Monday, February 18, 2013

College: Making Presentations

In college, you'll probably be giving a lot of presentations. My freshman year alone, I had to make four or five of them. Some of them were as a group, but others were alone. Here are a few tips on how to make nice presentations. Most presentations will require visuals (I usually use Powerpoints), but some won't. This advice mostly caters toward presentations with visuals.

Don't put all of the information on the slides. 
You don't need to put everything in your presentation on the slides. Use bullets to jot down the main points. This will also help keep you on track throughout the presentation. Too much text is hard to read and looks cluttered.

If using videos, add and test links. 
If you intend to use extra material in your presentation, such as YouTube videos, add the links to your presentation and test them before giving the presentation. This will prevent any technical difficulties on presentation day.

Pick professional, attention-attracting backgrounds. 
Don't use the plain white backgrounds that Powerpoint uses as a default. Find something that looks professional, but still attracts attention. Keep bright colors to a minimum.

Animation is okay, but sparingly. 
Animation and cool slide changes are okay, but use them sparingly. Too much can distract from your presentation and potentially make it look gaudy. 

Practice the presentation ahead of time--alone or in front of a few friends. 
This will help ease your nerves because you'll know when you're going to say. This will also allow you to get an approximate idea of how long the presentation will last, if you need to add any more details anywhere, and practice any difficult-to-pronounce words. Alone is fine, but if you do it front of friends they can give you some feedback and ask questions.