I can’t say that I felt completely calm, cool or collected during any of my curriculum night presentations. In fact, some years I may have felt closer to anxious, apprehensive, and afraid, or fearful, fidgety and freaked out. I am NOT comfortable with public speaking, and although I’m fine speaking to 25 third graders, I always felt stressed about presenting to a group of parents. It does get better each time you do it, but if you’re feeling nervous this year, here are a few tips to help you steady your curriculum night jitters, connect better with your audience, and present with confidence.
1. Picture your audience naked. Only kidding! That’s just weird!
1. Prepare well, and practice, practice, practice. Nothing makes you more confident than knowing what you want to say and how you plan to say it. Some people can wing it, but if you’re feeling nervous, you can’t go wrong with a lot of practice.
2. Get relaxed. This list includes some old standbys, plus a few new ideas to try. Crunches!
4. Pretend you’re delivering a TED Talk! Researchers analyzed what makes some TED Talks more popular than others, and they found some easy tricks that all speakers can copy to become more charismatic. Here they are: Use the first 7 seconds wisely, smile, pay attention to your nonverbal body language, talk with your hands, and use relaxed vocal fluctuations and stories so you don’t sound like you’re talking from a script. Here’s a video with more details and examples so you can see what I mean.
5. Did you know there’s a difference in the way men and women deliver speeches? For example, many men tend to pace rapidly when they’re excited about what they’re presenting, and they might think they’re better speakers than they actually are. Many women water down strong statements with comments like, “In my opinion.” We also tend to take up less space on stage, stand in a closed off position, and worry more about the opinions of the audience. If you think your speaking style includes any of these behaviors, here are some tips to help.
By the way, many of these tips would work for one-on-one interactions like parent-teacher conferences as well, and they are GREAT to teach kids! I so wish I’d learned these skills when I was younger!
Want to make parent night prep easier? You can grab one of my parent night presentation templates! (Available in Chalkboard and Fruit Punch style.) They’re editable in Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Drive, and they coordinate with my newsletter templates.
Wishing you all a successful and confident back-to-school night!