Presentation Tips for Students

You have a big presentation to give for one of your classes. You have gone through all the steps to prepare for your presentation and are now looking for additional tips on ensuring you provide the best performance you can.

To help you prepare:

Speaker notes – in PowerPoint, there are speaker notes you can build. If you find that you have wordy slides, move all of the text to the speaker's notes and put an image on the slide that best conveys the idea of the topic. Print and use your speaker notes during the presentation. It is ok to read speaker notes during your presentation as long as you are periodically looking at your audience, like every other sentence.

Less is better - When building a slide to be used in a presentation, it should have the least amount of information to support conveying the concept/idea. Pictures are typically better than words. If you do have to have words, the least amount is the best. Remember, you are the presentation; you should share your ideas, not the slide.

Mimic great presenters - Watch three presentations of people you consider great presenters and write down three things you liked and three things you didn't like. Youtube and TED Talks are great resources for this.

Select the Right Mentor – be sure to be thoughtful in whom you select as your mentors to provide you constructive feedback. You should respect and trust the mentors you choose. Will the mentors be subject matter experts? Or someone who is a seasoned or excellent presenter?

The things to remember while you are presenting

Do not turn your back on your audience – it is a bad practice to turn your back on your audience, and if you read your slides by turning your back to your audience, you will lose them all very quickly. They all most likely know how to read.

Hands anywhere but in your pockets – presenting with your hands in your pockets signals a lack of confidence. The goal is to give the best presentation you can, conveying confidence is an essential aspect of your performance.

You are the presentation, not the PowerPoint – the PowerPoint slide is there to support the message you are trying to convey. The slides are not why the audience is listening to you. They are looking to you because they want to hear what you have to say, not read your slides.

Where to look – you have a few options, and I suggest you find the option that best suits you. In a classroom setting, one option is to look at the back of the room, scanning from one back corner to another. Another option is to look at people in the audience, making eye contact. This second option helps create a more personal connection with your audience. If you are using speaker notes, you should look up at the end of each sentence and use one of the two options listed above, either look at or above your audience.

If you diligently prepare, take the time to practice, get feedback, and take heed of the tips above, you will have a higher degree of confidence and give the best presentation you can. To help you be better, Erticulate optimizes the process of practicing, receiving feedback, and giving feedback.

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