You have to give a presentation, but you don’t know how to master this task? In this article you will get 10 helpful tips and tricks for the perfect paper.
Every student (hereafter, for the sake of shortening the article, we’ll just write student) will face the following seemingly undeniable challenge during their term at school or university: a paper. Whether it’s a mandatory paper or a voluntary presentation to improve your grade. Difficulties and problems always appear somewhere, which are difficult to cope with as a student. In all cases, the following article will provide you with a structured help that will let you create the perfect paper in a reasonable amount of time.
Many students who are asked to do a paper ask themselves questions like:
- How much time do I need?
- Should I make a PowerPoint presentation?
- What are good sources? Wikipedia?
- My spelling is bad. How to avoid such mistakes?
- How do I give a good talk?
Let’s clear up these questions in five steps:
- Design& Layout
Is it an exaggeration to say that this is the most important part of a successful presentation?
No, because if you don’t think about how your presentation should be structured, you are making a big mistake. The so-called red thread ensures that your presentation has a planned and structured flow. In addition, people can follow you better if your presentation has such a structure. In addition, it is helpful to start preparing the paper earlier than the last night before the presentation. For a good presentation you should plan at least 2 to 3 hours of work. Another advantage is that you can take more time, for example, when doing research. Saving time by using only one source and fully focusing on it is not useful. If you already have enough time, you should also use several sources. But you will learn more about that in the second r Research.
Also, you should consider what kind of paper you are aiming for. Sometimes the teacher may ask you to make a PowerPoint presentation, a handout or a poster. Often, especially in higher grades, it is also the case that you are free to decide what kind of presentation aid you want to use. In this case, you should pay particular attention to the spatial and technical conditions.
Are beamer for the representation of electronic media available? If this is not the case, then you might want to rely on either a stand-alone handout or poster.
Do you have to give your presentation in sports or similar?? In this case it would also make sense to do without a PowerPoint presentation or something similar, because in a sports hall there is usually no projector available and this would also require a lot more effort.
However, if you are not limited in any way, you have free choice. In the modern times in which we live, we recommend that you at least create a PowerPoint presentation. For more information, see "Design& Layout".
What’s the best way to get meaningful and complete information on a topic you may not know anything about? There are some tools and tips for this, which are explained below.
The art of search
Using several search engines and especially several different sources in the form of web pages protects you from "holes" in the results. If you only consult a search engine, you run the risk of not finding important results, despite the large number of hits. Among other things, this is due to the different sorting of the results.
But: Every search engine is only as good as the keywords you feed it with. The first preparation before researching starts with finding suitable search terms. Let’s assume you are writing a paper about sneakers. If you simply search for the term "sneakers", the mass of hits is overwhelming. How to manage nearly eight million results? Correct: not at all.
To get more accurate search hits, you should refine your search. For this you need a concrete question about the topic. For this you need more details. On the one hand, from the description of the paper (for example, the information that it should be about sneakers for women) and on the other hand from your previous knowledge (for example, that there are special shoes depending on the type of sport). For each of these sub-aspects we should now find meaningful search terms.
The more precise your question is, the more aspects you have to consider and the more precise the results of your search query will be. It is best not to rely on just one search engine. An overview of the different search engines from normal search engines over the search in the Deep Web up to special search engines we have summarized for you here:
- Tor Browser: Biznar (Business)
- WorldWideScience (science portal)
- Mednar (Medicine)
- Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo
- Searching several search engines at the same time (eTools, Yippy, Carrot, PolyMeta)
Good sources, bad sources – evaluate and sort information
A piece of information can only be as good as its source. On the Internet everyone can express himself as he likes. That’s why it’s especially important that you look carefully and question what you find on the Internet. Is the site reliable and relevant? To judge this, we check the author, the external appearance, the content and the objectivity as well as the topicality of the source. We have compiled a checklist for you to check your sources.
- Who is the author?
- Is he known?
Save info and locations
Have you found a good source? Then you should save and manage it. The next time you write a paper on a similar topic, you can use your previous work and save valuable time. Also, this way you always have an overview of all the sources you’ve used, so you can link them in your paper as well. Save links – set bookmarks in the browser Bookmarks are the easiest way to save an internet source. Such bookmarks can be set directly in the browser. The most common web browsers allow this by a bookmark or star icon in the top bar, usually next to the address field.
