How to Not Bore Your Class with Your Presentations

By: Danté Fosterdelmundo

Regardless if you love or hate talking in front of your class, being able to give a presentation is a universal classroom expectation. Often other people’s presentations can be droning and fail to engage the audience. This guide will provide you with ways to make your presentation a true standout amongst your peers and most importantly, your teacher.

Know Your Topic and Make Deeper Connections

The most crucial element in any presentation, having a deeper understanding of what you’re talking about allows to you relay what’s important and giving a more thoughtful perspective. One of the traps many students fall for is sounding like a Wikipedia page by just listing of facts and figures instead of giving a unique position on an issue or topic. This can easily be fixed by being informed enough to have your own opinion on a subject, expand on said opinion to make more insightful statements. If you’re forced to be neutral, giving multiple viewpoints and how an issue would affect certain groups will achieve a similar effect.

For example, if you were giving a presentation on the Canadian oil industry within your geography class, you could just talk about how oil is used and how much we have compared to the world. However, if you wanted to go deeper and make your presentation interesting, you could say something like this

The Canadian Oil Industry is quite controversial, with the recent approval of the trans-mountain pipeline tensions between industry supporters and critics have increased. Critics often cite that we shouldn’t be supporting an industry that’s pushing us towards everlooming threat of climate change, and the environmental complications with pipelines. People in favour of the pipeline often cite strengthening Canadian industries with the overall economy and that we still live in a society driven by oil meaning it has to come from somewhere.

Not only have you just related your topic to an issue mostly everyone relates to (climate change), but you’ve also presented two unique perspectives on the issue, allowing your audience to reflect on their own opinions and beliefs.

Using PowerPoints Properly

Whether you’re using Prezi, Slides, or Office, a PowerPoint can really enhance your presentation. PowerPoints are how you implement visual aids or basic notes in order to give your audience a clear understanding of what you’re about to say or able to see the bigger picture and impacts through images and charts.

Overloading PowerPoint with words instead of images is probably the easiest way to lose the listener’s attention. PowerPoints work well when you’re using point-form bullet points that are straight to the point, and make sure that most of the content comes from your spoken words instead of paragraphs on the screen.

A big tip to really make your PowerPoint stand out is to not use the default themes. The selection (especially for Google Slides) is very lacklustre and very similar to each other with their modern styles. They’re also limited in terms of premade template slides, the only tools you really have are textbox slides and image slides.

SlidesCarnival provides hundreds of completely free templates, a must-have tool for any student wanting to make their presentations more appealing. Their templates are also packed with premade slides for graphs, big image, transitions, and more.

Ending On a Strong Note

As you’re making your presentation, it’s important to figure out what impression you want to leave on your audience. Whether you want to make the crowd confident in you or your idea, passionate about an issue, or simply informed about a topic, what you leave off is what your listeners will take away. The ending should be a summary of what you said and end with a call to action or a question.

For example, if you were presenting about the recent purposeful burning of the Amazon Forest an example of a call-to-action would be

The generation who will have to foot the bill for the purposeful destruction of the environment for the sole purpose of the bottom line is us, and in order to save our planet for the existence of species, we must collectivize our voice and fight against the corporations directly responsible for our possible demise.

A question can be used very effectively if you ask the same question twice, once at the beginning and once at the end. The goal for that is that their answer or perspective on an issue change after your presentation. An inquiry to the audience that has a seemingly simple and an obvious answer can be used to make a strong impression if you were able to make your class think again about the question a little deeper.

In Summary

Presentations can either be a boring part of the year or an engaging one. Expanding and making deep connections, using presentation software properly, and ending strong are the best ways to make your presentation memorable amongst your peers. Your important message will be best conveyed when it’s delivered through an effective presentation.

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