Regardless of the course you’ll take in college, expect that you’ll be reporting in front of a class. This an avenue for your professors to gauge what you learned from the lessons and share it with everyone else in the room. Unlike oral recitations, reporting allows you to have more time to prepare for it. You’ll be informed about your reporting assignment days or weeks prior. But even if you have ample time to prepare a report in front of a class, delivering one isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ll be talking like you’re adept in a particular subject matter in front of a lot of people who are either there to judge or support you. This can be nerve-wracking especially for people who are usually shy or have never liked talking in front. To turn things around, consider the tips below so you can finally fight your stage fright:
1.) Do your homework: First things first. You should be prepared for your report. If you’re assigned by your law professor to talk about the laws governing your state, take time to research about the topic. Use more than just your textbook as your resource. Ask lawyers or people who had experienced working with one about their feedback about these laws. Look at the topic from different angles so you can come up with different explanations as well. When you’re equipped with the right information, you won’t have to experience any dead air when you’re reporting.
If possible, consider trying out your presentation to your professor before actually giving it to the class. Their feedback will give you an idea of how you can report well and what should be improved in your presentation.
2.) Play the parts: Your presentation can make or break your reporting success. This is why you should never come up with a presentation just for the sake of having one. Instead, your presentation should be carefully thought of. It should only have two or three main points, and as the reporter, you should be able to explain all of these concisely. Don’t bombard your presentation with too many texts as this can confuse your audience.
3.) Do a dry run: Yes, the maxim that states “practice makes perfect” can still be applied when you’re reporting. Have a couple of run-throughs of your report so you can manage your timing and delivery. If you think you got stuck somewhere in your report, take mental notes so it will not happen again in your next run through or during the day of the report. You can also have a friend as your audience so he can judge how you’re doing with your report. Keep in mind the feedbacks your friend will give you.
4.) Look presentable: Wearing a suit and a formal business attire isn’t necessary when you’re going to report in front of a class (unless required by your professor) but wearing your tattered jeans and shirt doesn’t help either. Make sure you look presentable during the day of the report. Wear anything that you’re comfortable with so you can be free and confident to move around.
5.) Talk, don’t read: It’s okay to bring a script when you’re reporting. What’s not okay is burying your face in it, without taking a second to look at the audience. Avoid this from happening during your report by using a script with essential topics in bullet points rather than in paragraphs. When you use the former, it’ll be easy for you to grasp the information and look at your audience while explaining it further. You should consider this during your practice sessions as well.
6.) Take it slow: And while talking fast during your report can show how great of a speaker you are or how you’ve mastered your topic, it isn’t very ideal. Remember that your audience will know about this topic for the first time. Going too fast might prevent them from fully understanding your report. Always speak in a moderate speed, so everyone is on the same page.
7.) Use aids: You can use visual aids such as PowerPoint presentations and handouts to supplement your report better. These are very useful especially if you want your audience to grasp important information about a technical or lengthy topic. Just make sure that these aids are easy to use – no one would want to use a handout which can’t be understood because it only has outlines.
8.) Don’t bury the crowd: Using data and quotes from notable people can help drive the point home of your report. It can serve as evidence that the information you’re presenting is actually valid and true. But too much of these can overwhelm and bore your audience. If you’re planning to use statistics and quotes, do so in a subtle manner. Don’t overdo it.
9.) Be yourself: It’s typical for a college class to have a student who excels in reporting. This student can be the epitome of public speaking as he can report in front of a class with ease. If you aspire to become just like this student, go ahead. He can become your inspiration to do well with your reporting. But make sure you know when to draw the line. Trying to be someone you’re not can put pressure on yourself, and this can be evident once you start reporting. Be yourself when you’re in front of the class so you’ll gradually succeed.
10.) Circle the crowd: Your room might have a stage or podium in front, but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to use these areas when you report. On the contrary, you should roam around the room to entice more audience to listen and pay attention to you. You can start in the front, go through the sides or center of the aisles and make your way through the farthest row in the room. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact with everyone else, too. This is the oldest trick in the book which you should learn to practice right away.
11.) Welcome interruptions: Some speakers fear that someone from the audience will raise a question in the middle of the report and can cause them to lose their focus. The moment you start your report, expect that there will always be interruptions. Welcome these with open arms and know how you can regain your focus back to your report. Additionally, an audience who’s raising questions is a good indication that he has engaged in what you’re saying. Plus, responding to his question can become your break from the monotony of your report.
When you’re in college, expect that you’ll be doing a lot of new things – and reporting in front of a class is just one of them. And with the number of subjects you’ll have, you can expect that you’ll be reporting in front of the class frequently. Instead of hating the idea, it might be better if you actually pour in time and effort to learn the craft of reporting. Know the best approaches on how you can fight your stage freight and present a comprehensive report in class. In this way, you’ll be able to boost your self-esteem while acing your academic requirements.
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