Tip #1: Prepare
This tip is very generally. It means to not only prepare your material ahead of time (definitely don’t wing it), but to also mentally prepare yourself. If you have your content created, reviewed, and ready for presentation, you will be a lot calmer than if you rushed through it last minute and haven’t looked it over.
Tip #2: Dress professionally
First impressions are very important! Your participants will be judging you before you even begin to speak. You want to look the part. I also found that with being younger, people often discredit what I say or don’t take me seriously. Dressing professionally has helped me to be seen as more of an authority figure.
Tip #3: Arrive early
If you have a lot of equipment, I suggest arriving at least 30 minutes before start time. I found it useful to set up all my handouts, extra pens, business cards, etc on a table off to the side of the front of the room. This was a lot better than fumbling around if someone needed another pen or extra paper. Having materials set out makes the class run smoothly. Also, some participants arrive early. This gives you time to chat with them and make them and yourself a bit more comfortable.
Tip #4: Prepare for set-backs
This tip goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. Besides setting up your room and materials, you want to be early in case of problems that arise. Let’s face it, as much as we prepare, something can always go wrong last minute. I recently began working with a projector, which was complicated to find, let alone set-up. I was in one room with all my materials set-up, half the projector, tables and chairs. I had to move all of my materials, tables, and chairs, to another room to use a different computer system. Since I arrived early, and with the help of some awesome employees, I was able to get set-up and start pretty much on time. Preparing for set-backs means you also have to go with the flow when problems arise. Instead of focusing on “why me,” focus on “what can I do to fix this.”
Tip #5: Have confidence in yourself
Believe in yourself and what you are doing! Stand talk, speak clearly, and speak loudly (not yelling though). Think positively about your program or presentation. Trust your knowledge and your abilities. Greet your participants as they walk in, and if you can, shake their hands. This gesture helps to break that awkward barrier before you start.
Tip #6: It’s okay to not know an answer
One of the things I was worried about most was that I would get hard questions, not know the answers, and I would lose all of my credibility. When you run a nutrition class, yes you will get questions; however, if you know what you are teaching you will be fine. You know more than you think you do. Also, you don’t have to know everything. If you don’t know the answer to a question, give your best response and be honest about not knowing. I have had a lot of questions on new products or studies, some of which I have never heard of. Sometimes, with my science background, I am able to give an educated response. Other times, I have to say “I haven’t read much on the topic of _____, that will be something I will look into more.” If you are seeing the same class again, you could also tell your participant that you could research it and get back to them.
Tip #6: Enjoy what you are presenting
If you teach nutrition, more than likely you are in the field because it is a passion of yours. Bring that passion to your class. If you are excited and passionate about what you are teaching, it will show. This will also help to motivate the people in your class to be more excited about it too.
****These tips can also relate to speeches/presentations in class.