Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to Ace Your Presentations Pt.3 (you are the star)

Study Tipping Tuesday
How to Ace Your Presentations Pt.3 (you are the star)

If you missed it – check out Part 1 and Part 2 of How to Ace Your Presentations.

Okay so now you’re ready to start creating your presentation. Have you ever been bored watching a presentation? Good - then you already know what not to do ;) But in case you need a refresher:

  • Don’t put too many words on a slide and read straight from them (snooze)
  • Don’t put cheesy clip art all over the place
  • Don’t go crazy with slide graphics
And the most important…

  • Don’t use media as a crutch – the PowerPoint or whatever you use (ever heard of Prezi? Check it out as another cool option that is sure to impress) should be a mere background, like background music in a movie. It sets the tone and gives the audience another mode of embedding the information. A kissing scene in a chick flick without the music? Could be awkward. But add the music and you have chick-flick movie magic. However, the music alone would not bring people to the theater. The stars do.
And you should be the star of your presentation.

Keep this in mind when creating your PowerPoint and you will do great. Let it serve as a background and a visual aid – but not the entire thing. Keep it simple and use visuals whenever possible. I usually prefer 1-2 pictures per slide and a word or two or maybe one short quote. Again, remember, the PowerPoint isn’t giving the presentation – you are.

Now of course every class may be different. Always ask your professor first for his or her PowerPoint presentation guidelines/preferences. These are just rules of thumb that always worked great for me.

So there’s not much to creating the presentation, then, right? In some sense, yes. It should be very simple. A few words, a few pictures, and lots of practice so that you get the delivery right (we’ll talk more about that next week).

But there’s more. In addition to thinking about visuals and other “background music” to set the tone for your presentation, consider going above and beyond and doing something relevant and creative (kind of like what we talked about last week with The Big Bang Theory YouTube videos).

For example, have you ever tried making a movie on Xtranormal.com? I just made my first one for a presentation I’m giving in grad school next week. It’s an educational technology course and our final project is revising a workshop by integrating new technology. 

So I reworked the goal-setting workshop I give to students at colleges around the country, and decided to introduce the workshop with an Xtranormal movie, which you can watch here if you like! (note: I find with Xtranormal it can be best to exaggerate as I think that makes it more entertaining since the characters are so static/robotic. So my movie is hyperbolic on purpose in order to add some humor).

Making this was incredibly fun, and my professor was so excited when she found out I was actually making one and was going to show it in class when I give the presentation on my project. Professors love to see that you are doing something different (and relevant), because it shows that you really care and are the kind of student who goes the extra mile. 

Xtranormal is just one of many options I know you can think of when adding to your presentation “background music.” Share your ideas with our Facebook community. And if you ever make an Xtranormal movie (it’s sooo easy and free) – please also share it on our Facebook. I’d love to see! :)

Stay tuned next Tuesday to learn how to overcome your fears to get up in front of an audience to give your amazing presentation.

Also - while the official media launch date isn't until March 15 - you can order my book on Amazon.com now!! You can get the Kindle version here, or get it on Barnes & Noble.com. Once you read it if you can write a review on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com I would appreciate it more than you know. Thank you guys for being with me through all of this!!!

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