Oral Presentations

Tips by Union students

  • Be prepared.

Prepare. Nothing is worse than having to stand in front of the audience and not know what you are going to say. Sometimes, I can come up with dialog on the spot, but usually I can't do it too well. [Cregg Brown]

  • Use note cards, PowerPoint, etc.

It helps me to jot brief notes down on index cards (NOT the entire presentation, word for word!) Using Powerpoint, Freelance Graphics, or some other similar application is a good way to go, given the use of computers. Also, starting off with something funny is usually good practice, since it helps relieve my initial stress and connect me to the audience. [Cregg Brown]

  • Practice

  • Use visual aids tailored to the audience.

  • Learn how to relax. Practice relaxation techniques.

I used to be really nervous about oral presentations--I hate standing in front of large groups of people! The first class that I took at Union, I had to do an oral presentation and I was so nervous I was shaking! Now, however, I just shrug it off; after all, I'm never going to like doing them, but it's just a necessary part of college life. [Rebecca Butterfield]

  • Time yourself.

  • Work for a clear, general understanding of the subject matter.

  • Do mock sessions

  • The audience and you are on the same plane.

  • Don't have to talk every second. It's okay to stay quiet and compose yourself or think of an answer.

  • Don't use inappropriate jargon.

  • Make eye contact.
  • Have a glass of water nearby.

It is helpful to have a glass of water nearby. Taking a sip allows you to pause and collect your thoughts for a moment or two. That, and it's very refreshing! [Cregg Brown]