Foppishbum From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 746 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1235 times:
I am invited to speak in the general psychology class at my school about my experience as a behavior trainer for autistic children. The thing is, I am not a good public speaker. The class has (I think) 300+ students in a BIG lecture hall. Nervous is not enough to describe how I feel...LOL. And, I'm not sure how much of the contents I should put in PowerPoint slides. Of course I don't want the slides to look overly complicated but then only putting down the topic title is too little. It'll be about a 40 minutes talk and I'm thinking about showing some clips of the therapy sessions for the children. This is a general psychology class so they don't have much information on abnormal psychology. It's really hard to guess what they would know and what they wouldn't know.
I just hope I don't puke during the lecture (sick). Problem is I get nervous easily. I don't know if I should look at the students when I speak? The doorway? The picture at the back of the room? Should I walk around instead of just be stationary? Damn...I shouldn't have agreed to do the presentation. Any suggestions?
Copaair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1224 times:
Definitely walk around. It engages the audience more, and gives you more of a commanding prescence.
Make eye contact with the audience, but don't focus in on one person only, look at a number of different people.
And if your anxiety is that bad, try to get some betablockers.
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 20901 posts, RR: 55 Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1211 times:
Try to look at it from the perspective of the audience to adjust the amount of detail... The most essential thing is that they understand the principles and the primary points behind your presentation. Bullet points are much less important, so I would go easy on those. The less text you need to get your points across the better. PowerPoint is a tool, but it can't and won't replace you explaining the topic.
It can be a good idea to test your explanations on somebody in advance. Preferably someone who is sympathetic but would still tell you when he/she should not get a point or sees a problem.
Being nervous is quite normal. But you know what you're doing in your job and you can in fact rely on that. You have been invited to give your presentation, so what you have to say is interesting and worth listening to. Now just give the audience a good chance to understand what you're doing and you'll be fine.
Mhodgson From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2002, 5047 posts, RR: 29 Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1204 times:
I had to do some public speaking recently, I hate doing it, but volunteered to do it knowing I needed the practice.
The key thing that helped me was rehearsing the presentation, both in my mind and when I got a chance in the actual venue, so I knew where I would be, where the viewers would be, and where any props would be.
All of this meant I was prepared, and when I did stumble I knew where I was and didn't end up stuttering or going around in circles having lost my place. Overall it was a little nerve racking, though was a positive experience none the less.
No trees were harmed by this message. However, several million electrons were terribly inconvenienced
NeilYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1204 times:
Here's some of the things that I try to use...
1) When I'm giving presentations I don't stand stationary, I'll actually walk up and down the aisles in the lecture hall. I've found that it keeps people interested because they're eyes are generally following you.
2) If you're using powerpoint and you can use your own laptop I would get a laser pointer/clicker that advances the slides, I have one so when I'm walking around the room I can change the slides.
3) Try to get your hands on the textbook of the course to get an idea of what they're learning at this point in the term, if possible, aim what you know at what they've learned.
4) Ask some questions to keep them engaged, I find that I'm less nervous if there's a dialogue between myself and those that I'm presenting to.
Quoting Foppishbum (Thread starter): I don't know if I should look at the students when I speak? The doorway? The picture at the back of the room?
Depends. Looking at the doorway, especially if that means looking sideways, is not a good idea. It'll make you look intimidated and looking for a way to escape. Even if that's the case, don't let them know it.
Don't look at pictures on the wall, which are presumably hung above the audience's heads. Raising your sight above head level gives an impression of arrogance or absent-mindness.
Don't establish eye contact with any specific person. Very often, such a person will smile or make an encouraging gesture. If you're nervous, that can easily make you lose your rhythm or make you reciprocate the smile involuntarily. In a presentation where the audience is expected to be passive, the best thing to do with your eyes is to constantly sweep the room at head level, without stopping at any person and without looking at anyone in particular.
Yes, by all means. I walk a lot not only because I like to, but also because it keeps the audience on their toes. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to spend several seconds without having to look at your audience. Just watch your feet so that you don't trip on a cable, and more importantly, control your hands. If they're shaky, a good way to conceal it is to keep one in your pocket and gesticulate with the other. It's a relatively casual and self-confident-looking pose, and it's much better than keeping your hands behind your back, or clasping them together in front of you.
