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To hate doing presentations?

(120 Posts)
googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 20:51:42

I hate it so much and because of that it takes hours of my time in preparation because I get so nervous.
Anyone got any top tips or anyone enjoy them and tell me how they get around not being nervous?

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 22:03:30

You are all so good and presentation is at 11 am so can't risk vodka. One of my friends got beta blockers from a friend doctor to try before a big presentation and felt completely odd!! Have rescue remedy as well and think it helps to remember that most people feel the same about public speaking.
Am quite an introvert which is why I find it the most challenging aspect of my work which I love - academic research.

LilyAmaryllis Fri 08-Mar-13 22:22:52

Accept that you are and will be nervous! So the only thing you can do is do yourself the honour of realising this is a big deal, and do all the stuff you can to help you feel in control. Eg, making absolutely sure you are there early in good time, making sure you have enough time in the morning to get ready properly and look good. Stuff everything else.
I used to perform on stage and get stage-fright. It was playing the violin and on stage my fingers would feel like sausages. So I knew I had to know the music so very well that I could even play it with unresponsive sausage-fingers, and just know that that was how I would feel. Amazingly, mostly, the people watching you can't tell. They are simply honestly just wanting to hear whatever message it is you are there to tell them.
I would keep practising until you start to feel a little more confident about it. BUT obviously go to bed in good time tonight because part of accepting that this is a big deal is getting a good night's sleep first too!
You will feel GREAT at 11.30 tomorrow!

VivaLeBeaver Fri 08-Mar-13 22:29:22

I do presentations day in, day out at work.

My top tip would be to know your subject and be able to chat around the subject. I do all my presentations with ppt but I don't just read off the slide which is a bit Dullsville. Ill read maybe the first point and then off the top of my head talk rou d the subject a bit.....then I normally realise I've pretty much covered what the rest of the slide said but in different words and move on. I try and use the slides as prompts.

I do a lot of my presentations over and over again to different groups but its never the same twice.

I also bring in audience participation as much as possible. So a lot of the slides will have questions in them. But then all my presentations are training presentations. I suppose if its a sales presentation then that might not be relevant.

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 22:41:32

All useful information. My PowerPoint is all very light on words with video clips so will be doing a lot of talking around the text.

thislittlewineofmine Fri 08-Mar-13 22:52:19

I totally sympathise with you, I've been working all night preparing a presentation for work and I'm getting myself in a right state about it. I'm convinced I'm going to make a total tit of myself so I'm watching this thread with interest. Some really useful tips so far, I'm planning to practice all weekend!

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 22:54:10

I know aren't the nerve build up horrible.
Must be nice to just think nothing of getting up to present.

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 22:55:12

Also never done a PowerPoint presentation before so nervous about the techy side.

claig Fri 08-Mar-13 22:56:51

'What do people think about rehearsal - can you over rehearse or as many times as possible so it rolls off the tongue?'

Do as much rehearsal as you can, preferably in the meeting room where you will be delivering it and do the full spiel including pointing at the screen etc. Practise until you can reel it all off without using notes. Then when the time comes you will go into auto-pilot mode.

A colleague said to me once, "that was a great presentation" and I thought they must be taking the piss, but they were serious and I could only conclude that it was the practice that made the difference.

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 22:59:24

Yes when I've done a really good presentation it has been through a lot of rehearsal. Can't rehearse in lecture theatre unfortunately as is one of our key lecture theatres and is in constant demand.

claig Fri 08-Mar-13 23:00:55

It is really just acting, and just like an actor you need to know your lines and do rehearsals. Eventually, just like a good actor, you can't wait to show off and perform, but that only comes when you are confident that you can give a good performance, and that only comes with knowing your lines and knowing your routine.

claig Fri 08-Mar-13 23:03:38

'Can't rehearse in lecture theatre unfortunately as is one of our key lecture theatres and is in constant demand.'

I used to rehearse in an empty conference room at work at about 10 p.m. at night. Knowing your stage and the setting and feeling comfortable in the environment definitely helps settle you.

pourmeanotherglass Fri 08-Mar-13 23:10:27

I know how you feel, I get really nervous. I had to give a presentation last week, I practised it several times on my own, and once in front of a couple of colleagues, so I was sure I knew what I needed to say. Although I said it slightly different each time, it helped me to see where I'm most likely to struggle to find the right words, and then I could memorise some useful sentences for those slides.
I made sure my slides had all the key information. I kept telling myself in my head to smile and slow down, as I can have a tendency to speed up when I'm nervous.
I think it went OK

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 23:13:50

Well done pour. Bet you felt great when it was done.

TheSecondComing Fri 08-Mar-13 23:14:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claig Fri 08-Mar-13 23:15:30

Good advice by badbride

'I give presentations for a living, and what really helped develop my confidence was taking up dancing and being involved in dance performances. There is a strong element of performance in all presentations--so if you fancy it, try doing something like that--take an acting workshop maybe? (more fun than a presentation workshop!)'

We are all self-conscious, but the real art of performance is to lose yourself and get into the character rather than yourself. Acting classes and doing somewhat embarrassing things in front of others helps you to eventually lose your own self-consciousness and focus on the role or task at hand instead of focusing on yourself.

