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How can I get more comfortable giving presentations in front of large groups?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon2 years ago

I've done various presentations throughout my career, and I always get stressed out doing them. I'll make slides/a script beforehand and pull all-nighters the day before. I'm okay presenting in front of smaller groups, but it's hard in front of larger groups.

How can I get more comfortable with this, especially with higher stakes presentations like those trying to get buy-in from a large group of senior+ engineers and tech leads?



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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago
    • Never try to memorize a presentation word for word: This puts your mind into a very anxious and fragile state where the second you mess up and go off-script, everything falls apart. Memorization in general is a very dangerous technique as it really taxes your mind and is rarely the best option.
    • Have high-level slides with just the core ideas and push yourself to fill in the gaps. So define ~10% of the presentation and fill in the remaining ~90% on the fly. Being able to "wing it" is a very important skill for a strong senior+ engineer.
    • Do mock presentations before the actual meeting. Either do it in front of a mirror or with your peers/manager/mentor figures.
    • If you have a truly good and supportive team, remember that you're not being judged, especially since you're currently working your way towards senior. If you mess up, there's no real consequences - I'm sure your teammates understand that you were nervous and that you're trying to get better at this skill.

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