Presentations are often nerve-racking events in the lives of students because they require the student to get up in front of an audience and undergo evaluation. Yet, if you enjoy the process of what you are doing, it will relieve some of the nervousness that you feel and entertain the audience at the same time. Therefore, develop creative methods of giving presentations and challenge yourself to find a new approach to the presentation process each time you get up in front of your peers.
If you are giving a presentation regarding a historical figure, dress in costume to suggest the person, or the period. One manner in which this may be effective is to act as the official biographer or narrator of the person's life and give the presentation as though you were there. For example, if you are presenting information about the famous aviator, Amelia Earhart, dress as a reporter of the 1930s and report on her life and accomplishments.
Quite often students at various institutions are required to read stories to a younger audience as part of a presentation. If this is your situation, get a group of your peers together and have them support you in your reading. This works in one of two ways. As you read, your peers act out the story beside you, without words, or your peers operate sound effect instruments as you read, accentuating elements of the reading. For example, if you read about a boy who gets an idea, have a member of the group hit a triangle. For a big idea, the person could crash together a pair of symbols.
When the audience is involved in your presentation, you will not lose their attention. Develop your presentation in a manner that requires your audience to become actively a part of the presentation session periodically. For example, if you are giving a presentation on dance styles of the 20th century, get the audience up out of their seats and show them how to do some dances like the mashed potato, or the twist. Your audience will stay focused on what you are saying because they will not know when the next time they will have to stand up and dance.
Show and Tell
Rather than reading from a piece of paper and using charts to explain the process of something in your presentation, show how it is done as you talk. Cooking shows are a primary example of this presentation process, with the chef discussing what is being done while he does it. This process requires that you only write down the steps on a note card so that you remain on track and that you improvise what you say as you work. In addition, you will need to supply all of the materials to accomplish the task, as well as ensure that you have a table for a workspace for the presentation.
Set up your work so that your audience can clearly see what you are doing and stop occasionally to show the completion of each step in the process. You might even consider having one member of the audience come up, assist with different portions of the presentation, and instruct them as to what to do.
Patrice Lesco has been a writer since 2001. Also a certified teacher, she writes for newspapers, magazines, books, theater and film. Lesco holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater from Michigan State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in education and theater from Methodist College.