Final Presentations and Anxiety

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In most courses, a final exam will consist of multiple choice questions and a few problems to solve. Other courses may have pages upon pages of writing, showing what you have learned throughout this semester all in one paper to read. Both have their merits based upon the course taken. For instance, as an accounting major, most, if not all my final exams consist of multiple choice questions – conceptual and mathematical – and the rest being a series of problems.

But outside of these two formats, a final exam could be a presentation. Currently, I am taking a course called Strategic Management (BMGT495) where a final presentation is the bulk of where we are able to show what we have learned throughout the course along with our classmates as a group.

In the beginning, I had been so worried since giving presentations can be incredibly anxiety-inducing, and groups can be with people you have never met before. But fortunately, the course with my professor had been amazing at fighting this nervousness. We began the course with learning the concepts found in the textbook, and then applying those concepts to case studies and then eventually to presenting our thoughts and findings to the class in our groups. What had started off as something worrying became almost natural to do!

A few tips I found that were helpful before a presentation were –

  • Meeting with your group to discuss what topics will be covered (also when, and by whom). Building synchronicity with your group will go a long way.
  • Practice! More than anything, practicing what I was going to say in front of a mirror was extremely helpful. In front of a mirror you are able to see your own facial expressions, your hand gestures, and any other aspects you want to know.
  • Controlling your breathing was also substantial. Sometimes, when the nervousness creeps in I feel my breath become shallow and suddenly your chest feels tight. I forced myself to breathe in and out in a steady pace, and it becomes so much easier to talk in front of an audience. But make sure to practice at home first, to find a rhythm that matches your tone.

Good luck everyone!

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