Once your presentation is all over you might think there’s nothing else to be done. But if you really want to overcome presentation anxiety, you’ll take some time and make an effort to analyze how things went. Most presentation anxiety boils down to a lack of confidence or preparation. If you take the time to figure out what went right and wrong during your most recent presentation, you can gain confidence, be more prepared, and help overcome your anxiety.
- Ask for Feedback
Your instructor is likely to provide feedback on the content of your presentation, which will be great information to have. But if the presentation delivery was not part of your grade, then the instructor might not provide feedback on this part of the presentation. Ask him what was good about your delivery and what can be improved. Don’t just ask about improvements. You also need to know what you did well, so you can gain confidence and continue to do those things that worked. You might also want to consider asking a few other students that you trust for their feedback, and again, ask for both positives and negatives.
- Have a Friend Videotape Your Presentation
If you can, ask a friend or another student to record your presentation so you can watch it. Be very honest about what you see. Take notes about things like a lack of gestures, too many gestures, monotone voice, lackluster statistics, etc. Thoroughly analyze all aspects of the presentation, from its content to delivery, so you can list areas for improvement and items that worked well.
- Get Advice or Training from a Coach
If presentations will continue to be a prominent part of your academic life or career and you feel you could really use professional help, don’t hesitate to get it. There are professional consultants and speech coaches that can work with you to improve your presentation skills. Your school or university may also be able to provide you with referrals to staff members or instructors who could give you some tips and advice at low or no cost. You might also want to consider taking a course or seminar on presentation skills. Even the most seasoned professional speakers work with coaches from time to time, and doing so can have a big impact on your level of confidence, which can reduce your anxiety.