Tips for the first university presentation

Preparing a presentation

Berlin – Freshmen have barely begun their studies when they already have to give their first presentation. The very thought of this causes many people sleepless nights. We have the best tips for making your first presentation a success.

Fellow students look at you questioningly, the professor nods encouragingly: now freshmen should get started with their presentation. But instead of confidently presenting what they have worked out, some people’s voices become brittle, their heads turn red, and the presentation is almost forgotten. But this does not have to be. Those who prepare properly also get a passable grade. But how do you do it??

Preparation brings security

The problem is often: "If you don’t want to give a presentation, out of insecurity or fear, you put it off", says Reinhard Franke. He is a psychologist and advises students at the Free University of Berlin on how to prepare a presentation Speech anxiety successfully master. Many start too late with the elaboration of the topic and thus put themselves under pressure. But preparation is the key to a good presentation, says Martin Dall. He is Rhetoric coach and owner of the institute HPS International. If freshmen are familiar with the material, also a short stutter does not bring them from the concept.

Give a presentation as a rehearsal

To make their first presentation a success, first-year students should give at least one rehearsal. So they get routine. „It doesn’t matter whether I tell this to my dog or to my life partner.", says Oliver Vornberger. He is a professor of computer science at the University of Osnabruck and has received several awards for his lectures. Important is only, listen to themselves speak for once.

Tips for slide design

Beginners in particular also do well when they Technical aids like PowerPoint, KeyNote and similar software, he advises. This prevents the attention from being focused exclusively on the speaker and is more pleasant for many people. However, first-year students should follow a few basic rules. „The "five by five rule" applies to slides, explains Prof. Vornberger. It should maximum five lines with No more than five words per line its. Grammatically complete sentences are not necessary.

The points cover freshmen then best not at the same time on. He says it’s better to animate them so that they can appear one after the other, says Prof. Vornberger. Otherwise, every listener is busy reading instead of listening to the lecturer.

make reference to everyday life

Before students start working on their presentation, they should also be aware of the practical relevance of the topic to their fellow students. „The listener should be able to imagine what is being talked about", explains Martin Dall. This is especially true for technical or scientific presentations. The Problems can usually be transferred to everyday life. For example, if you have to give a lecture on a complicated subject, you could start by describing the everyday products in which it occurs.

Structure their presentation well

The presentation should further at least three parts have: Introduction or problem statement, main part or solution and an outlook. At the beginning, the speaker should give a brief overview of his presentation. This creates orientation and structure for the audience, explains Dall.

Involve the audience

If you are worried that the audience will stop listening in the course of the presentation, you can use rhetorical questions work, explains Dall. They stimulate the audience to think and make sure that they stay actively involved.

Speakers can really impress with so-called Audience Response Systems. This is what some universities now offer. „This is the principle of the audience question in "Who wants to be a millionaire?, says Prof. Vornberger. Speakers ask their fellow students a question – and they can then tap on an answer via smartphone or laptop. „This makes for a highlight, because it is out of the ordinary – and can be done with simple means.“ If your own university does not yet offer this, first-year students can use the Tool Cliqr of the University of Osnabruck free of charge. First-year students can then incorporate the answer into their presentation right away.

How to make a successful free lecture

The following applies to all presentations: It is best if students speak freely. But especially in the beginning this is difficult for many people, says psychologist Franke. If you are very nervous, you can help yourself with a two-part script remedy. This is a formulated text on one side and a copy with bullet points on the other side. Depending on their needs, first-year students can then switch back and forth between the two types of presentation.

Another possibility is to To briefly address nervousness. Almost everyone knows this feeling, says Dall. Often the audience is particularly understanding afterwards.

Fighting fear with routine

And if there is no other way, first-year students should first read the entire lecture, says Franke. „It is better to read out well than to deliver the presentation in a badly different way.“ Most important is, Routine when giving a presentation, because Presentations are the order of the day in many professions. The point is to avoid avoiding. „In this way, one becomes more confident with each presentation and loses the fear.“

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