Having just sat through a round of uni presentations this advice is fresh, first-hand, and easy to fix. From one student to another these five simple points are an absolute must-read.
1. Not having any visuals. Don't mistake this for being alternative, it's just boring. By no means does this have to be a powerpoint, but there should always be something visual that's engaging and supports what you're saying. Whether its a picture on a screen, chart on a stand, a flashy prezi (click here for more on this, it's a must try!), or short YouTube clip, please do yourself a favour and have at least one visual.
2. Avoid palm cards. We're not in grade six anymore, so using this look is a bit past its use-by-date. Don't apologise for any ad-lib either, in most cases this is actually what is expected of you the entire presentation. If you're a nervous speaker and use palm cards as something to hide behind (and trust me we've all been here at some point!) try other techniques to ensure your talk goes off without a hitch. For example when designing your speech think of phrasing things how you would naturally speak, so that if you go off-point you can fake your way back to sounding confident. Make use of visuals, as mentioned before, if only to deflect attention away from shaky hands. Use keywords and pictures on slides or a sheet in front of your to stimulate ideas and their discussion. Integrate the audience by asking them questions – let them do all the work.
3. Don't slam on the spacebar during presentations. If you have a presentation requiring you tap on the spacebar for your next slide please don't bash it, this is scary. Even if this is actually the case, it makes you sound like you're rushing to get out of there and both your audience and marker will become anxious.
4. Dress according to the tone and subject of your presentation. This tip is far from superficial. Dressing the part can help make sense of your presentation. Let's just say wearing an old Mickey Mouse jumper while discussing 'discursive representation of political figures through media broadcast of the national budget' is not so convincing, for instance.
5. At the end of the day you're just talking. Talking is what we do all day everyday, so don't over think the significance of you speaking during a presentation. In all other circumstances we're able to speak really naturally, so why not treat presentations like a conversation with classmates? Remembering this point gives you much-needed perspective, no matter how terrifying the task may be.
Presentations for the most part are scary. Even if you're a confident speaker, we all feel some level of nervousness before getting up in front a class. Follow these practical real-life tips and all the hard work you put into presentations will get a well-deserved facelift.
What are your presentation tips? We could all do with sharing a few of these...