Bagpiper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1193 times:
I don't do public speaking, but I do get very nervous when playing the bagpipes in front of a large crowd. Its not really a fear of failure or mistakes - but I'm not sure what it is. Not fun when playing in front of 2,000 people live, and supposedly 5,000,000 live on TV. I swear, I nearly ran away or pretended to break my leg to get out of it right before I played.
But, from what I've learned:
Also, have a glass or bottle of water, if its appropriate. At least for me, taking a swallow of water will give me a chance to breathe for a second and relaxes my muscles.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before, too. Eating potassium (there's a lot in bananas) might help, too.
Hope some of that helps... even though its two different ball games.
Oly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6225 posts, RR: 11 Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1192 times:
It's probably better to concentrate on a few strong points rather than try and say too much and rush it.
1 who you are, a bit on your background
2 what is autism, how it manifests itself
3 what you did - and why, and how?
4 what was achieved - what happened to the kids
5 what you learned, what would be useful for other people...
6 could anything have been done differently
When you show video clips you may want to repeat them because people don't always pick things up first time - ask the audience.... does anyone want to see them again.
Don't rush slides, leave them up for people to read completely..... you know what's on them, other people don't and may need 10 or 15 seconds to understand something you only need to glance at.
Try not to feel like it's a you and them... you've all got the same interests... have it like you're telling a story, sharing your thoughts and ideas, not like you're in an interrogation.
Public speaking is something you learn by doing it (and usually doing things wrong). Certainly walk around, as the previous post said, try and be relaxed, know what you want to say and be confident saying it.
Try not to remember a speech, just specific points that will lead you to a topic to discuss.
And think about your own teachers/lecturers... what do they do to make something interesting? Are any of them boring or hard to follow? How would you make their subject easier to follow?
Czbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 935 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1134 times:
Lots of great advice here... I'll add my 2 cents- for what it's worth.
Keep your powerpoint pages very simple and basic. Choose a theme in Microsoft and stick to it- that way the presentation is consistent. But keep the graphics to a minimum. All the fancy graphics become distracting after a while. In fact, titles is about all you need:
Start it up when you come up to the lectern
Screen 1. "Experiences with Autistic Children
-Presented by Foppishbum"
Thank the MC. Set up the lecture: who you are, why you are there, why this is relevant to the audience...
Screen 2. A "Table of Contents" page The three or four basic points you are going to be discussing
Go over these points
Second-Last Screen: Review Page
Do a recap of the major topics you've covered
Last Screen: Thank you!
Building your powerpoint like this will help to organize your thoughts and keep you on track. If powerpoints get wordy, the presenters have a bad habit of simply reading the powerpoint- something that the audience can do by themselves.
* * *
Before the presentation takes place, make sure the equipment is set-up and working. Don't take anybody's word for it: 1/2-hour before the lecture is about to begin or something like that, fire it all up. Make sure the projector is working, the screen comes down, the computer is prepped and the presentation works as it should.
If you're using a microphone, do a sound check. The microphone should be about If it's a mic on a stand, adjust the microphone stand or have it adjusted for you so you're comfortable with the mic about 2 inches (4-5 centimetres from your mouth.. You should never have to reach up or down to speak into the microphone. If it's a clip-on microphone, make sure it's switched off before you begin your speech and... and switch it on as you approach the stage. During the sound check, have somebody at the back of the room give you the thumbs up when they can hear you well.
These exercises will ground you and give you confidence that you will soon be controlling the room.
As for preparing for the speech itself, keep it simple; Less is More. Keep technical jargon out of the speech, unless it's absolutely necessary. Build it numerically, just as I suggest you do with the powerpoint:
THANK THE MC
-Who you are
-Why you are there
-Why this is important to your audience
-Lay out what you're going to talk about. List major topics: leave the sub-topics to later
"While I'm talking about **(Topic 1)**, I will cover **(Sub-topic .1)**, **(.2)**, **(.3)**."
1.1; 1.2; 1.3
"Turning to **(Topic 2)**, I'd like to share with you **(.1)**, **(.2)**, **(.3)**.
2.1; 2.2; 2.3
"And finally, **(Topic 3)**. These three points I'll discuss now: **(.1)**, **(.2)**, **(.3)**.
3.1; 3.2; 3.3
-Review, without detail, each major topic point
-Remind your audience why this is important to them
THANK THE AUDIENCE
(Switch off the mic, if it's a lapel microphone)
* * *
BEFORE THE PRESENTATION:
REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE. Rehearse until you're sick of talking about it. Envision the 300 people while you're practicing. Rehearse it until you are completely fluent with the order of topics, and the transitions you plan to use between them.