Easiest points to get: Spelling and co.
In social networks this principle may be a bit degenerated, but orthography, i.e. spelling, grammar and punctuation, is quite important in school – especially in school. For presentations, you should make sure that you have spelled all words correctly, and that you use the correct sentence order and grammar. You should also pay attention to commas, periods, semicolons and other punctuation marks. These points are the easiest to get – both in exams and class work as well as in any form of written presentation. This is not only true for German, but also for physics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, biology, geography and all other subjects in which you have to give a presentation.
If you use Word and PowerPoint for your presentations, you have a check for such mistakes, which can happen to anyone, built right in. Otherwise, you can find free tools to check your texts in the links below. You can also ask siblings, parents or other friends and relatives for help with this.
Repetitive repetitions seem repetitive and annoying
In addition to the fairly easy to correct spelling, you should also pay attention to your general, so-called presentation performance. This includes things like word choice, but also avoiding repeated words. Instead of starting every sentence with "he", "she" or "it" or an article, you should try to bring variety into your paper by using linking words or also filler words (so-called conjunctions) such as "furthermore", "furthermore" or "sometimes".
Be careful not to use too many of these words, though, so that the text – which is especially important in science – still remains factual.
Also, try to avoid verbs like to be, to have, or to become, and use words like to show, to represent, or to convert instead. Whenever you want to use such a word, just try to think of what an expert in the given field would say instead. This is how you usually get more appropriate and more beautiful words for describing something. And you have already improved the presentation of your paper.
- Free spell checker – https://rechtschreibpruefung24.en/
- List of conjunctions – https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conjunctions_in_German
Important: No standard things – be individual
As soon as you launch PowerPoint and create a new presentation using the default template, you’re greeted by two placeholders. The font of these two texts is – let’s say not everyone’s cup of tea. Besides, it seems like nothing special. It does not stand out from the general crowd and therefore the visual performance of your paper will not be evaluated at all or will be evaluated poorly. Maybe it is not explicitly required by the teacher that your presentation looks appealing, but it always brings bonus points if the presentation looks special.
The easiest way to do this is to use one of the many Microsoft PowerPoint templates that are displayed next to the white placeholder template. In addition, since PowerPoint version 2016, there is the possibility to arrange images, texts and other elements in an original way with the help of automatically generated design ideas by simply clicking on them.
Furthermore, there are also alternatives to PowerPoint presentations, which raise your presentation to a completely new level. Some of these would be:
- Prezi : Unlike PowerPoint and free alternatives from OpenOffice or Google, Prezi is not based on the long-established slide system, but instead relies on sections. These can be made larger or smaller, round, rectangular or star-shaped, and can represent all kinds of content – just like the already familiar PowerPoint. The biggest difference, however, is that each section is implemented through modern camera pans. These give your paper a nicer look and at the same time a much better structure, respectively. Overview. So this means that your presentation will be improved on another level as well. Only downside: the free version of Prezi has a continuously visible watermark in the bottom left corner and requires a permanent internet connection during the lecture.
- PowToon : PowToon uses slides, but they are animated in a unique comic style. This also looks much more appealing than the PowerPoint templates you’ve seen thousands of times before. However, there is one criticism: this comic style is rather inappropriate for higher grades. In addition, a watermark is also permanently displayed in the free version and an Internet connection is also required for presenting, which is known not always given in schools.
- Video : This variant is clearly the most unique, but at the same time also the most costly. A specially edited video is only recommended for those who have also gained some experience with video editing and creation from the start. In addition, a large amount of time is to be planned for this, because usually such projects stretch over several days.
No matter which method of presentation creation you ultimately decide on, here’s what you should keep in mind – no matter what:
"A picture is worth a thousand words."
This means that on your presentations and possibly also posters you should rather use a meaningful and topic-related image than write several lines of hard-to-understand text. If at all you give the content of this text verbally, while you only show a picture in the background. This will allow the viewer or. Better to focus the audience on something
However, if you can’t avoid text, never use more than three bullet points per slide or section.
