6 Tips to score in Presentations

Presentations are part and parcel of any University degree. Some modules are Presentation-intensive, some may not have it at all! Generally, making beautiful and efficient slides is key to delivering your message to (and impressing) any Professor. Here are 6 tips to make your Presentations much better!

1) No Prezi

For some, using Prezi back in Secondary School or JC was the “boomz”. However, in Uni, this does not work anymore. Many Professors complain of dizzying animations and superfluous transitions. Plus, it distracts the Professor from the real message you want to deliver, so stop using Prezi! PowerPoint or Keynote are the top picks for today.

2) Abuse PowerPoint’s “Morph” Transition

Just because we do not want to distract the Professor with animations (or prevent him from vomiting) does not mean we avoid animations! If you are a PowerPoint user like me (no money for Mac), the Morph transition is a stunning tool to beautify slide animations subtly. It quietly rearranges mutual objects from your current slide into the position of your next slide, fading non-mutual objects away.

Morph

3) Download Relevant PowerPoint/Keynote templates!

The default selection of templates works, but do you really want to settle for a template that the Professor has seen countless times? You can Google “free xxx template download for PowerPoint/Keynote” with xxx being the theme of your presentation. There are some astounding templates out there, some even animated for your convenience!

4) Use a Progress Tracker

Many times, Professors and fellow classmates can get lost on which part of your presentation you have progressed to. Are you talking about the Problem Statement, or Challenges faced? Professors may have had a long, hard day, and their attention span may not be perfect too. To help both of you, use a Progress Tracker that would show the progress of your Presentation! This also makes your slides look more professional and impressive.

Tracker

5) Graphics and Keywords over lengthy paragraphs

Longwinded paragraphs are fine, but do you think your Professor will really be able to see those small words on the screen? After a long day at work, would he bother to read that information that you’ll probably just read off? As the adage goes, a Picture paints a thousand words. Using Graphics makes it visually easier for the Professor to understand your paragraph while showing the Keywords only makes it succinct and minimalist. Aesthetically pleasing, while very effective for your Professor’s understanding.

Graphics and Keywords

6) Know your Colour schemes

Colours can be used to aid readability or enhance the aesthetics of your presentation. It can even be used to attract attention when the class gets tired of seeing presentation after presentation! To achieve this, let’s break down colours into two general categories: Warm and Cool.

WARMCOOL

The idea is to contrast your background colour with your font colour so as to make the words stand out! You can also achieve greater contrast by layering your background with a translucent white/black colour.

  1. Click on the Insert tab à Shapes
  2. Select the desired shape
  3. Right-click on the shape, click Format Shape
  4. Select Line à No Line
  5. Select Solid Fill à Select White or Black à Set Transparency 75%
  6. Stretch the image to overlay your desired areas.

on the right

Generally, many students know the importance of using contrasting colours to enhance readability. However, there are two notable exceptions to this rule. Avoid Red/Blue or Red/Green contrasts, they strain the eye and makes it very uncomfortable to read. Take a look for yourself!

strains the eye

6.5) Colour Theme-ing

Another way to utilise colour schemes to great effect is theme-ing. Using thematic colours enhances the aesthetics of your presentation while making it look more professional. For example, using Red and Purple for a presentation on Environmental Health doesn’t make sense. Green and brown, however, have earthy undertones and make your presentation more coherent. You can refer to this list as a rough guide!

Colour General Feelings Evoked
Black Heavy, technical, formal, death, enigmatic, mystery
Brown Earth, outdoors, books, leather
Blue Peace, tranquillity, trust, confidence, security
Purple Royalty, wisdom, spirituality
Green Nature, environment, health, reptiles, supernatural
Gray Conservative, practical, reliability, ambiguity, metal, aging
Red Passion, love, intensity, heat, aggression, national affairs
Orange Warmth, expansive, flamboyant, food, networking, fun
Yellow Optimism, happiness, idealism, imagination, academic, danger
White Purity, holy, cleanliness, simplicity, minimalist

Final thoughts

Many teams underestimate the importance of having good slides. Some justify their lack of preparation for slides with, “We have the content, no need spoil market”.

However, good slides go further than just “Spoiling market”. What use is fantastic content when the Professor is overloaded with information, thus missing key points of your presentation? Furthermore, doing good slides also shows the Professor that more effort was invested, which would likely leave a better impression.

Hence, it may be worth the additional half-an-hour to carefully curate and refine your slides before a presentation.

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