your delivery.

Write cue cards

While preparing, you will probably have produced a script. Referring to a script during a presentation can make your delivery stilted and you may get flustered if someone asks a question and you lose your place.

Take this script and write out the keywords on some cue cards. Referring to these during your presentation will be much more effective as you can compose your points more naturally and deviate slightly if needed.

Presentation exercises

It may be useful to carry out the following exercises to help you feel more confident and gain maximum impact on your audience

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