Student guide to improving your presentation skills

At Almero Student Mansions, we have been providing assistance to students alongside our exquisite student accommodation in locations such as Bristol, Exeter and Nottingham for years.

We know that although your housing at university is of the utmost importance, there is a myriad of other considerations that can have a huge impact on your time away studying for your degree. Therefore we have taken a look at presentation skills for students and how these could prove to be vital to your academic success.

Although your lectures, seminars, coursework and examinations are the most vital aspects of your studies, knowing how to present like a professional could well give you that added edge when it matters; not just at university but throughout your career.

Presentation Skills for Students

Like many things in life, the best way to improve presentation skills is practice. So, our key takeaway is to take the tips we are about to give you regarding presentation skills but complement this with hours of practice.

You can deliver your slides in front of friends and family or in front of a mirror, it doesn’t really matter. But all of the best presentations and TED talks come across so professionally and fluidly due to hours and hours of practicing terminology, timings and style.

Prepare Your Slides Meticulously

Other than knowing your presentation slides like the back of your hand, the next most important consideration is the preparation of your actual slides. You will most likely have been given a lot of time to prepare and deliver your presentation and you should start planning it immediately.

From the structure and flow of your presentation to images and your font sizes, it takes hours to make a truly great deck and you will most likely tweak this a great deal as you go along.

So, start as early as you can so you can get your slides finalised and get to work practicing them time and time again. By doing this, the delivery of your content will come across extremely convincingly and compellingly.

Prompts & Aids

When looking to improve your presentation skills, one of the biggest mistakes we see is slides that are just too verbose. As well as looking intimidating to your audience, these give you far too much to remember and mean that you are more likely to lose your way somewhat when presenting.

If there is key information you need to add to you deck, then by all means do so but try to keep it as concise as possible. Remember that your audience may well want to make notes during your presentation, so the more information you have the more difficult this will be.

The best approach is to use your slides as visual aids and prompts and then just talk around your subject matter expertly. This way, if you do go off on a bit of a tangent or perhaps decide to freestyle a bit and take your slides in a different direction, your audience will be none the wiser.

Keep words to a minimum and use visuals such a striking imagery, video or graphs to get your message across and talk around these; this will result in you coming across far more comprehensively.

Takeaways for Your Audience

The delivery and content within your deck are obviously of paramount importance, but something that many neglect is post-presentation takeaways. If you follow the above advice and your slides come across interestingly and compelling, then your audience may well want more. Be sure to have some sort of handout for them to takeaway, so they can refer back to your presentation at a later date.

If your slides are being delivered to a tutor or examination board, then again this will allow you to contextualize your slides; this could well turn a good presentation into a great one.

If you aren’t a fan of physical handouts, then a great idea can be to add your presentation to SlideShare. Run by the team at LinkedIn, this allows you to upload your slides with great ease and you can then just share via a link, so anyone can log in and take a look whenever they like.

They can even download them as a PDF, saving paper and meaning you can share all your presentations whenever you like via on a simple URL.

Practise Makes Perfect

As you can see, the key to improving your presentation skills lies in through and pragmatic planning and practise. We can’t really teach you what makes great content, as this will depend on your subject matter but if you are studying for a degree, your knowledge is bound to be excellent.

Just steer clear of procrastination, be sure to practice, keep your slides concise and allow your audience some way to access your slides at a later date and we believe presentations will be no problem for you whatsoever.