Write the speech if you must, but your presentation will be a million times better if you do it from memory (triggered by the powerpoint presentation -and/or- cue cards)
Take no drugs or alcohol to calm the nerves. Coffee will make you feel worse- and maybe even make you want to pee. It's the nerves that keep you sharp. It's stage fright. And it's a good thing. The nausea comes from poor breathing. Breathe from the diaphragm. (Breath deeply and slowly) As the presentation comes to the end and you know you've made it through in one piece, those jangly nerves will release and you'll be flooded with endorphins. (Best high I've ever had was finishing a speech in front of 1000 people)
DURING THE PRESENTATION:
During the speech, take your time. Relax. A 3 second pause will feel like an eternity but the audience is busy taking in what you have said. Take a deep breath: that takes about 3 seconds and is not an unreasonable thing to do on stage- heck, the audience expects that you do from time to time!
B-R-E-A-T-H-E & D-R-I-N-K W-A-T-E-R
Stop and take a drink of water now and again. Take a bottle of water with you. Between points is a good time to take a swig- your audience is absorbing what you've said and anticipating what you are going to say. Let them!
I find eye contact a good thing. Scan the room and simply meet people's eyes from time to time. Hold their gaze for a second and move on. Look at the front row. Look at the back row. Look across the middle.
O-W-N T-H-E S-T-A-G-E
You are in control of the room. If you can, and if you can stand it, watch some evangelical preachers on TV with the volume turned down. Watch their actions, observe how they command their audience's attention. If you make a small mistake, don't panic. Take a breath, a mouthful of water *reset* and move on. If you make a big mistake, acknowledge it, fix it, and move on.
Don't say "This is my first time", in an effort for everybody to go easy on you. They will anyway. 9/10 people would rather not be in your shoes and so just standing up in front of them is enough for you to earn their respect.
Don't expect perfection. Politicians have to get it right. You don't.
Be yourself. The only person that has to be present on the stage, is you. You don't have to imitate anybody because you are who you know best.
Sorry- my Toastmasters lessons I share to others in one posting. But I hope this is helpful.
I do some speaking in my job and got some good advice from someone who is really a pro at it.
Go very light on PowerPoint stuff. The quickest way to lose your audience is to make them look at a lot of slides. Also, a good rule of thumb is no more than 20 words per PowerPoint slide. Give them the most basic information possible on the screen so they know where you're headed - but use your own speaking to talk details.
Also - get your breathing under control. Don't inhale, inhale, inhale until you're ready to explode.
Seems like everyone is making the same suggestion to move around and scan the room. I think the hardest thing is finding someone not even listening to what you have to say and playing/chatting with others. They're college freshmen; it's expected.
Quoting Klaus (Reply 2): PowerPoint is a tool, but it can't and won't replace you explaining the topic.
Got it! I guess I have to trim down my PPT further.
Quoting Mhodgson (Reply 3): All of this meant I was prepared, and when I did stumble I knew where I was and didn't end up stuttering or going around in circles having lost my place.
I think that's what I fear most...rehearsing and then mess up. I've had that kinda experience when I was doing piano recital a few years back...it was horrible.
Quoting NeilYYZ (Reply 4): Try to get your hands on the textbook of the course to get an idea of what they're learning at this point in the term, if possible, aim what you know at what they've learned.
That's the thing...the textbook was no help at all. They sum up autism in one line "autism is a developmental disorder"...LOL. And there is so much more about it I have to cover!
Quoting Toast (Reply 5): In a presentation where the audience is expected to be passive, the best thing to do with your eyes is to constantly sweep the room at head level, without stopping at any person and without looking at anyone in particular.
The lecture hall is a big auditorium...so, at one point, I'll have to seem arrogant and look at audiences on the upper level. LOL! But, I will make sure I don't look too cocky.
Quoting Toast (Reply 5): Just watch your feet so that you don't trip on a cable, and more importantly, control your hands.
Actually, that is the exact same lecture hall where I took my final exam a few years back. I tripped when I walked in while everyone else was taking the exam cus I was 'bout 5 minutes late. It was quite embarrassing making a big BOOM sound with my stuff splattered everywhere.
Quoting Bagpiper (Reply 6): Hope some of that helps... even though its two different ball games.
But stage fright is the same I'm gonna have to get over that ASAP!
