Certain things in high school are simply unavoidable—there will be stress, there will be great memories, and there will be PowerPoint presentations. It’s happened to everyone: the teacher assigns a set of topics and the class settles in for a marathon of monotonous lectures. Most of the time, students read the words right off of the slide as if they have never before seen the material. It’s coma-inducing, so boring and dry that sleep is unavoidable no matter how interesting the subject is. Every once in a while, though, there’s a student who makes the presentation so engaging that you can manage to open your eyes and pay attention. After these presentations, you can walk away feeling like you actually learned something. This speaking ability isn’t a natural gift; with a bit of practice, even the shyest students can master the art of the PowerPoint.
Keep It Short
The first part of a presentation is, of course, the PowerPoint itself. The most important thing to to remember when designing your Templates for powerpoint is to keep them brief. Breaking up topics into two slides is a surefire way to avoid cramming the slide with knowledge. Nothing puts people to sleep quicker than a huge wall of text looming on the projector screen. The majority of the content shouldn’t come from the slide, but from the presenters themselves. Bullet points are like a memory jogger for the audience; they reinforce what the speaker is saying and allow for notes to be copied quickly. And the bullets are by no means a crutch for you, the presenter, but simply a reminder of what you should be talking about.
KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid
It should go without saying that the design of the PowerPoint must be simple. The program’s pre-made templates are great starting points. Text shouldn’t be too bright, illegible, or informal (Comic Sans is a no-go). Most importantly, though, the words should be big. If your presentation is dynamic enough, students might actually want to see what your slides say, and a size 6 font is not doing them any favors.
Yes, You Need to Practice
Once your slides are created, the most important part of the presentation begins: rehearsal. It is impossible to underestimate how vital this step is. Notecards are a perfect way to start learning your presentation, but by the end you shouldn’t need them. Use index cards to write down slightly more detailed bullets. Expand upon what you’ve written on the screen, add anecdotes and fun facts, and be enthusiastic. This last step is everything. If you seem to care about your topic, other people will too. Rehearse until you know the content like the back of your hand, alone in your room and then for your parents. They make a suitable replacement audience until the real show begins, and can help you improve upon areas that you wouldn’t have noticed yourself.
The Importance of Speech
When presenting, tone is paramount. Your words can sound dry and rehearsed, like lines from a script, or simply like an engaging conversation with a friend. Shoot for the latter. Speaking to your peers in a friendly and informal way is the best way to keep them interested. Vocal inflection is also key; a monotonous voice is sure to put everyone to sleep. And please, if you don’t take anything else into consideration, speak loudly and clearly. There is nothing worse than someone who is standing up at the board with nothing but an unintelligible mumble coming from his mouth. Your teachers will probably also appreciate being able to hear you.
If you suffer from public speaking jitters, rehearsal is a great way to overcome them. Going through your presentation in front of your class will be just as easy as the fifty times you did it at home. Remember, every single person in your class is doing the same thing as you. If you mess up, they won’t even notice. The most important thing that you can do is prepare. With a bit of enthusiasm, a well-rehearsed presentation, and a casual tone, even the most disinterested students may get something out of your presentation.