Monday, February 20, 2012

How to ace your presentations

Study Tipping Tuesday
How to ace your presentations

Today’s study tip revolves around one of every college student’s "favorite" things – presentations! ;)

This is such a huge concept with so many tips; and since a lot of presentations are given in the middle of the semester, I’m going to take the next few Tuesdays to unpack the skills needed to increase the A’s and decrease the anxiety when it comes to giving presentations in front of the class.

I’m going to take you through my entire A+ presentation process that has helped me and will help you create and give presentations that are fun, interesting, easy, and most of all - engaging!

The first step, however, is to focus on the basics.

When you get the assignment to create a presentation, read the assignment. Read it carefully and answer these questions to yourself (either in your head or in writing – just be sure to do it):

1. What is the core message I am going to present?
2. How is the professor measuring my success?
3. Why aspects of this core information is best shared in a presentation?
4. What can I do to “wow” the audience while staying directly on-topic?

The worst mistake students make is getting off-track from the very beginning. Too many just throw too many words or too many images/animations on slides and then read from note cards – often missing the main point.

So after you answer these questions open Word first (not PowerPoint) and create an outline. Do the research and document any specific quotes or sources you’d like to use in your presentation. And then type out everything that you think you want to present about, relating to the main topic. 

The early process you go through for a presentation should be very similar to that of an essay. You need to brainstorm your ideas and then focus them on your key points (that will eventually turn into slides).

Once you've asked yourself the questions above and finished your outline you need to ask yourself, would I want to listen to me speak about this? The answer may be “no” initially, but the goal is for you to make that answer “yes.” How do you make your presentation entertaining so that you help your fellow students learn something new and you get an A? I’ll tell you next week! :)

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