It may come as a shock but students aren’t the only ones that feel overwhelmed/tired/bored of essays and exam-style assessment tasks – teachers do too! That’s why they sometimes assign PowerPoint presentations or speeches.

Now, for some students, the word presentation doesn’t really faze them. But as I’ve journeyed through 13 (extremely long) years of schooling, it has come to my attention that many students really hate presentations with a passion, and just the thought of being assessed whilst talking in front of someone freaks them out!

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Feeling nervous at the prospect of having to present is a pretty normal phenomenon. In my experience, teachers aren’t usually intimidating but when they stare at you and write down little notes while you discuss something you really couldn’t care less about – it’s bloody scary.

So whether you hate them or love them, presentations are like any other uncomfortable thing in life, you’ve still gotta do them. As a student who has struggled through speeches at assembly, debating and presentations for assessments, here are a 4 tips to help you deliver a Powerful Presentation!

1. Prepare

Proper preparation prevents poor performance!

Like most things in life, the work that goes on behind-the-scenes will determine the outcome of your presentation. Personally, the most difficult aspect of presenting is creating the content, making sure it meets the marking criteria, but most importantly, actually caring about the topic being discussed.

Pay close attention to the content you’re presenting to make sure it meets the marking criteria!

When you have a genuine interest and feel passionate about the that you’re presenting, it is SO much easier to just smash it out when presenting time comes. If the topic is so dull and you just cant summon any interest for it, you’re just gonna have to pretend to care. Fake it till’ you make it!

Once you’ve got the content part of your speech down, practice in front of a mirror or to your siblings. If you don’t have the time/energy/botheredness to learn your speech or presentation off by heart – make sure you at least understand what you’re talking about!

2. Perform!

The two best ways to make your speeches engaging and entertain your audience is through the use of storytelling and analogies. By opening your presentation with a story (that relates to the topic), it is easier to gain the trust of your audience and let them know that your speech isn’t like the others – you will not put them to sleep. Analogies and metaphors are an effective way to incorporate humour in to your speech.

Humour helps to boost your confidence by getting a few laughs AND also helps to wake up your audience.

3. Pick on People

Ask rhetorical questions that get your audience thinking about your topic. Ask normal questions for your audience to answer or ask for a show of hands in response to a question! Audience interaction works wonders to keep your listeners engaged and entertained!

If all else fails – humour usually does the trick to keep your audience entertained!

4. Persist

This is going to sound really really lame, but, I believe that speeches are an art form. There are so many things that go into a great speech: eye contact, body language, gestures, use of expression and more!

It will take a while for you to be able to get these things down-pat and produce an awesome speech, but with a little hard work, anyone can do it!

Good Luck With Your Speech!

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Daide Chaker is a sleep-deprived student at Wyndham College who is aiming to make it through the HSC with her mind, body and soul still intact. Daide is a chronic procrastinator, Frank Ocean aficionado and Pringles connoisseur. She is an expert in the art of binge-watching and is also an avid reader.