Overcoming Oral Presentation Hell

Overcoming Oral Presentation Hell


During their last oral presentation, your teen was so stressed that they felt ill. Stomach aches, nausea, sweating—managing the stress of an oral presentation sometimes seems impossible. Impossible? Not exactly! Here are a few tips to help your teenager overcome their shyness and stress.

Stress: Friend or Enemy?

Having stage fright or feeling shy during a presentation is entirely normal. A bit of stress is stimulating and heightens your senses. But when it’s disproportionate to the triggering event, it becomes paralyzing. So stress is not our enemy—we just need to learn how to cope with it and manage it.

Knowing Your Subject Inside-Out = Confidence

Knowing Your Subject Inside-Out = Confidence

The key to reducing one’s stress is to know your subject thoroughly. So you must at all costs avoid doing the research—or worse, writing the presentation—for your child. First, you’re not helping them with their understanding of their subject matter. And second, it’s cheating.

However, you can be interested in their subject and discuss it with them to help them develop a good understanding of it.

Learn Your Text by Heart? No!

Remind your teen that learning a text by heart, word for word, down to the punctuation, isn’t a good idea at all. If they forget even a word, they’re doomed. They’ll freeze completely!

Once their text is good and ready, you can suggest that they prepare cue cards instead. Most of the time, teachers allow these. They will serve as guides during their presentation.

  • Use index cards;
  • Write in large print;
  • Note only the main and supporting ideas (remember, they’re only guides);
  • Highlight key words;
  • Number the cards (very helpful in case you drop them!).

Practise, Practise, Practise

It’s no secret—this is the most effective way to memorize a text. Your child can rehearse alone and even record themselves to evaluate their performance and improve the points they consider weaker.

Ask them if they want to practise in front of a trial audience: you, an older brother or sister, the whole family after dinner or their tutor. This way, your teen can gradually get used to an audience and get some constructive advice and comments. For example, if they always trip up on the same section, you can suggest that they rewrite it.


There’s no point in trying to impress the class by using fancy words—your child might forget them. They should be as natural as possible by using words whose meanings they know. Is your child a hockey fanatic? If the context is suitable, they can very well make a sports analogy during their oral. Are they more the comedian type? Nothing beats a little joke to relieve stress and create a relaxed atmosphere. But only one—not ten!

A Few Tips for During the Presentation

A Few Tips for During the Presentation

  • Suggest that your child bring a bottle of water with them. This way, if their mouth gets dry during their oral, they can take a quick break for a drink of water.
  • Encourage them to use all the space made available to them.
  • Reassure them: it’s normal if their voice shakes at the beginning of their presentation. This will gradually calm down.
  • Ask them to look around the classroom. Too difficult? If so, they can look at a spot just above the students’ head level.
  • Tell them to take a deep breath before beginning. This will help them feel they are in control of the situation.
  • An oral presentation isn’t a race against the clock. Tell them to take their time in delivering their content and to pause This will allow them to catch their breath and regain confidence. And during this time, listeners will be able to assimilate the information.

Now you have all the tools you need to help your child successfully give their next oral presentation.

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Succès Scolaire: the reference in tutoring and homework help, offers invaluable advice to help your teenager to maintain good mental health thanks to their free guides and their blog.