A Short Guide To Presentations

Many courses at Edge Hill University require you to present as part of your coursework. I don’t particularly enjoy presenting to an audience, but then again, I doubt many people do. However, one thing about presentations I do enjoy is the creation of the visual medium you present from. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides – these are the tools of the trade. Although my experience is primarily from scientific presentations, hopefully, these tips can transcend course boundaries and aid people from any discipline!

Text

The most common mistake when creating a presentation is to fill it to the brim with words. When this happens, you run the risk of reading directly off the screen and overloading your audience with information. I’d suggest minimal words on the slides, relying more on visual information like pictures and diagrams. However, words are still very much necessary to convey key information. Any statistics, unfamiliar names, or important facts should be highlighted by having them on screen – preferably with a related image.

Theme

An important part of a presentation is the theme. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as it’s consistent. All of the previously mentioned programs have built in themes, with more available to download. I’ve found that most of the time, simple is best.

Here, the theme revolves around three main colours, orange, lime and cyan. Not exactly harmonious colours, but the contrast allows me to get the point across visually in graphs and diagrams.
A simple theme of just orange and white, but making use of bolding to highlight key points, as well as images to provide further understanding and make the slides visually interesting.

Graphics

Equally as important as the theme are the graphics in a presentation. Use of pictures to engage the audience helps break up any lengthy sections of the presentation and provide further visual information. In my two examples here, you can see how the images of four different habitats become the background of the next slide detailing the environments, and the use of a full-slide map that was used to provide context to the presentation.

In the biological sciences, graphs are very useful to display key numerical information in a visually appealing way. When using graphs, colour coding is key – as are labels. If your graph is up to scratch, then no other written information should be necessary on the slide and any further clarification should be made verbally.

I hope these tips serve you well, and I wish you luck on any future presentations you make!

Exams and Coursework!

So for all you A-Level students exams are not long away and unfortunately at Uni you may not escape this lovely past time! However some courses, like the Primary Education and Early Years course do not involve exams- just coursework, so you may be in luck!

However some courses (including mine) have both exams and coursework, for me this is a great combination as it does not solely rely on exams which as we all know provokes some major stress!

Plus with coursework your feedback from your tutors allows you to improve in your next assignments as some of the topics you study will overlap over the three years. So having this information to know where to improve next time is great as by using this information you can easily attain a higher mark.

Coursework  may not always be just essays as they may take other forms, for example for my course I have had to create an academic poster and a presentation/powerpoint that I have presented to my peers and tutor. For you that have not done many presentations before or you get nervous about presenting… honestly it is nerve-wracking! But practice makes perfect and the more you do it the more you become accustomed to it.

So definitely check how you’re assessed on your course so you’re prepared in September for whatever comes your way!