Why People Should Practice Before Giving a Presentation

October 12, 2010
By , Washougal, WA
Have you ever been nervous to give a presentation in front of a bunch of people? Let me tell you, it makes it a whole lot less scary when you’ve practiced it at least once before giving it! I know this from experience. If someone is going to give a presentation they should always practice and prepare before it is time to give it.
It was the day of the Egyptian festival in HomeLink’s 8th grade literature class. I’d been anticipating it everyday since I’d heard about it. My friend was going to lend me a white toga, I was going to wear Cleopatra eyeliner, and I spent 3 hours gluing sugar cubes together into the shape of pyramid. I was so excited that I could not take my eyes away form the clock in my classes before lit.
“Why won’t this clock go any faster for me?” my thoughts shouted. Finally class was over after a long, agonizing talk about solving for X and Y. I sprang from my seat and sprinted down the hallway. Once inside the classroom I slipped into the borrowed toga and began applying the forbidden-at-home eyeliner. Once I was finished I took one last look in the bathroom mirror; my reflection resembled a Egyptian Princess perfectly.
Once the festival began I felt so professional. Whenever someone asked me a question I felt so smart I answered. Each time I was complimented on my outfit I felt likefit the part well. Even while I just stood in the back of the classroom, waiting for my turn to present, I held my head high like the perfect little princess I was turning into. Every time someone looked back at me it was like I subconsciously posed just for them.

But suddenly, like a baseball to a window, my little fairytale land that looked like the middle east, shattered into a billion microscopic pieces. Everyone was clapping and looking at me. My teacher stood at the front of the classroom waving her hand at me. Slowly my brain arrived back on earth from its trip to space, and I realized it was time for me to present. One baby-step at a time I made my way to the front of the room, where all of the audience’s eyes felt like piercing arrows. All of my confidence, pride, and excitement melted down into one big stew called fear. I’d spent all my time preparing the costumes and decorations that I completely forgot about the most important thing, the presentation.

I swallowed the lump in my throat, but only in time for another one to choke its way in. After one agonizingly embarrassingly minute I opened my mouth and, like a auctioneer, rattled off a intro that was something like, “Pyramids were made of stone and built by slaves, and were tombs for Pharaohs.”

I knew it was, “so long professional,” from there on. I just knew everyone thought I was a idiot the way I stumbled quickly over the facts on the pyramid poster. My face burned a fiery red as I hacked my brain, trying to find something else to say.

“Why didn’t I prepare? Why didn’t I practice?” I wailed to myself inside my head. No matter how much I tried to get myself together, I just seemed to spill back over and sink down deeper in blankness. I also knew a little chat from the teacher was coming my way by the way I rattled off words.

When I came to the end of the poster the air began flowing back into my lungs. The elephants one by one jumped off my back, all ten of them. And the flames burning in my head died down. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I read the last word and the teacher came back to take my place. I was too embarrassed to look any one in the eyes. I felt so stupid for acting the way I did, better than any one else, then doing a terrible job. I wished I had worked on the presentation before.

After the festival I went up to my mom and told her how scared I was up there. All she did was look me straight in the eye and ask, “Did you practice your presentation at all?”

The truth is you clearly can’t perform a presentation or speech without practicing it first. You don’t want to end up like I did, feeling like your world is ending. Or you don’t want to have that voice in the back of your head telling you that everyone is thinking you’re a idiot and don’t know what you’re talking about. You also don’t want your mom to be upset with you for not working hard. So, for all these reasons, remember to always go over, and practice at least a couple times, before performing a speech or presentation of any kind.





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