10 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Students to Ace and Impress Your Class
PowerPoint presentations aren't as easy to deliver as you think. Most students go through this process without learning how to do an amazing presentation. Here are tips to impress your class with your PowerPoint presentation.
Presentations: one of the most challenging tasks in a student's life. A few have a knack for it while most are often brought down by anxieties at just the thought of the upcoming task. What we're here to tell you is that there's a way out. With just a few tips, we can guarantee you'll impress your class with your presentation.
The problem is, most students have not had the chance to develop their presentation skills. It's not as simple as just talking in front of an audience. A proper presentation will require a set of skills that involves a deeper understanding of the presentation.
But why do presentations even matter? Aren't they just a way to fulfill class requirements? That's where you might be wrong.
The main thing to remember is that presentations are a form of communication. At its core, a successful presentation means being able to transfer information from you to your audience. In this case, your class.
This is why presentation skills apply to much more than schoolwork. Once you graduate and enter the workforce, you'll find that certain communication skills are necessary. These are skills that becoming practiced at presentations will help you develop.
To assist you in developing these presentation skills, we've come up with a few tips. These tips will help guide you on your path to acing that class and impressing your classmates.
10 PowerPoint Presentation Tips
1. Learn the necessary PowerPoint functions
This one might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many students forget about this. We think it's because PowerPoint has become such a household name, people think they know everything about it.
That's where they might be wrong. You can address this preemptively by becoming familiar with the assorted functions of the program.
It might be boring work but this will save you from those awkward moments during the presentation. And these can even help you with the preparation of your presentation.
For example, let's take a look at the SmartArt feature. This feature lets you create text-only infographics and charts on PowerPoint. This means you don't have to download any third-party programs.
For online presentations, one interesting feature that people don't sometimes notice is the ability to zoom-in during the slideshow; perfect when you might wish to point out a particular detail.
Combine this with the handouts that PowerPoint allows you to create and you'll be on the way to becoming a memorable presenter.
2. Consider your class when planning the presentation
Remember what we said about presentations being a form of communication? Nothing embodies that like this tip: when communicating, you want to be able to craft your message according to the preferences and interests of the audience.
After all, that's the goal here, right?
It's your job as a presenter to make sure you communicate clearly. This requires you to know just who your audience is.
Is this presentation supposed to be aimed at your teacher or your classmates? After all, some classes have the students grade their peers. Keep this in mind and you'll have a better idea of how to "talk" to them.
3. Take your preparations seriously
A lot of students make the mistake of being too dependent on the PowerPoint presentation. Too often you can see that a student is just reading every line from the PowerPoint slides.
This often leads to two main problems:
Reading right off the screen tells your class you've got nothing else to say on the matter. Since they're reading the same thing you are, in terms of information, you aren't giving them anything new.
This is why it's important to study the data you'll be using for your presentation. As a rough guide, here's a checklist to help you with your data management:
It might seem complicated but it's pretty simple. The key is to know what you're talking about. Don't make the mistake of having only a general topic in mind. Have a focal point so that you can prioritize the right information.
4. Decide on an overall theme
This tip is aimed at helping you prioritize the aesthetic component of your presentation. Too often, students take more time than they should with the presentation design.
That's time that could have gone into more important details of the presentation. We've already discussed how important the research portion is. Imagine having to worry about this part as well!
We're here to tell you that it's 2020 and templates are a viable option. No longer are we stuck with the boring, built-in themes. These days, it's perfectly okay to rely on free PowerPoint templates. Check out free-power-point-templates.com for a great collection of samples.
Now, we have multiple sources of perfectly functional themes and templates. These are all designed with a certain purpose in mind. Business, Media, and the rest are all well represented.
With little effort, you should be able to find one that suits your needs. The point of this tip is to focus more on the substance of the presentation. The design should support that and not be the priority.
5. Make use of mind maps
One effective way of communicating information is by using mind maps. For students who don't know about these, mind maps are basically an information diagram.
Despite its purpose, it is relatively unorganized. That makes it easier to handle from a student's perspective. Regardless, it is one of the most effective ways to show how ideas were developed.
Simplicity is key here. Anything too complicated and your audience will find themselves distracted. When you're considering your presentation's design, what's key is functionality over aesthetics.
Check out this mind map from a template on SlideHunter.com. It's simple but pleasant to look at. The colors used are bright and friendly but they serve an actual purpose too.
6. Avoid overstuffing
It'll help for you to remember that your audience is full of people like yourself. At one point, they're going to stop taking in information.
Try to stick to one idea per slide to help make things easier to absorb. With communication as the goal, you want to make sure they understand each bit before moving to the next.
Have a guideline when planning out your content. A good rule to follow is the 7-7 Rule. This rule states that in each slide you should have only 7 lines. In each of those lines, you should have a maximum of 7 words.
Consider this sample slide. While the information on it might be accurate or precise, the problem is that there's too much of it. Too much of a good thing is always bad. Here, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of text.
