Presentations and Public Speaking

For my job I regularly have to talk to large groups of people, give presentations, and guide discussions. You probably couldn’t tell that public speaking is one of the things that I never want to do. I did not seek out a position that required this, but as positions grow and change more and more is expected of you. When I first started doing any kind of public speaking was not successful. My voice got really high pitched. I overcorrected and spoke so slow it wasn’t clear when a thought was ending.

To be clear, I still do not like public speaking. Often my face gets more red than I want to. I say “uh” or “umm” or “so…” throughout. . It is not my main skill though I have learned a couple things along the way. What is your biggest tip for speaking to a crowd?

  1. Don’t practice too much. If you practice ’til word perfect and then get mixed up during, it is incredibly hard to recover naturally.
  2. Keep 1-2 examples for what you are presenting in your back pocket (memorized) and out of your formal presentation. You can either use them as examples if you get questions or if not throw them out as extra examples at the end of the section. This will make you look like a content expert and like you can think on your feet.
  3. Look above eyeline. For virtual presentations for me this is the top edge of my computer. For in person, it may be a back door, the clock on the wall or a window.
  4. Talk at a speed where you can hear what you are stay. Use punctuation to take pauses and breathes. After each major ideas take a break, either to ask for questions or move on.
  5. This is the one I struggle most with: Stop talking once your point is made. Say what you mean to say and nothing more. Answer just the question that was asked. Give a chance for questions or requests for clarifications, but over-explaining can lead to rambling and more confusion than just letting the audience receive the initial point.

Final Finals

You know I had to. If I pass all my classes I will be done with college. This is my last 2 weeks of cramming and no sleep and over-caffeinating and crying in the shows because it’s the only free time. I still have classes right now so it is not technically finals week but… I have papers due for everyone of my classes before finals week. One of my classes will be completely done by next Monday.

Things I hate about finals week:

  • Everything is due at the same time, I have 3 finals due on the 14th! I mean why?!
  • No one is free for things like coffee breaks or getting lunch which extra sucks this year because I’m leaving
  • There is no time for sleep when you need it the most
  • Because everyone is stressing out there is an overwhelming feeling of stress and failure

How I don’t die during finals week:

  • I don’t (hahhah)
  • Taking naps, especially if you are staying up til 2 am, taking an hour nap at 4 pm is totally fine and will give you a boost for the back half of the day
  • Try to keep to a normal sleep schedule wake up at the same time go to bed at the same time, it will feel less like you are over extending yourself even though you are only getting 5 hours of sleep.
  • Self-care is so important because you phyically feel less like dying
    • Shower so you do not feel as gross
    • Eat 3x a day to keep up strength even if you some of them are only snacks and desserts
    • Drink as much water as you do caffeine, once again try not to die.
    • Take breaks to talk to a fellow human being that is not doing the same finals as you and will not just talk about work (this is important

Good luck getting through the next weeks to me and everyone else.

Happy Finals!