How to Deal with the Oral Presentation Jitters

Public speaking can be daunting for everyone; some are just better at hiding the nerves. The fidgeting, knee wobbles and awkward adjustment in the tone of a voice are all normal reactions to public speaking. Class presentations, school assemblies or an impromptu conversation are all actions that instigate the jitters. To ease those jitters, try implementing a few of the following steps:

  1. Pick a subject you are interested in: First things first, make sure the subject you have chosen to make a presentation on is something that you are passionate about or have an interest in. If the parameters around what can and cannot be spoken about are limited, try and see if the argument can be spun to suit you.
  2. Focus on your speech and presentation: It can be easy to look out at your peers gawking at you, while you stand there educating them on a topic. However, focus on your speech and the words spoken. Block out the stares by picking a spot just above them to give your eye contact to.
  3. Don’t overthink your peers and their reactions: It might be your best mate in the front making a funny face your way or your crush in the row over staring…right…at…you that gets you distracted. Do not overthink it! Save the giggles until the end.
  4. SLOW DOWN: It is a natural instinct to talk as quickly as possible to get it over quicker right? The logic makes sense, but as an audience member, the fast-paced presentation can seem rushed. Throughout the presentation, every now and then remember to check-in and slow the pace down to keep both you and your audience calm.
  5. Practice, Practice, and More Practice: Going over and over the speech you have written is repetitive and boring, I know. However, its benefits cannot be measured. Knowing your words off by heart or running through it more than twice, will eliminate the stress of losing your spot and spiraling in the middle of your presentation.
  6. Get Organized: Palm cards can be a useful investment and a super easy way to be organised. Printing out the speech on a different piece of paper with a larger font can also be a form of organisation that will assist the nerves.
  7. Forget about Judgement: Again, the stares of onlookers can be an encouragement to speak faster or fidget more. Eliminating the fear of what others think about the way your voice sounds or the theatrical nature of your oral presentation, in the end, will get you a better mark and make it more enjoyable.