During your college career, regardless of what courses you take, you will have to give class presentations. A lot of professors use presentations in their curriculum so they can assess if the student really knows the material. Others like students to work in teams and present their work together. No matter the reason, here are a few tips to have under your belt so that you can give effective class presentations without fail.

How to Prepare for a Class Presentation

Organization and preparation are very important when giving class presentations. You will be in front of the class presenting your knowledge to your peers and professor, therefore you should be well prepared.

  1. Notes:
    Make sure you write out an outline of your presentation and put plenty of notes in the sidebars to help clarify your points. You may need to refer to your outline throughout your presentation so it's best if you have your notes and other information ready at a quick glance. You can also put this information on index cards so that it looks neater.

  2. Charts/Graphs:
    If you are presenting charts and/or graphs, try to present them in color and make sure the information is large enough for your audience to see clearly. You can go to any copy or print shop to have your items enlarged.

  3. Don't wait until the last minute.
    If you wait until the night before to put together a project, it will look sloppy and unprepared and during your rush you may inadvertently leave out information that is important to your presentation. Stick to a study schedule when preparing for large projects.

  4. Practice your Presentation.
    Be sure to go through the presentation at home or in front of your friends or family. They can help you spot any flaws or mistakes that you may have. This will also give you practice so that when you do give your final presentation, you are comfortable with the material you are presenting.

Speech Tips

A presentation typically means you will be speaking in front of your class and peers. A lot of students may do an excellent job on the project itself, but a botched vocal portion of the presentation can bring down your grade significantly.

  • Speak Clearly: Be sure to enunciate your words and speak clearly. Do not mumble. Also be sure to speak loud enough for other students to hear you, especially if you are giving your presentation in a large lecture hall.

  • Eye contact: Look directly at your audience. Try to memorize everything you will say so you can avoid looking down at your notes.

  • Be Yourself: While presenting the material, be sure to insert your personality into the presentation. Add a touch of humor or even gain some interaction from your audience. This will keep everyone interested and engaged.

Other Class Presentation Tips

  • Props: Every presentation is better with some kind of prop or tool to help you present the information effectively. You can add a prop to almost any presentation. Try to use colorful props, rather than black and white.

  • Dress Professionally. It’s OK if you usually show up to class in pajama pants and flip flops (not really), but if you are giving a presentation you should dress appropriately. Make sure you look neat and clean.

  • Sources: Be sure you have a list of your sources compiled and ready to turn in to your professor if requested.

  • Team Presentations: If you are giving a presentation as part of a team, make sure you wait your turn before talking. Also, try to interact with your group members so that it's clear you worked on the presentation as a team.

  • To encourage interaction with your audience, ask your peers questions or leave a few minutes at the end of your presentation to have a question and answer session.