Oral Report Tips for Speaking to Your Class

Boy presenting a report
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Does the thought of an oral report make you queasy? If so, you're not alone. No kidding, people of all ages and occupations feel the same way. The good news is that there are many things you can do to look and feel calmer during your talk. Just follow these tips to calm down and gear up for a super performance.

Tips for Presenting Your Report to a Class

  1. Write your report to be heard, not read. There is a difference between words that are meant to be heard in your head and words that are meant to be heard out loud. You'll see this once you begin to practice what you've written, as some sentences will sound choppy or too formal.
  1. Practice your report out loud. This is very important! There will be some phrases that you will stumble over, even though they look simple. Read out loud when you practice and make changes to any phrases that stop your flow.
  2. On the morning of your report, eat something but don't drink soda. Carbonated beverages will give you dry mouth, and caffeine will affect your nerves and make you jittery. Try toast and juice.
  3. Dress appropriately, and in layers. You never know whether the room will be hot or cold. Either could give you the shakes, so prepare for both.
  4. Once you stand, take a moment to gather your thoughts or relax. Don't be afraid to give yourself a silent pause before you begin. Look through your paper for a moment. If your heart is beating hard, this will give it an opportunity to calm. If you do this right, it actually looks very professional.
  5. If you start to speak and your voice is shaky, take a pause. Clear your throat. Take a few relaxing breaths and start again.
  1. Focus on someone in the back of the room. This has a calming effect on some speakers. It feels weird, but it doesn't look weird.
  2. If there is a microphone, talk to it. Many speakers concentrate on the microphone and pretend it's the only person in the room. This works well.
  3. Take the stage. Pretend you're a professional on TV. This gives confidence.
  1. Prepare an "I don't know" answer if people will be asking questions. Don't be afraid to say you don't know. You can say something like, "That is a great question. I'll look into that."
  2. Prepare a good ending line. Avoid an awkward moment at the end. Don't back away, mumbling "Well, I guess that's all."

Tips

  1. Know your topic well.
  2. If possible, make a practice video and watch yourself to see how you sound.
  3. Don't pick the day of your report to experiment with a new style! It may give you an extra reason to feel nervous in front of a crowd.
  4. Walk up to your speaking location early, to give your nerves time to calm down.
  5. Keep a zinger line for the end.

What You Need

  • Three days to practice
  • A recording device
  • Layered clothing
  • A great report