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College is back in session! Presentation practice tips for a successful year

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

Warren Buffet, the third richest person in the world once said, “The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now…is to hone your communication skills.”

Results from professional, technical, administrative and clerical people in a communications research and development laboratory show that 50%–80% of the workday is spent in communicating, and two‐thirds of that is spent talking (Wiley Online Library). So the key to igniting your future career growth and earning potential is to become a great communicator.

If you are a college student, along with learning all of the technical skills that you will need to prepare for your career, be sure not to overlook the all-important skill of communicating. In college, you are going to have to do at least one (if not many) class presentations. In some cases, you may even be presenting with a group of other students. Instead of complaining about this type of assignment, use it as an opportunity to sharpen your presentation skills. Imagine that you are presenting in a staff meeting at work or trying to land a million dollar client. How would you prepare for such a presentation? Would you show up the morning of and create your last few slides before heading to the meeting room? Or would you complete your presentation well in advance so you will have plenty of opportunity to practice several times before the big day? Would you just rehearse your main points it in your head, or would you practice your entire presentation standing in front of a mirror?

Practice is the key to perfecting any new skill, especially communication. If you are looking to change habits such as using fillers (e.g., “um”, “uh”, “like”), talking too fast, or fidgeting with your hands, you need to start practicing NOW! Don’t wait until the day of your presentation and leave it up to chance. College is preparing you for your professional life and provides you with a safe place to learn and grow. Take every opportunity to practice both in and outside of class. If the professor asks a question that you know the answer to, raise your hand and speak with confidence. If you have the opportunity to lead a committee meeting for your organization, be the first to volunteer.

Here are a few tips from Online Speech Services that will help you get the most out of your presentation practice:

  1. Use a mirror. If you practice speaking in front of a mirror, you are able to identify your non-verbal communication habits and correct them on the spot. For example, maybe you frown while you are talking. If you practice smiling instead, you will do a better job of connecting with your audience.

  2. Record yourself. If you don’t have a friend or family member to watch you practice, recording a video of yourself can be a great way to assess your presentation skills. You will then know what areas you need to target in your future practice.

  3. Self assess. After you’ve practiced your presentation (or viewed the recording), try completing a self-assessment like the one from Psychology Today. This will help you identify which skills you are good at in addition to the areas in which you need to improve.

If you want to improve your presentation skills and need help, consider working with a communication coach at Online Speech Services for support. Contact us today to schedule your free 15-minute consultation or enroll in our five-week online course now! #publicspeakingtips #presentations #collegestudents


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