Quoting Oly720man (Reply 7): When you show video clips you may want to repeat them because people don't always pick things up first time - ask the audience.... does anyone want to see them again.
I was thinking about showing the video clip at the beginning to start the momentum. But then, I'm not quite sure if I should do that because they wouldn't know the terms prior to my presentation. Or maybe I can show a similar one at the end of the presentation? Hrm. . .
Dang! I'll love you forever! The outline is so useful! Thanks man! I'll have to structure my presentation around the outline now!
Quoting Diamond (Reply 9): Also - get your breathing under control. Don't inhale, inhale, inhale until you're ready to explode.
LOL! Breathing is actually harder than most people think under certain situations. I'm one of those who would inhale, inhale, until I explode. (I've been doing breathing exercise to make sure this doesn't happen during my presentation...LOL!)
Jafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1065 times:
Quoting Foppishbum (Thread starter): I'm not sure how much of the contents I should put in PowerPoint slides. Of course I don't want the slides to look overly complicated
I basically speak for a living and here are my couple of bucks worth.
PowerPoint....don't put any words on the slides at all if you can help it, use pictures and use funny ones if you can....as long as they loosley fit the topic in hand no-one will notice......never, ever, ever put more than 7 words on a slide...ever.
Make notes for your script in large print and stick to bullet points to keep the flow...nothing will bore an audience quicker than someone reading from a script....you know your subject, just give your self headings and a coupla important examples......mine used to read like this:
grain of rice
That kid with the sheep
and so on but i work entirely unscripted these days.
Look at your audience, make eye contact with each one of them (or look directly at them) and scan the room, make everybody feels as though you are talking to them.
Pace about if you will but keep it smooth and subtle or people will get distracted. Don't freak out, it is your first time and nobody expects it to be a polished performance but you have a very interesting subject and no doubt you have passion for it, pass on that passion, go for it, get that glint in your eye, the fire in your loins and tell them how intersting your work has been, if you speak with passion it really doesn't matter what you say, they will love watching you.
Make sure you have a beginning a middle and an end, they don't have to be the same size but finish on high note.
The more anecdotes and examples you put in the better it will go down, you could talk about paint drying if there is a human or a humourous element to the tale.
You can always e-mail me your powerpoint beforehand if you like.........I presented one before HRH's Philip and Edward last year and it brought the house down....only had 5 slides.
Above all, don't treat this like a scary ordeal, you are being given a chance to talk about something real and interesting and also about yourself...look forward to it and relish every second.
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 20901 posts, RR: 55 Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1043 times:
And don't take any of the advice above (including mine!) too seriously and don't over-rehearse.
You need to find the right point for you personally between having enough structure so you won't stumble too far off the track and still staying yourself so you can draw from your personal strengths and experience.
(One last thing: With a topic like autism I would probably go light on the humour... )
NeilYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1008 times:
Quoting Foppishbum (Reply 16): Question: is having 3x5 note cards in my hand acceptable? I'm worried that it won't look as professional.
In all honesty, I don't think that it would look as good as if you didn't have them. But you're presenting on a topic that you know, trust yourself. Use the powerpoint as a guideline for your presentation, I tihnk that you'll find that just by looking at the powerpoint you'll be able to guide the presentation along a path that you had originally intended.
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 20901 posts, RR: 55 Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1005 times:
Quoting Foppishbum (Reply 16): 7 words on a slide? Is that informative enough? is ~20 words acceptable like what Diamond suggested?
It depends on whether the audience will profit more from it. Easily recognized phrases can be better than complicated single words.
There's no fixed rule, really, but the more the audience needs to concentrate on your slides, the more they will be distracted from you. And independently of your stage fright, that is almost never a good idea.
Quoting Foppishbum (Reply 16): Question: is having 3x5 note cards in my hand acceptable? I'm worried that it won't look as professional.
If they help you staying on track I wouldn't worry about them. But you shouldn't appear to be reading from them, so less can be more.
Try to find what works best for you personally. You're not a professional presenter (yet?), so aim for a solid and interesting presentation without overdoing it; Frenetic applause is nice to have, but you can still get there one step at a time after having mastered the essentials first.
Foppishbum From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 746 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 914 times:
Hey everyone! I just wanted to update you guys. I finished my presentation on autism an hour ago and it was pretty good (I might even consider a success! ). I stumbled a little bit at the beginning but then afterwards it was smooth sailing! I was invited to do the same presentation again next quarter with the same professor but different group of students! Thanks for all your advices and suggestions!