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What makes a good university presentation?

Our guide to successful college presentations includes six elements that are important to consider. By incorporating these into your lectures, you’ll see immediate improvements.

Have you ever listened to another student’s presentation and been inspired or wowed? What made that lecturer able to strike a chord with the audience while others left the crowd snoozing?

There are certain elements that go into a successful and effective college presentation. We’ve put together a list of six of these--just for starters.

Making eye contact

A good presenter will make eye contact with audience members. Scan the room and occasionally make eye contact with an audience member. This keeps you looking around and keeps the audience engaged. It’s been said that 2 to 3 seconds at a time is the sweet spot.

Starting strong

The beginning is the most important part of the speech. A good intro draws in the audience and makes them care about what’s coming.

Utilizing body language

Presenters speak with more than just their mouths. A good presenter will use his or her hands and body in a way that is welcoming and friendly. Record yourself speaking before presentation day and see how watchable you are.

Breaking up the monotony

Most speeches will have boring segments. Break these up with interesting segues, stories and statistics that keep the audience engaged and entertained.

Being IT smart

Using multimedia props is a great way to engage the audience, but having these tools and not using them smartly is a sure way to bore the crowd. If you use video or other multimedia, test and retest to make sure it will start seamlessly when you need to cue it up.

Wrapping it up

A good speechmaker will have timed his or her speech and know how long it is going to last. By wrapping up quickly and keeping it from drawing out too long, you’re valuing your audience’s time and patience.

At the end of the day, putting together a presentation is a skill that takes practice. Work hard, ask friends and family to listen to your speech and don’t be afraid to try a few things before you find what works best. Eventually, it will start coming more naturally to you.

As Paul Arden once said: “Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you go, and fix it along the way…”