Help, I need to create a handout!
Your teacher requires a handout for your presentation? Here we recommend above all to get used to a uniform style. So you don’t need to create a completely new document in Word, OpenOffice, Google Docs or similar for every single handout in different subjects. Once you have found your layout and design, you can simply copy this file and use it again for future presentations.
If you need help or inspiration on how to design your handouts, you might want to check out these related links.
In addition, we can only recommend from our own experience that you send your finished handout to your teacher as early as possible (at least 1-3 days before the big day of your presentation). This way you don’t have to print out your handout yourself and save money. Of course, this also depends on the respective subject teacher. At least you should never show up for the presentation without a ready copied handout.
- Prezi as an alternative to PowerPoint and co. – https://prezi.com
- PowToon as an alternative to PowerPoint and co. – https://powtoon.com
- Free editing software HitFilm 4 Express to create original videos – https://powtoon.com/express
- What should a good handout look like? – https://uni-24.en/handout-samples-with-samples-templates-and-build-up-outline
First impressions count! It is often the case that the presentation itself is very well researched and looks good as well. But the part of the actual presentation is often simply neglected, even though it is one of the most important features of a good presentation. So when giving a presentation, you should keep the following points in mind:
Posture is very important for a successful presentation, especially the hands. The hands should not be in the pocket during the presentation. However, that alone is not enough. The hands should be at about waist level while speaking and assist in explaining or illustrating the presentation, for example, using graphics.
Eye contact with the audience or the class is extremely important. It not only makes the audience feel engaged, but also makes you look more confident and self-assured. If you find it difficult to look directly into the audience, find a point, such as a wall behind the audience. This point should be as close as possible above the heads of the audience. However, it is especially important not to constantly stray to the teacher with nervous glances. This makes an extremely negative impression, both on the teacher and on the rest of the audience.
Proper and rehearsed verbal demeanor should also be noted. If you talk with the attitude "The faster I talk, the sooner I’ll have the whole thing over with", you should be careful When giving a presentation, this does not exactly provide good feedback. That’s why you should speak loudly and understandably, and remember the pauses between sentences. However, if you present too slowly and demotivated, no one will listen and the audience will get bored. To avoid this, take a close look at the memory list below before the lecture and try to memorize it.
Many students, mostly probably due to nervousness, make the mistake of digressing and not getting to a point. You would also say that they beat around the bush. This mistake has quite an impact on the overall impression of your presentation. This mistake is quite easy to avoid. Just think about some sentences before the presentation, so that it will be much easier for you to speak fluently and clearly later on.
You are too lazy to read through the entire text above? Or do you just need a concise summary of the main issues and tips addressed? Here is a watch list with exactly these tips for all cases:
- ✅ Start preparing your paper as early as possible. Not just on the last night!
- ✅ Always use several different sources to find the right information. (Tip: Use different search engines like z.B. Google, DuckDuckGo and Bing.)
- ✅ Pay attention to the seriousness of your used sources. (Tip: Ask yourself the following questions: Is it current? Who wrote it? Do other sources say the same?)
- ✅ Don’t commit spelling mistakes. This is the easiest way to gain more points (tip: use programs like Word, PowerPoint and co. or use an online spell checker.)
- ✅ Use a differentiated choice of words. Avoid any kind of repetition.
- ✅ Make your presentation (if any) attractive. This way you will get bonus points in a short time. (Tip: Take a look at tools like PowToon or Prezi or at PowerPoint’s own templates.)
- ✅ Get used to a consistent handout style.
On the presentation:
- ✅ Your hands don’t belong in your pocket (hint: they can also be very helpful by using them to explain and clarify things.)
- ✅ Keep eye contact (tip: fix a point above the audience.)
- ✅ Speak loudly and clearly
- ✅ Pauses between sentences (hint: count to two until you start a new sentence.)
- ✅ Your voice should not sound bored or annoyed
- ✅ Express yourself clearly (hint: make up a few sentences beforehand.)
- ✅ Avoid filler words (like z.B. um& quasi)
" We wish you good luck with your next presentation.
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