Presenting seminar can be daunting for many students and many will usually develop stage fright which in turn results in poor presentation. However, your seminar should not be so difficult, provided you prepare well for it. The following tips will help you become better in presenting your student seminar.
- Master Your Topic: Knowledge breeds confidence. The more knowledgeable you are in your subject topic, the better confident you will be. It is therefore important to do adequate research and know even the recent developments and findings in that field. You need to know more than you will be presenting because the audience can ask a related question not touched during your presentation. Your ability to answer questions from the audience correctly will be based on how much you know and if you can clear their doubts through your answer, you will have earn a positive impression and their trust of the information you are sharing. This in turn will likely mean better grades for you.
- Seek Your Supervisor’s Support: If you have a seminar supervisor, you should be prompt to keep him/her updated of your seminar and the ideas you will be sharing. Some supervisors could even be generous enough to witness your rehearsal to give you necessary corrections. However, some supervisors are too busy or not student-friendly. In such cases, just do all you can to keep him/her informed of the seminar dates and endeavor to implore the supervisor to be present at the real presentation. The presence of your supervisor is a major confidence booster and your supervisor can sometimes help you out if you get hooked by a question from the audience.
- Do Rehearsals As Many Times As Possible: You can’t say rehearsals are too much. The more of them you have, the better prepared you are. Rehearse your seminar before a group of persons, possibly your study group and ask for their questions, observations, and constructive criticisms. Find a way to make your presentation better from their contributions and present it again and again until they think you are good to go. Also do personal rehearsals before your mirror in your room and record your rehearsal. Listen to yourself over again and see what corrections you need to make to make your seminar better. There are high chances your audience will see a fault where you see one, so playing the role of the audience before the real presentation will allow you make necessary adjustments to your seminar presentation. If it is possible, rehearsing at the venue of the seminar presentation will be a great idea because you will be more comfortable if it is not your first time presenting in the hall. These series of rehearsals will help you to master your topic and know many of your points by heart and also manage the limited time you will be given to educate your audience.
- Use Pictures and Diagrams: A picture is definitely worth more than a thousand words. Pictures and diagrams allow your audience to have a vivid illustration of what you are explaining. You should therefore look for “relevant” pictures that you can share to simplify your points. Pictures make your points clearer and easier to understand.
- Use Visual Aids: For most student seminars, a projector is usually employed for presentation. Most students prepare their slides with Microsoft PowerPoint. It is advisable to make your slides simple and mature. Using heavy designs might distract your audience and I’m sure you don’t want to lose your audience to your designs.
- Come Early For The Presentation: You should get to the venue of your presentation early so that you can acclimatize yourself with the environment. Early arrival will help check up on all the gadgets you will be using for your presentation and then make necessary corrections or replacements if need be.
- Be A Dynamic Presenter: During your presentation, you should be slightly mobile. Don’t just stand at a point as if you are attached there. Making slight movements have a way of reducing tension and that can calm you down if you are feeling nervous.
- Eye-contacts Are A Must: Your audience actually came to hear you and seeing have a way of enhancing hearing. That is why you should look your audience in the eyes. Besides, looking your audience in the eyes makes them feel you are concerned about them understanding what you are saying and they in turn try their best to give you their attention. Looking people in the eyes also make them think you know what you are saying and are sure about it. So, don’t just bury your head on your notes through out the seminar. You should frequently raise your head and look at your audience in the eyes. However, if you think that looking your audience in the eyes will intimidate you, try to look at their foreheads or on their nose. The trick is that they will think you are looking their eyes and will therefore offer you their attention. When your confidence level rises, you can then look into their eyes, if that is okay with you.
- Prepare Yourself To Answer Questions: Questions are important and in most student seminars, the audience will usually reserve the right to ask questions that will help them understand your points or questions related to your topic which you might not have mentioned because of time limitation. You should be prepared to ask yourself some possible questions while preparing your seminar and provide answers to them.
- Always Have A Backup Plan: What if you get to your seminar venue and your computer system wouldn’t come up? What if the power goes off? What if the projector you planned to use fails to power on? You need to make necessary backup plans for unexpected occurrences to avoid becoming confused and disarrayed for the seminar. Save your seminar file in external memory devices, arrange for electric generator or other alternative power supply, and so on.
In general, your success in student seminar presentation is largely dependent on your preparation. Thus, a good portion of your time should be invested in that.
I wish you the best in your next student presentation and I will like to know how much these points were helpful to you.
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