Think about how that rule helps. With a smaller amount of text, your class will not need to work as hard to keep up. Remember that you'll be talking while they're reading your slides.
Of course, a lot of these things will vary. It still depends on the kind of information you'll be talking about. With more complicated points, you'll want less. With simpler topics, you should have a little more leeway.
7. Limit the animations
This is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to bad presentations. We understand that you want your presentation to be fun and entertaining. It's an easy fix for an otherwise boring couple of minutes.
The problem is that they mostly just end up as distractions. At worst, they can even slow your presentations down or stop them altogether.
Of course, we're not telling you to stop using animations. The point is to limit their usage. Animations should be reserved for situations that call for it.
And even better if they can provide support for the information. Find a way for the animations to act as tools for emphasis. If your presentation is a light-hearted one, maybe you can find a way to provide some comedy.
Bottom line, just make sure that you aren't going overboard. Prioritize the communication aspect of your presentation and not the design.
8. Ensure readability
We're gonna repeat something we've been emphasizing: focus on functionality over aesthetics. You know how your presentation is about sharing information? It won't do if people can't read your slide show.
Readability is an important aspect of communication. It's the writer's job to make sure that the reader can understand the content, right?
Luckily, this is easily remedied. To name a few methods, you can try:
A. Contrasting Colors
This is one of the best ways to make sure people can read the text on your slides. You want to make sure that the color of your background is not similar to the text.
For example, if your text is black then your background should be a light color.
B. Font face
Don't be tempted to use elaborate fonts. They may look nice on paper but look differently on a screen. Keep this in mind when choosing a font. The generic Sans Serif type fonts should serve your purpose.
C. Negative space
Negative space simply means the empty space on your slides. You'll want to make sure that you have enough of these in your slides.
Having more empty spaces can have a huge impact on the readability of your slides. This is one of the effects of that 7-7 Rule.
This template readily tackles the issue through the use of completely contrasting shades of blue, aside from the slide title.
This way, they're able to keep color-ways consistent while providing readability. Additionally, they created a lot of negative space for the reader's eyes to breathe.
Remember to keep your audience in mind. Accommodate them in this scenario by ensuring your presentation's readability.
9. Highlight the important areas
Sometimes, you have to show people exactly what you're trying to emphasize. It's not that they're not paying attention. Take into account other factors such as your tone of voice.
You can utilize images or stylizations to emphasize certain points. Your goal here is to point out what they should be paying attention to. Get creative with your approach.
Take a look at this sample slide from a design by Jesse Desjardins. He used a simple method to emphasize the important detail on the slide.
On the presentation slide, the number 350 has been enlarged a little. Just enough that you immediately see it. It's the simple things like this that provide the most benefit for the presenter.
In this way, you limit the distractions. It's a perfect example of aiming for clear and effective communication.
10. Rehearsals are underappreciated
Practice is one of the most helpful things you can do at this point. You want to get to the point where the PowerPoint supports your speech rather than vice versa.
It doesn't matter if you think you're a charismatic person. Practice sessions necessitate you to go through the whole presentation. This is about finding any inconsistencies and working them out early on.
It helps if you can practice with a live audience. Try to organize a practice session with your classmates. This way, you can help each other by pointing out weak sections or any obvious mistakes.
Here are a few things to watch out for during practice:
Don't restrict yourself to these points. If you notice anything that seems off, there's probably a reason for it. Trust your instincts during the practices.
Don't underestimate the benefits of a good dry-run. These can drastically improve your confidence in yourself and the material.
At the end of the day, it's about how much work you put in from the beginning. Spontaneous presentations can be done but nothing beats proper preparation. And proper preparation is the best way to reduce all that anxiety!
Do your homework and things should be easy for you. Remember, this is about communicating your information and insights to the audience. Put some time into the research portion of the presentation.
While the information is important, communicating it is another thing. Don't forget to share the information accordingly with the audience. As long as you make sure you've understood, you should be fine.
Assuming you've gone through the right preparation, your presentation should be a memorable one. That should guarantee you a good grade for that class.
This is a very elaborate and exhaustive article on PowerPoint presentation and very useful for the students who want to master the art of presentation. Many students have good knowledge of the subject but when it comes to giving a good presentation they are at a loss as to how to go ahead. Definitely, presenting something in an impressive way is an art but if one is serious and ready to learn the techniques then it can be achieved. When we want to make a presentation then the first thing we have to assume in our mind is that we have to think that the audience does not know the subject what we are going to talk about. We should not be biased by the audience level and quality but must concentrate on the intricacies of the lecture at hand. We have to present it in a lucid and understandable way. We also have to restrict ourselves within the boundaries of the topic and should not get distracted to other places from where coming back would be a difficult task. The slide should be self-explanatory with minimum material as more is to be explained verbally. One important thing in the presentation is the continuity of the topic. It should not change abruptly at someplace and look disjointed. It should have a flow of the topic so that the next slide is in continuation of the earlier slide and the audience gets clung and attracted to the flow.