For almost every class I have ever taught on the college level, I have required a presentation; which is why I dub myself the #profwhomakesyoupresent. I would always include some presentation / report or what have you for either individuals or groups. It is something that would, without fail, cause the most uproar for every class.
I could have on a syllabus 10 tests and 4 papers and get less grousing than if you have “presentation – you will be required to stand up in front of the class and present this project…”. I think in the almost 13 years I have been teaching at local colleges, I have had one student say, “Yeah, a presentation!” Everyone else is lined up waiting to talk to you after class to say, “I cannot speak in front of people.” Or some type of statement to that effect. I am not totally heartless; I know that not everyone is comfortable speaking in public but I also know how important a skill it is and that it can be learned (and by default, taught). I would allow certain students the courtesy of coming to class early to present without a crowd but everyone would show up for that, anyway, thus removing the benefit of “no crowds”.
Here are the lessons I tell my students as they prepare for a presentation and that are applicable to presenting at work or anywhere:
For people who are truly introverted (not that I know this personally as I have been speaking since before I left the womb), the best way to overcome your fears are to follow my lessons above and be kind to yourself. Do not beat yourself up over how you are in public speaking situations. This is not often part of everyday life (unless you want to be a teacher or a famous person or some high level executive, you might rarely speak in public) but if you want these types of careers or if you just want to have this skill for yourself to say you faced your fear, review my lessons, practice and let me know how it goes! Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen