Effective Academic Presentation Tips Your Students Need to Know

Student presenting information

Delivering information in a manner that is clear, concise and insightful while providing an audience with great learning opportunities are important components for successful presentations. Today, presentation skills are a basic requirement of every field, and students must practise and aim for mastery in preparation for the workplace. It is integral to students’ academic and career success to learn how to properly present and demonstrate their knowledge while ensuring that their peers are well engaged in the material. Apart from solely providing information, presentations should stimulate interactive learning through a pleasing audio and visual experience for the audience. 


Having students do presentations on a regular basis is an effective way of learning by teaching which is proven to improve knowledge retention and overall comprehension. Not only that, but students get to practice their research, communication and leadership skills. Furthermore, presentations enable students to develop their creativity by implementing innovative ways of adding value to their peers’ education in a way that captures their attention and interests. 


Presentations provide learning benefits to both the presenter and the audience. In order to extrapolate these benefits, the experience must be authentic and well-delivered. This blog post will show you how to do just that!


Pro Tips for Effective Academic Presentation

  • Stay passionate to connect with your audience 
  • Focus on your main topic
  • Maintain eye contact 
  • Use your voice creatively
  • Keep a fluent body language 
  • Stay calm and confident
  • Do not read from your slides
  • Maintain your time limit while presenting [1]


Presentation Skills Students can Acquire and Develop


  • Using PowerPoint Effectively

Students must learn how to use PowerPoint presentations to create a visual representation of the information that is being shared with the rest of the group. Being well-versed in the software allows for more impactful information delivery. Students can add high-quality images, diagrams and highlight the important elements of their research in bullet points. This allows students to present both qualitative and quantitative information in a digestible manner. [1] 


  • Adapting to your Audience

One of the most common mistakes many presenters make is to under or overestimate their target audience. Students should thoroughly research their audience to understand where they stand and draft an engaging presentation accordingly. Presenters must question themselves about what their audience may already be aware of and what new information can the presenter share with them. To eliminate confusion, conducting a brief question and answer session where the presenter can address all the points of concern throughout the presentation can be helpful to keep everyone on the same page and allow the audience to absorb the content more thoroughly.  


  • Time Management 

Most academic presentations have a specified time allotted for each student to showcase his/her work. Students must prepare the material for their presentation, keeping it relevant to the time they have been given. If you're writing your presentation out, 2 minutes per double-spaced page is a good rule of thumb to follow. Make sure you don’t have over 7 double-spaced pages of material for a fifteen-minute talk. [2] 


  • Precision

Most students who drift away from their central point of focus in the presentation are seen with long ineffective presentations that bore your audience. Keeping the presentation short and to the point helps outline your presentation's purpose and highlights prominent aspects of the topic. 


  • Keeping your Audience Engaged 

Students must understand the essence behind presenting in front of others. It is essential to capture an audience’s attention and share your knowledge with them. Having an impactful opening sentence/slide at the beginning of your presentation prevents the rapid deterioration of your audience’s attention which is common in presentations that feel irrelevant, confusing or generic right from the start.

 

  • Effective Preparation

Lastly, with good preparation, a student must have enough practice to present their work with confidence and in an organized manner. Students must be comfortable with their material and slides and practice their presentation both alone and in front of an audience. One can also practice using a laser pointer or props if they will use them during the presentation. 


Keep in mind that you and your research are the stars of the show, and therefore one must avoid adding any unnecessary information or images that will take the attention away from your work. Practicing in front of a mirror allows students to assess their body language and how it compliments what they are saying in their presentation. [3]


Mediums for Academic Presentations

Irrespective of the presentation quality in front of an audience, the way it is being presented also impacts the target audience. Specific mediums play a significant role in setting the dynamics with the audience. Different platforms that students can use to give a presentation are as follows:


  • PowerPoint Presentation

A popular way of presenting in front of an audience includes using a creative slideshow that aids your audience’s greater attention towards you. This also allows a visual representation of both qualitative and quantitative data. This medium allows you to observe your audience’s changing expressions towards your slides and respond accordingly to effectively solidify their learning by complimenting what they see on the screen with verbalized information. It is highly recommended for informative presentations. 