I haven't done acting, but I am sure that it would work. I used to do immersion Japanese language lessons without any knowledge of Japanese and would be asked to answer in Japanese in front of the class. At first it was highly embarrassing to be a plonker, but after a while it became great fun and I looked forward to doing it and lost any thought of being a plonker. It was about acting the role of speaking Japanese and forgetting about myself.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Fri 08-Mar-13 23:20:07

I always used to go first, then everyone else is worrying about their own presentation and not giving a damn about mine, and then I get to sit and relax while they have their turns. They are also relieved they don't have to go first which makes them feel benevolent to me iyswim.
I also used to do Ann Summers parties, and after holding up a 10 inch big glow in the dark vibrator in one hand and an 8 inch sweetcorn cob shaped vibrator in the other and shouting "right ladies, what's yer choice?" to a room full of strangers, nothing will ever embarass me again...
Just think how you feel when someone else is doing a presentation - that's how everyone else feels when you do yours... And ten seconds during a presentation are as long as it takes your poor fevered overhyped "presentation brain" to count to 30, really! Go sllllooooowwwww wink

Bluelightsandsirens Fri 08-Mar-13 23:20:33

Some great advice, I also dread them so marking my place!

GoAndDoSomeWork Fri 08-Mar-13 23:21:58


Am an academic too - I love giving presentations to other academics as I have captive audience who are genuinely interested in what I have to say - they're not bothered about whether the presentation is the smoothest or most beautiful thing they've ever seen but want to understand my research. I presume you are talking to fellow academics rather than lecturing to students (who are an entirely different cup of tea!) as it is only 10 minutes? Practise to yourself as you are walking there - I find the more times I say it out loud it helps me to work out exactly what I will say then in the presentation you can go into auto pilot. Look around find someone who looks interested and if necessary talk to them like you are having a normal conversation about your work.

I always think to myself at least I am not in a piano recital where nerves make my fingers go to jelly and the piece can collapse at any moment. your voice you have more control over - it may sound wobbly and nervous to you but no one else will notice and as you keep talking your nerves will settle. Pause if you need to - nobody will notice that either! has every other academic presentation you've seen been brilliant - I doubt it - the more talks you give the calmer you'll get until you reach a point where you are so confident you don't bother to prepare and then it's time for someone to comment!

googlenut Fri 08-Mar-13 23:32:43

Have get it simple as presenting to people who are above me in the pecking order of academic life. But worrying now have made it too simple for my audience ( am a returner to academic life). Bit research is practical and involves some interesting video material so hope I have covered it ok. Find I switch off in academic talks if there are too many stats and info.

monkeyfeet Sat 09-Mar-13 04:47:01

so glad to have seen this thread, today at 10am, I am giving a lecture to 200 people and have been up since 4 trying to calm down. I am a very shy person but I do know my stuff. Lots of good advice but still shitting myself, will be all done by 11 am hopefully I will still be alive. Good luck with it all Googlenut I am sure you will be great!

Hooya Sat 09-Mar-13 05:00:11

I present a lot at work, get huge nerves but love it once I'm up there.

The best training I received was to breathe OUT. Any time you are struggling or going to fast, pause and take a big out breath. This will help you to take air in properly and really helps to calm you down.

And remember that a pause will sound 10x longer in your head than it will sound to your audience - pausing is your friend, particularly after a salient point or good stat or big statement.

I use visualisation technique to help manage my nerves and focus myself. So right before it I imagine whole conversations or emails I might receive afterwards if it goes well. This also means you go into it thinking happy thoughts ("it's going to feel so great when they like this") rather than scared ones.

You can't practice too much, and remember that a dreadful dress rehearsal can still result in a brilliant performance. Good luck smile

nooka Sat 09-Mar-13 05:12:35

It's interesting how differently people approach presenting. I really enjoy presenting personally and do it a fair bit (currently mostly workshops). The one thing I would never do is write a speech and learn it off by heart. Presentations given by people who are on auto-pilot are in my experience very boring, and for the less experienced if you lose your place in a learned speech then you can get totally lost (I've seen this happen quite frequently).

I would go for learning objectives for the whole presentation, and key points for each slide. Then talk yourself through the slide set a couple of times to check timings are OK.

My tip for getting in the right mode is to think about the presentation as a performance, put on your costume and go. So long as you know your stuff and your slides work (simplicity is I think best in general, no distracting flashy stuff) then it should be fine.

googlenut Sat 09-Mar-13 09:00:47

So much good advice here-I'm taking it all in.
Good luck monkey feet - let us know how it goes.

MrsCosmopilite Sat 09-Mar-13 09:37:44

Ooh please feed back on how the presentation goes, Monkey; and you too, google

I've just been told that I may be co-running a workshop (I'm a mature student and my tutor for one topic has decided that me and one other student are the 'experts' in this particular type of working method - and has kindly volunteered us to present and run a workshop in the near future). No idea when or how many for yet. Thankfully it's on something I know quite well so not worried about that aspect.

And interestingly, another poster mentioned dancing. I used to dance (although on an enforced break owing to my study timetable), and it definitely does wonders for confidence.

googlenut Sat 09-Mar-13 10:13:40

I'm going to look into adult dance classes as this will be an ongoing problem for me and will have to get used to performing.
Any other academics lurking who hate public speaking?

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