Submitted by Milli Ciprian, VP of Programs
STAR Event presentations are around the corner: so exciting! These projects are a great way to build on your passions and showcase everything you have been working so hard on. The scariest part of the competition, a lot of the time, is not the project part, but the presentation. This is not unusual and it just comes with practice and awareness! Below are some tips that I have learned on how to give a solid verbal presentation.
- Before the Presentation
- Take 10 minutes before your presentation to take deep, controlled breaths.
- Give yourself positive affirmations. You have been putting in the work for weeks & months, you know what you’re talking about!
- Right before you present, smile, take a breath, and go in with a lot of energy. Note: your attitude will be reciprocated by the people you’re presenting to.
- During the Presentation
- Keep your confidence up that you walked in with! Even if you stumble or get mixed up, keep going without hesitation and don’t let a mistake mess you up for long.
- Be engaging and engaged. Judges will be able to tell if you are passionate about what you are talking about by the tone and pace of your voice and your gestures. Since STAR presentations are professional presentations, you will need to check how much creative leeway you have with your specific competition. Some allow props and other dress, some only allow professional FCCLA attire and prefer a more straight-forward presentation. Regardless, they love to hear from people who are passionate and stick out, in a good way.
- You want to be loud and speak slowly and clearly enough to be understood. What has helped me go from the student who was asked to repeat what they said 10 times to someone who can be heard over a loud group of students is practicing! It sounds odd, but practicing talking in a strong, loud voice can help you be able to reach those levels when presenting. If you have the capability to, try giving your presentation to someone who sits 10-20 feet away from you and practice until they can hear you fairly well.
- During Evaluator Questions
- Continue to speak confidently and passionately. Try not to say “um” or “like” too much; take your time thinking about your answer before you start talking and stumble on your words.
- After the Presentation
- You’ve done the hard part! At this point, you should probably have your favorite snack to congratulate yourself.
- Also, do not stress about results!! Your results will be the same whether you stress about them or not, so try not to and remember that you gave it your all.
- Additional Tips
- If you have the opportunity, present to other students, friends, family members, or organizations. You could even have a STAR presentation night as an FCCLA event and invite members to watch competitors’ presentations.
- Do not rely on a script if you do not have to. This can be really nerve wracking to do, but it can take your presentation to the next level! As long as you know what you are talking about, what you need to cover, and in what order, you will probably speak more fluently than if you use a script. This also comes with much practice. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that memorizing content can be more beneficial than memorizing words, depending on the situation. If you forget a word, it can be difficult to get back on track to the script, but if you forget a word when talking about the concept, you can continue speaking about that concept with what comes naturally.
- Smile! It is such a simple thing that so many of us forget to do when we are nervous, but smile! It will help you feel confident and ready to take on whatever challenge you face.
Now that you have some tips on how to take on STAR Event presentations – and public presentations in general – I hope you feel more capable of being a strong speaker and presenter. You got this; you’re a STAR!