First and foremost, let’s talk about the format. Mostly everyone uses PowerPoint (yes the old PowerPoint) for creating presentations. Depending on the subject, usually for Business themes and similar projects putting images/pictures in or links to Youtube to make it more interesting and modern. Some other students also try the Prezi online application which is useful for adding collages to presentations. Although I’ve never used it personally, I have come across presentations which looked amazing through Prezi. The other interesting thing about Prezi is that it is very interactive and has effects to keep the audience engaged.
Now, to the nitty gritty of presentations. In general, people run away from delivering presentations for of two main reasons: lack of confidence which leads to panic and group work.
Let’s start with the latter and elaborate. Teamwork is different from groupwork. Groupwork will be what you do most of the times in class, exchanging ideas and opinions and working together to finish a certain task. The same applies to teamwork but it’s more conclusive, because in order to become a team you have to blend together so the finished result is high quality work and everyone has contributed effectively. The issues arising with groupwork is that not all of us are compatible, some will want to lead, some will be unreliable, some will end up doing more work than others and so everything will be part of a learning curve. However, if everyone puts in the same effort, the grades will reflect the hard work and you will become an ace team!
The 5 most important tips I can recommend for presentations are:
- Prepare well in advance: make sure to rehearse the presentation with the team at least 3 times. This helps you gain more confidence as well as being able to know if you go over the time. Most presentations are timed for about 10-15 minutes so you should stick within that time limit, rather than go over and not be able to say important information.
- Think of a confident start to the presentation – the first few words always make an impact, so you can engage the audience from the beginning because otherwise they will be bored straightaway and they will pay less attention to the rest of the presentation.
- Make the transition between everyone’s parts as swift as possible so everyone gets to say their part without having an awkward silent break in between.
- If you feel better have cards to help you while presenting. Some lecturers allow it but do not come with an A4 piece of paper as it’s more likely you’ll lose your way trying to read off the paper. The cards should contain small structured sentences just to help you remember key facts.
- Know your stuff! It’s the best starting point to any presentation to understand the subject. Research well around it and prepare for any possible questions. Then, you will be more relaxed and it will come across during your presentation!
Here’s some further information to make you more comfortable before your presentations:
Further tips in regards to how to structure a presentation:
- Don’t use more slides than needed. You will notice in time that slides need to be concise and short, instead of wasting time using too many transitions.
- If you can, use visual imagery such as photos, graphs and charts which show that you have made some research around the subject.
- Do not overload the slide – the content shouldn’t be too little nor too much, just enough to make your point.
- Key rule: ensure your presentation can run on any computer. Prepare to have compatibility issues, take a memory stick with you as well as sending it off to your e-mail.
- Use simple fonts rather than becoming overwhelming so everyone from all over the room is able to read it. On the other hand, use contrasting colours for text and background so it’s easy to read but not too striking. Work on the balance of colours before the final draft of the presentation.
I hope these tips will help you with your future presentations!