You hear presentation, but your brain hears SABER-TOOTHED TIGER! Why? Because your brain is basically still wired up in the same way it was in caveman times. So … how exactly are you supposed to make your presentation with a cave person’s brain?
Sure, you know how to text and make toast, but somewhere in the back of your mind is a legitimate fear that you might be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger in five minutes. It’s why we hesitate, why we binge, why we cheat, and why we panic.
In today’s world, we don’t often face actual life threatening physical danger. Instead, we must face challenges that our parents, teachers, and colleagues have said are extremely important and will have a huge impact on our lives. The company has conducted “tests” in do-or-die situations.
Your brain closes the Normal Life app and starts Don’t Die.docx.
Your brain has its finger over that emergency button all the time. You know, the one who puts your body in panic / survival mode. Your heart rate rises, your palms sweat, you breathe quickly or hyperventilate, and almost definitely stumble upon your words and forget what to say next. Your brain closes the Normal Life app and starts Don’t Die.docx. If nothing else, just know that the fear you have in trying to nail down your presentation is all natural and will help keep you alive. You’d be weird if you didn’t freak out.
So … how exactly do you stop freaking out and nail your presentation?
Become an Expert
Studying is boring. We know. But the better you know a subject, the easier it is to talk or write about it. The more knowledgeable, familiar, and comfortable you are with a topic, the less scary it becomes. It is not rocket science (unless your exam or presentation is about literal rocket science, then it is rocket science).
Think about if you’ve ever tried to be part of a conversation that you don’t know about. It’s exhausting just trying to find your way. On the other hand, it’s easy when it comes to sports, video games, cars, fashion, movies, cat videos, or whatever that is that you are obsessed with. You sound like an expert because you are one. They know every fact, every detail and can convey it with relative confidence.
It’s about more than just being able to present facts, it’s about being well rounded on a subject.
This is not the same as “don’t prepare”. You were just told to study your ass off and be as familiar with your subject as possible. What “don’t rehearse” means is “don’t try to memorize something word for word”.
Once you forget what to say next and you will (it doesn’t matter how many times you practice in the mirror the night before), you will panic.
During a presentation, you obviously don’t want to sound like Donald Trump and chatting incoherently about things you don’t know about – but neither do you need to sound as articulate and precise as Barack Obama, who has the luxury of a teleprompter (which you won’t have) .
You should have a basic understanding of where to go and what key points to cover. However, if you are trying to deliver a perfectly crafted word-for-word speech like you did in elementary school, you are preparing for failure.
Once you forget what to say next and you will (it doesn’t matter how many times you practice in the mirror the night before), you will panic. You are back in the lizard brain survival mode, unable to think of anything but fight or flight.
PRO TYPE: This doesn’t mean you have to read your PowerPoint slides aloud. Provide a basic overview of the key information on each slide, rather than a “cheat sheet” to make sure you’ve covered all of the key information you need.
Remove the presentation from the pedestal
It’s okay to fail. Seriously, unless it’s surgery, it’s not life or death, and you will eventually get another shot as long as you keep applying.
You’ll be sending out résumés with typos, bombshell interviews, forgetting important dates, dropping plates of groceries on yourself …
With everyone receiving a trophy in house league football, we’ve never been doomed, and this only helps to ensure that tests are done as well as possible. But the truth is that in this life you fail and you will be rejected. A lot of.
You’ll be sending out résumés with typing errors, bombing interviews, forgetting important dates, dropping plates of groceries on themselves, and so on. It happens. You are a human being. You will live and grow.
Take a breath and don’t give a presentation or exam more strength than it deserves. You will look back on it as an unimportant event one day, if you remember anything at all.
As a practical approach, explain your newfound knowledge to your friends. The best way to learn a subject is to teach it. So casually explain what you’ve learned, even if your cat has to do it, while no one is watching. Not only will you become actively familiar with the topic, but you will also feel more comfortable with this material and will no longer practice.
Do you see how it all comes together?
Find ways to relax
Socialize with friends. Playing video games. To do yoga. To drink tea. Exercise. Eat well. Sleep well. Netflix and chill. Relax and try to stay as cool as possible without neglecting your preparation.
If you’ve done everything right, you won’t feel the need to crawl and prepare the night before. Having a quiet attitude is half the battle (and that’s the second post-school reference note in this article).
Chris D’Alessandro is a former Student Life Network editor and winner of the Canadian Comedy Award. He currently lives in Toronto, where he continues to write original screenplays and contribute to publications such as VICE Canada and Wheels.ca.