Presenting for Success

If you need to use a PowerPoint presentation, or equivalent, to get your lecture across in the classroom it is important to consider the following areas to put yourself in a position to be successful.


First, you need to consider what the purpose of your presentation is. This will drive your presentation. If your purpose is unclear to you, it will be unclear to your students. Constructing a topic or title is a good start, but creating an agenda is another good idea. What topics do you want to cover? Then, consider your audience. Younger students may require different vocabulary than high schoolers; as an example. Next, consider what you want your audience to be able to do after the presentation. Will they apply the knowledge with a project? Will they need to remember the knowledge for a quiz or exam? Also consider time and the context of the audience. Having a presentation that encompasses an entire class with nothing but text may not be appropriate for certain audiences. Visuals, like videos, may need to be included to break up the monotony of the lecture.


Preparing and planning for your presentation leads to the content of your presentation. Putting content into your presentation applies the preparation you put in. As suggested, creating an agenda slide can help the audience understand what your purpose is. The introduction is an important aspect of the presentation. Start by engaging the audience. If the audience is new to you, you may want to introduce yourself. Having a catch phrase that alerts students you are ready to start is a good idea. Mine is “Alright Young Scholars”! You should introduce the topic and provide a brief overview of the topic to start your presentation. Providing objectives or an agenda illustrates what you intend to cover. Sometimes creating an outline is appropriate if the presentation is lengthy. It may be appropriate to engage the audience by asking questions periodically throughout the presentation. Once the topic is introduced it is time to enter into the “meat and potatoes” of the presentation. Ideas need to be presented in a manner where it is clear the area of focus. Transitioning is key. If on one slide you are discussing species it should be clear on the next slide if you are still discussing species, or have moved on to a new topic. The title of the slide should inform the audience what is being discussed. It is important to keep the audience’s attention. Continually talking will not do this. You may need to include slides asking questions to your audience, or links for further information, or videos further discussing the content area. Be sure to provide a summary of the content provided and be willing to address any questions the audience has regarding the presentation. You may not be able to answer every question off the top of your head, but this is okay depending on the audience; as you can get back to them.

Visuals and Creating Interest:

Including visuals in your presentation can help generate interest. Having a bunch of slides with nothing but text can disengage students. Charts, pictures, videos, etc. gives the audience a break from having to read or listen to text. They provide the audience with a visual interpretation of the spoken words or written words within the presentation. Some learners benefit from visuals. You may want to provide the audience with a handout of the lecture slides or post the lecture slides ahead of time so the audience has time to digest the material and try to connect the words to the presentation. Visuals need to be visible; so size is important. In the same way that you do not want to overload the audience with text, you do not want to overload on visuals. Have an appropriate mix. Simply having visuals to break up the monotony of the lecture is inappropriate; the visuals need to provide context to the presentation, so explain the importance of the visuals. Tie the visuals to the audience. Use the visuals to increase the audience’s interaction. Visuals should allow you to highlight important aspects of the presentation.

Body Language, Voice and Pronunciation:

Body language is appropriate when presenting. If you give off the impression you do not want to be there or do not care about the content being discussed, then the audience is not going to be engaged. Provide eye contact, move around, and to some degree be animated. Turning your back to the audience and providing no eye contact may cause disengagement and it becomes difficult to re-engage the audience to the presentation. Your voice is the best tool you have when presenting. Droning on in a monotonous manner will result in the audience checking out. Be sure to change your inflection and even consider changing your voice to emphasize something you say. Finally, pronunciation is key. Expressing a word in an inappropriate manner will lead to the audience following suit. If you mispronounce a word it is important to correctly pronounce it shortly thereafter to prevent future mistakes. Mispronunciation often occurs when you are attempting to rush, so be sure to take your time.

These considerations will lead you to providing an effective and successful presentation.



About Matthew Marino

Matt Marino is a NJ certified business and computer teacher. Marino has ran the web design and media company Franchise Inc. Media and Bambino Enterprises Web Design since October 2003. Matt founded the non-profit Foundation for Academic Advancements in Educational Technology in October 2014. Matt also serves as a Freelance Contributor for Seeking Alpha, and Nasdaq. Since January 2016 Mr. Marino has served as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University.

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