The beauty of presentations

As a lecturer, I've to do presentations almost every day. Sometimes 3 or 4 times per day. And one session usually takes me about 2 hours. I remember the day I reported duty as a lecturer. I was given a class with nearly 100 students in it. The venue was in a large hall. I had to deliver my lecture by using microphones because there is no way my voice can travel that far. And how I shiver! It's a good thing the students did not know that my palm was actually sweating, hahaha. 

So, through experience, presenting my lecture to the students was never a problem. But, that confident level does not extend to other categories of audience.

I only had the courage to present papers at conferences recently, about three years back. Something did happen that push me into this arena. Something that boost my confidence level. And I really have to thank that person. 

I remember when I was in Melbourne, a colleague of mine was doing her PhD there. She asked me to join her in one presentation back home in Malaysia. And how I froze! I did not freeze during the presentation. I froze listening to her invitation, hahaha. I have to present???!!! Never!!! Please no!!! And I also remember what she told me, "It's ok,it will be difficult at first but then after you learn the trick and trade of presenting, you will know, it's easy" I looked at her with my mouth wide open. And nearly 10 years after that, I have to agree with what she had said. You just need to learn the trick and trade of presenting. Everything else will fall into places.


This was a presentation at ILKAP, Bangi, September, 2014. 
About the crisis of the judiciary. 



A big thank you to this girl, a student of mine who came all the way just to support me on this day :)

1. It might be cliche if I tell you to prepare early. But, you still have to prepare your presentation. My best practice is to prepare my presentation slides last minute. Seriously, I work better under pressure. When I have no time to memorize all the facts, I had to cramp my brain with only the important points and rely solely on my oratory skills during the presentation. Panic attack usually stimulates your brain and enhance it. But, if you are someone who like everything to be prepared before the big day, then just do so.

2. When you print out your slides for the presentation, make sure you print only the points. (Print it in the format of a handout - 3 slides in one page so you have ample space for notes). Later on, study these points in the slides and start scribbling elaborations and important points next to the notes. It is not advisable to write the whole speech, because if you tend to forget one word, then you will start to panic and it will affect the whole presentation.

3. I usually arrive very early before any presentation. Sometimes up to 1 hour before my slot. Waiting makes me bored and so I want to get my presentation over and done with quickly. All I want to do is to present and go home. So this will kill any butterflies that I might have in my stomach.

4. The most dreaded part in a presentation is the eye contact with the audience. However, you can't avoid it totally or you can get bad review from the audience. The trick is to look at the whole room at large and never engage into eye contact with any particular audience. Or if you must, you can look at his forehead. This way actually makes the audience thinks that you are looking at him, but you are not, hihihi.

5. Be calm, even if you are not. Just pretend that you are calm and you are the expert in the area you are presenting. The audience can easily detect if the presenter is nervous and this will only give you extra pressure. I am serious. This can pull you down. They will start to ask questions and when they see that you are nervous, they will continue to attack you. Be an actor/actress the whole time while you are presenting and show them your best calm face.

6. How do you handle questions from the audience when you actually do not know what is the answer? Stay calm. Tell them that you do not have the answer then but will try to find the answer later. So maybe we can discuss this later during our break? And smile :) So 5 minutes before the actual break excuse yourself to the loo, and start googling, hahaha. However, it is very unlikely they will come back to you demanding for the answer. The chances are very slim. They don't know you, they don't have your contact. After the presentation everybody will go home and carry on with their life.

So I hope that these can help you with your presentation. These are just my two cents from my experience. Remember, it is only for a few minutes. It is something that you have to go through at that point of time.

This is a video of my student presenting at one International Conference in UPSI, Tanjung Malim. Mr H and me presented our papers too. I am proud because he had not yet graduated at that point of time but he took the challenge to present his paper at this conference. And from then on, he too, had never looked back. Congratulations Izwan!

So if he can do it, why can't you?






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