How to Make a Class Presentation

No matter your level of presentation comfort, whether you’re a public speaking or pro or terrified to standing in front of a large group, anyone can take a few pointers from the list of tips below:
1. Don’t regurgitate. Simply reciting the information you included in your research paper isn’t just boring, but pointless as well. Your professor didn’t assign a presentation to listen to what she’s going to have to read anyway; she wants you to demonstrate how big of a thinker you are and how your argument holds its own. Instead of reading your paper word-for-word, identify what your big points are and walk your class through the concepts in a conversational yet professional manner.
2. Be brief. Bullet points and title slides are your best friends. Keep your elaborations to a minimum, and stick to the main components of your argument. You’re essentially walking the class through your paper outline, with accompanying visuals and commentary. Stay on topic and keep each slide simple and to-the-point.
3. Be creative. Instead of presenting a basic Powerpoint presentation, think about what makes your argument unique. Without getting too off topic or distracting your audience, think of a creative way you can present your information. Consider opening with a video or music clip, adding some more visuals, or even doing something other than a slideshow for a change, if that’s allowed (I did a puppet show for an English literature class once, and it was a huge hit). Your professor has seen hundreds of Powerpoints before; give her something memorable.
4. Keep your notes handy. Don’t make your notes a word-for-word script off of which to read; this takes away the conversational aspect of the presentation, and you wind up with a stiff, awkward lecture. Instead, have an outline of what you need to cover, along with some key words or phrases to keep in mind.
5. Practice. If you need a mock audience, grab a few friends and run your presentation for them a few times. Be open to suggestions and ideas, and offer to observe their presentation as well. Practicing may not even involve having an actual audience, though; just talking through your main points to yourself may be enough for you. Just get a sense of how your presentation flows together and try to feel as comfortable with the material as possible. If you’re confident in your argument, your audience will be, too.

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