Ace Your Assignments: Tips for Presentations

I am back with another mini-series! Much like my money-saving tips series earlier this year, I have created a series of posts that will cover a range of tips to ‘Ace Your Assignments’. Many of you will be prospective students; these posts can be applied to your sixth form assignments or used as a handy guide to reassure you that university will be FINE! When I was choosing a course it was important to me that exams weren’t the only assessment method, but the thought of doing presentations did fill me with dread.

Whether you are already at university or currently finishing your qualifications in order to secure a place, you’re likely to find that presentations will come up at some point in your assignment or interview process. Without further ado, here are my top tips…

  1. Consider your timings

    At sixth form level, you may be given some lenience on the length of your presentation. However, if your presentation is for an interview or even a graded university assignment, you will be penalised for going under or over your allotted time. A lot of people make the mistake of guessing or basing their timing on how long it takes to read their presentation script…big mistake.

    You will read in your head at a different speed to reading aloud and you may also READREALLYFAST or stumble over words a lot if you are nervous! These factors will impact your time so at every stage of the writing process, stop, and time how long each section takes to actually present out loud. If possible, record yourself on your phone and play it back.
  2. Practice REALLY makes perfect!

    Properly timing and recording your presentation will serve as a wonderful opportunity to practice your presentation too. It is so important to practice your presentation out loud consistently! You will find certain sentences cause you to stumble and lose your flow, which will make you flustered and stressed when you are presenting. Save yourself the embarrassment and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Reading it a few times will not cut it.
  3. Pick the right prompts

    You’ve prepared, preened and practiced your presentation…you’re ready, right? Not so fast! If you feel confident going into your presentation with no notes/prompts, go for it. However, most people like some kind of cue card or notes sheet to prevent them from experiencing a total mind blank or being tempted to stare at the presentation slides and read off the screen. Make sure your notes are easily read (size 8 font is a no go) and well organised (no time for “one second…sorry…wrong page”).
  4. Keep the slides interesting where possible

    If you have practiced enough and your notes are well prepared, there is no need for your slides to be text-heavy. This will bore your audience and can make it look like you haven’t put much thought into your slides. Aim for a mixture of key points from what you are saying/reading, photos and relevant graphics such as charts and quotes.
  5. Have some water with you whilst you present

    Presentation rooms are often hot and bright and you are talking with no interruptions for a lot longer than the average day. Add to that a dose of nerves and you often get a very dry mouth that makes talking clearly difficult! Have a glass or bottle of water with you and don’t be afraid to pause and take a sip, it is often a good way to compose yourself if you can feel yourself becoming flustered.

That’s a wrap! Feel free to ask questions or share your own tips in the comments below, guys.

Sam x

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