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Key Study Skills


Many people feel nervous before giving an oral presentation. In addition to some general nervousness, some common issues relate to worry about losing your place in a presentation, going blank, speaking too fast and concern about dealing with questions.

The good news is that there are lots of strategies available to prevent, or at least reduce, the impact of these problems so you can deliver your presentation confidently.

Strategies for managing nervousness

Managing nervousness

Issue Strategies
Losing your place
  • Use numbered cue cards and highlight the numbers
  • Have powerpoint  slides/visual aids to back you up if you forget where you are
  • Write your notes in larger print than normal.  Choose at least 14 pt font if you have printed notes.  It is much easier to read.
Going blank
  • Practice / Rehearse
  • Get a good night's sleep before you present so you can concentrate well
  • Use your PowerPoint slides or other visual guides to help you find your place
  • Take a drink of water and breathe
Speaking too fast
  • Remember to breathe - write on your cue cards or notes "pause" or "slow down"
  • Rehearse / practice and get feedback - this will help you judge if you are going too fast and in what place – get feedback from someone else on your speed
  • Give yourself some time to drink water
Dealing with questions
  • Take some time to imagine what it might be like to hear your presentation for the first time - what would you want to know?
  • Write some questions and then think about what your answers might be
  • If you get a difficult question - buy some time... "That is an interesting question..." OR redirect the question to the audience...  “Does anyone else want to comment…?”

Top tips for dealing with general nervousness

  • Be prepared
  • Practice serval times so you build up your familiarity with your material
  • Try to focus on your message rather than what the audience thinks of you
  • Remember most people feel nervous about giving presentations
  • Sometimes it is helpful to take on a role - pretend you are an actor
  • Get familiar with the space you will present in and the equipment (if possible). Stand in the place you will present from to help you get used to being there.
  • Dress to feel confident
  • Practice some relaxation techniques

Good luck with your presentation!


Useful Resources