How To Overcome Presentation Anxiety

By: Kendall Schneider

If you’re anything like me, public speaking, including giving class presentations is (or was— in my case) a big fear. Of course with that big fear of mine, freshman me decided that public relations would be the best major. However, I am extremely glad that I chose public relations, because I have learned so many valuable skills including writing, design and you guessed it, public speaking. So, here is a list of five things that have helped me to overcome my presentation anxiety.

1. Make sure that you know your topic.

Nothing makes for a worse presentation than someone who really has no idea what they’re talking about. If you have thoroughly studied your topic and know it, that will help you immensely.

2. Choose something you are passionate about.

If you have the option to choose what your presentation is about, choose something that you are passionate about. It is much easier to talk about something you love than to talk about a topic that you’ll probably never even think of again

3. Use note cards.

Do not memorize everything you are going to say. Write down only your main points on note cards. You can even hole-punch them and hook them together with a ring to make sure they stay in order (I started doing this after I dropped all of my cards and they got mixed up right before I had to speak). Having note cards will ensure that you will not forget anything important, and this will take the pressure off of your brain from trying to memorize.

4. Don’t over-analyze.

This may be easier said than done. However, I have learned to stop myself from over-analyzing my presentation and worrying about every little detail. Once you know your topic and are confident in what you are going to say, put your note cards away, and stop thinking about the presentation until it is your turn.

5. Focus on the professor.

While you should be looking at and speaking to your entire audience, which will also help you score some more points, I have found it easier to imagine if I am just presenting to the professor. Besides, as bad as it sounds, most of your classmates probably aren’t fully listening. Most of them are overthinking their own presentation or wondering who is going to present next, so don’t get so caught up in worrying about what your classmates think.

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