10 Quick Tips on How to Make a Good Presentation for College or Class
Last updated on July 20th, 2020
When gathering class presentation ideas for college projects, students seldom think about the way they need to present their slides. College students can be focused more on the content they have to gather for their PowerPoint slides. Other essential aspects such as the slide layout, body language and the need to prepare for tough questions during Q&A can get lost in translation. Here are 10 quick tips on how to make a good presentation for college or class.
1. Narrow Down Your Outline
In order to avoid confusion, it’s best to narrow down your outline. Don’t try to spread your topic too much, as academic topics can become a rabbit hole if you keep trying to dig in deep. Even a single term can have a lengthy discourse or theory attached to it, which you might not have the time or energy to get into during a time bound presentation. Start with creating an outline and make sure that your outline is as specific as possible. Skip fringe elements associated with your topic or briefly mention them explaining that they require more time to be discussed. Your outline can have the following pattern, title slide, introduction of your topic, main discussion points, conclusion.
2. Find Counter Arguments For & Against Your Topic
Whether your defending a specific narrative or simply providing different perspectives related to a topic, it’s best to study both sides of the argument. Students can be so obsessed with their favorite narrative that they often forget to understand the flip side of the argument. This can result in a major embarrassment when they are asked tough questions which challenge everything they have built their presentation on. Not to mention this can result in a major deduction of marks! Therefore, make sure you know about both ends of the argument and if the discussion gets edgy, you can say that you respectfully disagree with the counter narrative in light of the information you have presented.
3. Keep Your Slides Simple
Adding too many animations and graphical elements can make your content confusing and difficult to follow. Too many animations can also make your slides heavy and your slides might even hang during the presentation. You can use minimalist presentation templates by picking one from our Free PowerPoint Templates or see reviews for Animated PowerPoint Templates to find expertly crafted layouts suitable for your presentation.
4. Try to Use Powerful Images and Videos
Sometimes, you can’t explain something even with a thousand words, however, a single picture or short video can do the job for you. You can incorporate powerful imagery in your slides to make it more meaningful. For example, it can be hard to explain a sales funnel, however, a funnel diagram or short video can help explain it with ease. Similarly, if you are dealing with a complex topic such as behavioral economics, a short video or infographic can help you explain a lot without saying much. You can use third-party content by citing the source, this can also help you save time in explaining complex topics.
5. Tell a Story
Everybody likes a story! Especially if the story has some mystery to it. To make your presentation easy, you can turn your presentation into a story. This will help you keep your audience interested and might even get you some extra marks. You can keep a bit of mystery regarding your story and explain it all eventually in the end, with a call to action, to persuade your audience.
6. Do a Mock Presentation
You can do a mock presentation with your friends to see if your arguments or presentation style needs improvement. This will also allow you to reflect and review your slides. Sometimes, we only find those overlooked spelling mistakes or fractures in our narrative when presenting before an audience. A mock presentation will help you find those cracks and enable you to fill them up.
7. Don’t Read from Your Slides
It goes without saying, that you should never read from your slides. Not only can that result in a deduction of your marks but also affect your confidence. Create slides with little information in them and explain from bullet lists or small lines of text to elaborate upon the narrative. This will allow you to be confident of your abilities regarding the topic and also leave a positive impression on your audience.
8. Be Expressive with Your Voice and Body Language
No one likes a presentation in monotone. Add variety to your voice by mimicking sounds, use a different pitch every now and then, as well as by expressive by using both your body language and tone. You can use your hands to point towards elements in your slides, make gestures to explain something and even add some humor by changing your tone or expressing a funny gesture (without offending someone).
9. Use the Rule of Three
According to Aristotle, after learning something new people tend to remember not too many details but just three things. You can use the rule of three to emphasize your point of view at the start in between and the end of your presentation to make it memorable. You can learn more about this concept from our post about using the rule of three.
10. Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes
When thinking about how to give presentation in college, the first fear many students face is failure. However, in a few years you would see that there was nothing to be afraid of, as the environment in college is nothing compared to what you will have to face at office or during your professional presentations. So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, admit if you make a blunder and keep going. You might get jitters or feel nervous the first few times, but that storm passes eventually, leading to a more confident version of the presenter, which comes with age and experience.
College presentations tend to be a learning curve which can help you polish your presentation skills for your professional life. It is quite likely that you will make mistakes and sometimes, you will have to face criticism, deduction of marks or even undue criticism. If you think your classmates are unfair during a Q&A session, try professional life, where you will have to deal with a number of people trolling your slides simply because of ignorance, jealousy and many times, both. Don’t take it too hard on yourself and give yourself the necessary space to deal with both success and failure, without worrying too much about how people take your presentation. Try to remain calm, respectful and try to enjoy your time as a presenter because eventually, giving a presentation will be the least of your worries!