  • Video Conferencing

Living in a digitally advanced era, individuals commonly conduct presentations online. Remote learning today encourages individuals to update their learning style and even present their knowledge in a technologically advanced manner. Video conferencing allows students to present anywhere and participate in the class. With different third-party apps like Zoom and Google Meet, students can also share their screen and share a PPT while they speak. 


  • Oral 

A simple way to present in front of an audience is to speak to them as is. In this type of presentation, your own body language and dressing play a vital role in setting the right dynamics from the very beginning of your presentation. It is important to start with a creative, open line and remain audibly clear for the audience to understand. It is highly recommended for persuasive presentations.  


How to Present in an Online Class?

Remote learning has gained much popularity in recent years, and the pandemic also made it clear for teachers to start adopting various teaching methods and strategies that complement online learning. [4] Educators have started coming up with innovative methods to conduct online classes and encourage their students to participate through class presentations. There are a bunch of ways a student can present in online classes, including:


  • Webcam

Your laptop or computer device’s camera can be used to get face to face with your audience. Different platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Skype can be used to connect with a group of students online and give a live presentation. In such presentations, students need to find a neutral background with minimal disturbance so that their audience does not get distracted during the presentation and focuses on what the presenter has to say. These presentations can be taken to another level as the presenter can also share their screen and support their words with facts, figures and diagrams on their screen. 


For this, you must find a quiet place to conduct a presentation with minimum background noise as it can create a lot of chaos during your presentation. As much as possible, students should use good quality headphones with a microphone that only picks up close-range sounds to eliminate further noise from being heard by the audience. It is also highly recommended that students consider dressing appropriately to appear professional in front of their peers. 


  • Pre-Recorded Video

With multiple screen recording options, you can record a complete video clip and add written or oral narrations for your audience. An advantage of this setting is that it allows students to edit their presentations and share the best quality results. With pre-recorded videos, you cannot answer live questions therefore, you must cover the topic comprehensively. A complete breakdown of detailed concepts through step-by-step presentations is recommended for a better understanding of the audience. 


  • Asynchronous Presentations

In this type of presentation, the recorded file is viewed later by the audience. This allows greater access to a wider audience with no time constraints. This is ideal for students who have anxiety and fear public speaking as they can easily keep taking takes until they have the perfect one. However, the audience cannot immediately ask any questions related to the presentations and they have to go through leaving a comment or email and wait for a response. [5] 


How Kritik Improves Students' Presentation Skills

Presentations are an effective way of developing several skills that are required for professional growth and academic success. By presenting, students learn by teaching which is an efficient way of consolidating knowledge. Given that presentations play a key role in providing students great learning opportunities, it is important to consider the platform wherein students can present their knowledge and interact with one another. With Kritik, students have the ability to present individually or work with teammates and present as a group. The added benefit of Kritik’s peer-evaluation in presentations is that students can provide structured, professional feedback to the presenter(s) using effective, customized rubrics. Students can upload multiple files of various formats such as audio, video and PPT slides which ensures that students can still deliver information in a manner that is interactive and informative despite the remote learning environment. Here at Kritik, we closely work with hundreds of professors who put an emphasis on developing students’ presentation skills. Kritik provides a great platform for an audience to not just listen but to also provide regular constructive criticism back to the presenter. By using Kritik, your students are empowered to become better presenters through an interactive platform that focuses on rubric-based assessments to facilit


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[1] James, C. J., & Linte, C. A. (2014). Improve Your Next Presentation: Tips on Effective Presentation Design and Delivery [Continuing Education]. IEEE Pulse, 5(3), 78-81.

[2] Golash-Boza, T. (2018). 6 Tips for Giving a Fabulous Academic Presentation. Wiley. Retrieved from https://www.wiley.com/network/researchers/promoting-your-article/6-tips-for-giving-a-fabulous-academic-presentation 

[3] University of Birmingham. (2021). Tips for effective presentation. Retrieved from https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/metallurgy-materials/about/cases/tips-advice/presentation.aspx

[4] Despite Covid-19, education continues thanks to online learning. ACCA Think Ahead. Retrieved from https://yourfuture.accaglobal.com/global/en/blog/online-learning.html

[5] OWL. (2021). Sharing and Presenting Work in Remote Classrooms. Purdue University. Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/teacher_and_tutor_resources/teaching_resources/remote_teaching_resources/sharing_and_presenting_work_in_remote_classrooms.html


Jay Arias
Education Researcher

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