Presentations are inevitable as an architecture student. Be it from simple assignments to design juries, you cannot escape it. Unfortunately for some students, presentations are their worst fears. The whole idea of being in front of a crowd can be terrifying, but the harsh truth is that you need to overcome that fear and be comfortable in your own skin. Being able to communicate your ideas is essential as an architect. Imagine being offered a contract by Dangote but because you’re too scared, you end up missing what might have being the biggest contract in your life. Now I find that terrifying, but fear not my friends because I have some tips that might help you get over your fear.
The first thing you need to know is that you need to accept who you are as a person and use that to your advantage. Do you have a nice smile? Smile while talking. Are you considered charming? Charm your audience. Are you funny? Add a little humour. Just do anything that makes you comfortable in your own skin. Don’t go to far. Don’t try to impress. Just be you!
Study your audience! This cannot be over emphasized. Your lecturers can be of different personalities and you need to study them carefully. Knowing how they react to certain things gives you an upper hand in being prepared for any criticism.
Study your presentation well. You need to be fully prepared for any presentation. Go over your work to make sure there aren’t any obvious mistakes. You can make small note cards to write down all your important points. Practice before the time of the presentation with your friends and family, or you can practice in front of a mirror (it actually helps).
Your appearance matters! The right outfit will surely boost your confidence level. Don’t be afraid of getting all dressed up for a presentation. It assures your audience that you are confident and that they should probably pay attention to this fabulous person.
Control your facial expressions. If you’re like me and you have a problem accepting corrections without it showing on your face, then this tip is for you. Find a good friend that reminds you to smile after every few minutes to avoid coming off rude.
Don’t be afraid of criticism! Nothing in this world is perfect, therefore your work can’t be 100%. You need to work hard, give it your best shot, and pray for the best. Criticism is not the end of the world. It could just mean that you’re not on the same page with that person or you need to work a bit harder next time.
Finally, and this is just a piece of advice, you can use all these tips and that day of your presentation may just not be your day. Life is full of ups and downs. You could do everything right and may end up having a bad day. It could be from you, or someone from your panel may give you a hard time for no obvious reason. I know the feeling and it sucks, but there’s always a silver lining to things. It may not turn out to be so bad. I have a classmate who had an awful design jury but ended up getting an A. So don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. Its just how life is.
These are the few tips I built on over the years. I hope this helps you in your future presentations and if there’s any thing that helped you personally don’t hesitate to share it in the comment section below. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more posts!