Event: March 3-7 | Trade Show: March 5-7 | Salt Lake City, UT | Produced and Hosted by the National Association of College Stores

Delivery Skills

Delivery Skills

Feeling nervous before giving a presentation is natural and is experienced by even practiced presenters. Following are some tips to help alleviate this feeling of anxiety:

Before your session

  • Keep in mind that the audience attends because they want to listen and learn from you.
  • Be Prepared—Adequate research and ample practice are the two biggest things that you can do to ease feelings of nervousness. Unless you are a professional presenter, you cannot practice enough.
  • Know how long your presentation will run.
  • Know how to and practice moving forward AND backward within your presentation. Audiences often ask to see the previous screen again.
  • Learn to navigate your presentation in a non-linear fashion. PowerPoint allows the presenter to jump ahead or back without having to page through all the interim slides. It will enhance your credibility to know your way around PowerPoint so you are comfortably in command while speaking.
  • Practicing your speech in front of a mirror, or in front of friends or family members, will give you an idea of how the presentation will sound, as well as making you more familiar with the material.
  • Practice with someone who has never seen your presentation. Ask for honest feedback about colors, content, and any effects or graphics you've included.
  • Do not read from your slides. The content of your slides is for the audience, not for the presenter. In general, the audience will be finished reading your slide in about 10 seconds. You should assume that they will do this as soon as it appears on the screen!
  • NACS staff will gladly review your presentation for you if you send to us 2-3 weeks prior to CAMEX. You may send your show, along with a note, to Julie Lorence at jlorence@nacs.org.

Prior to the start of your session

  • If possible, view your slides on the screen you'll be using for your presentation. Make sure they are readable from the back row seats. Text and graphics should be large enough to read, but not so large as to appear "loud."
  • When possible, run your presentation from the computer (hard drive) rather than from a CD or flash drive. Running from a source other than the computer's hard drive (desktop) may slow your presentation.
  • Have a Plan B in the event of technical difficulties. It's wise to have your presentation on a thumb/flash drive as a backup.

During your session

  • Relax—Keep a positive attitude about your presentation. Instead of thinking of all the things that might go wrong, tell yourself that you will have a successful presentation.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly.
  • Before the presentation, stretch to relieve tense muscles.
  • Try to briefly make eye contact with audience members while speaking.
  • Summarize your main points at the beginning and the end of your presentation.
  • The Question and Answer section of your presentation is important to give the audience a chance to clarify any points of confusion.
  • Remember to restate each question for the benefit of the audience prior to responding. This is an opportunity to reinforce your material to the audience.
  • Look for natural breaks in your content (e.g., several case studies or sections of content). It is preferable that you ask for questions after each chunk of content instead of waiting until the end of the session to take all questions.
  • Do not speak to your slides. Many presenters face the direction of their presentation rather than their audience.
  • Do not apologize for anything in your presentation. If you believe something will be hard to read or understand, don't use it.