Have your classroom presentations become a bit…stale? It happens. Creativity gives way to deadlines. Excitement gives way to redundancy. If you’re giving the same formatted presentation/class, you’re going to lose your audience. Here are a few quick tips to help revive your presentations – PowerPoint, SmartNotebook, or other format.
1: Minimal Info on the slide
A presentation slide that is stuffed with information is overwhelming. In many cases, you only need a single word to get your point across. Remember, your PowerPoint (or other format) is an addition to you, not a replacement. You want their attention on you…you don’t want them reading your slides while you talk and you definitely don’t want to read the slide to them.
2: Give them a moment (yourself, too)
When you are presenting, give your audience time to digest what you’ve given them. Especially if you’re presenting new information or technology. If you introducing new material or programs and you don’t allow them to “play” with the new material, their retention is not going to be as high as it could be.
3: No bullet points!
Don’t use just a bulleted list! It’s boring. You can still put a “list” in your presentation, but bringing the items in individually will help (1) focus on the topic at hand and (2) keeps the audience focused on what you’re talking about at that moment. This can be done with animations in PowerPoint or sliding them in from off-screen in SmartNotebook.
4: Music Breaks
There is no reason why you shouldn’t use sound during your presentation. Everyone loves a good piece of music. Not only does music often have an emotional or memory tie-in for an audience, it will wake them up. Use bits of music, sound effects, a short video, or recorded voice at carefully timed places within your presentation. Just remember, if you do use music (or other audio bits), do not infringe on copyright law. There are plenty of places where you can get royalty-free music to use.
5: Move around
Don’t stand right in front of your presentation. Walk around while you present. This accomplishes two goals in the classroom…(1) proximity to students while you present and (2) by putting space between your presentation and yourself, it forces the audience to look back and forth, keeping them actively engaged.
6: Stay away from “cute” fonts
As much as we like the cute fonts, they can make your slides more difficult to read, especially from a distance. Consider using the Sans serif fonts, such as Arial, Calibri, and Helvetica. They are much easier to ready from all distances and angles. The size of your font is important as well. Size 28 is the smallest that you should really use to be seen across a classroom. If you’re presenting in a larger space, then consider a larger font size. Finally, consider your background – stay away from busy pictures! Also, be careful of the color scheme between your font and your background…lots of contrast for easy reading. Hint – White font with a black outline can be read on almost any background.
7: Slow Your Speech
Presenting to your class/audience isn’t talking with your friends…be conscience of the speed of your speech. We do we speak quicker during our presentations? Nerves. If you speak too quickly, the audience doesn’t have time to process your information. Also, when creating a slideshow that you will be presenting “live” – don’t use timings!! Take your time during the presentation and speak clearly and slowly.
8: Pop Culture references
There are varying schools of thought here, but when things are popular in culture and you can work in a reference, it gives your audience something to tie back to your presentation. It might also elicit a laugh and that’s good, too. Let’s face it, for some of our students, it takes a level to entertainment to keep them engaged. References like this may be just what’s needed to wake up that person drifting away from the presentation.
9: Work with a “Partner”
I said earlier “Don’t use slide timings” and “Move around the room.” Now, I’m adding, don’t keep going back to computer to press the “next” button. So, then what I’m supposed to do when I finish one slide and I need to go to the next one? Well, you get a “Partner!” For me, I have several options…my Bluetooth keyboard is light enough that I can carry it around and actually type on my presentation (SmartNotebook) if the need arises, my Bluetooth mouse allows me to walk around and left click when I need to proceed, and I’ve also got a “Clicker” that I found on Amazon that moves my slides forward with the simple click on the side. There are several options here. I haven’t used any apps on my phone for this, but there are plenty of apps that allow you to progress your presentations from your phone. (Note – check your company’s protocols as to whether you can download/install programs needed to do this on your device, but the Bluetooth options that I mentioned are all “plug and play” on CCSD machines.)
10: Mix it up
Mix up your delivery! Don’t become a talking head to you cl
ence (Pair Share, Note Activity, etc.) before you begin speaking again.