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The Easiest Ways to Improve Your Classroom Presentation Skill: Try Free Online Resources Too!

Satria Akbar
Satria Akbar
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Improve your classroom presentation skill by following these simple tips

How did you find your classmates’ PowerPoint presentations? Classroom presentation is boring, and we all know that fact as the audience. But on the other side of the room, for presenters, classroom presentation is a horror situation like a movie with ultimate suspense.

The question is, if classroom presentation is so dull, why do we keep doing that? Well, that’s not a PowerPoint presentation. In reality, many people can make a PowerPoint presentation as attractive as an adventure to the Amazon jungle.

We can determine the quality of a presentation with two things: the quality of the slides and the sharpness of the speaker. Both of them are things that we can improve with determination and hard work. In this case, even students can do mind-blowing presentations if they learn how to improve their skills.

That’s why we are here to give you some tips on how to improve your classroom presentation skill. The tips are very simple but will surely help you bring your presentation to the next level.

Here are the things you can exercise to improve your classroom presentation skill:

1. Self-preparation to improve your classroom presentation skill

You should know better than us that the first thing that needs to be improved is yourself. Well, that’s good because it is a sign that you recognize yourself, and it would be easier for you to improve than becoming in denial.

To improve yourself for the upcoming PowerPoint presentation, you can start days before. Here are the preparations you need to do to enhance your classroom presentation skill:

a. Make notes

improve your classroom presentation skill
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Intelligent people are inseparable from their notes. The reason is that keeping your notes close to your will help you to remember anything easier, including the messages that you want to convey in your classroom presentation.

If you think physical notes are too much hard work, you can also use a side memo in the PowerPoint design that you can even read later while presenting. Just make notes, and your whole presentation will be much easier.

b. Talk to the mirror

improve your classroom presentation skill
Photo by Hüseyin Topcu on Unsplash

The next thing that you can do to improve your classroom presentation skill is your speaking technique. Do you often find people talking to the mirror? That’s an effective method to improve your speaking technique, as well as boosting your confidence.

c. Audience analysis

improve your classroom presentation skill

Another preparation that you can do is analyzing your audience or, in this case, your classmates. Find out what they want and don’t want to find in a classroom presentation, and adjust your presentation to their personality.

This way, you can attract their attention and maintain it for the whole presentation if you successfully satisfy their requests.  

d. Peer review

improve your classroom presentation skill
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

After you grab all of those things mentioned above, it is time to carry out the practice. Ask some of your friends to be your audience and ask for their opinion about your presentation. You can then take turns with your friends and help each of you improve your classroom presentation skill.

2. Try to talk with your whole body, not just your mouth

The next thing you can do to improve your classroom presentation skill is to learn how to control your body while presenting. Here are the points you need to pay attention to while presenting:

a. Smile

improve your classroom presentation skill
Photo by Petr Sevcovic on Unsplash

Not an awkward smile, not a nervous smile, butpure smile of confidence is the thing you need to perform. Come on, smile as pure and as wide as possible at the beginning of your presentation.

Your audience has not realized that you have no idea about what you are talking about until you show your confused face.

b. Strong posture

improve your classroom presentation skill
Photo by Product School on Unsplash

No other body language can beat a strong posture. Stand tall and walk steadily to the front of the class because your classmates may start to judge your performance from the moment you stand up.

One tip for this point is, make a play in your head as if you were a gladiator walking down the tunnel, ready to fight with the lion.

c. Eye contact

Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Maintaining eye contact with your audience is a must. Avoiding eye contact with them or nailing your sight into your notes will make your audience feel like they are ignored. Since nobody likes to be ignored, they will then miss you in return.

Look at every single person in your classroom at least once, and that’s enough. Well, if your crush is in the same class as you, you are allowed to make more than a few eye contact, though.

d. Hand motions

Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Remember, you are allowed to move your hands as you speak. Let alone your hands can also be good communication support for your presentation by using hand gestures.

In addition to that, moving your hands can help you channel nervous energy so you can feel more relaxed during a presentation.

3. TED Talk slides to improve your classroom presentation skill

And the last series of steps you need to do to enhance your classroom presentation skill is to pay attention to your presentation design. Professional presenters only use professional PowerPoint, and even though you only use it in the classroom, you need to mimic an experienced presenter.

Everybody understands that TED Talk exhibits many good examples of professional presentations but is delivered in such a casual way. So, why don’t we adopt the good things shown by the presenters, starting from the slides?

TED Talk slides are not only simple but also to the point. The characteristics of the slides would be suitable to keep your in-class PowerPoint presentation ‘fresh’ instead of that boring one you made last week.

What’s more important is, adopting TED Talk presentation slides is not that difficult. Here are the steps you need to follow:

a. Text is the key

Photo by Pete Lead on Unsplash

The first key you need to understand to improve your classroom presentation skills is arranging the text. Ensure the text you put in your PowerPoint presentation slides is readable by the whole audience in the room.

You want to deliver messages to your audience, not just showing flashes of colors. Another thing that you should pay attention to is the different visibility that different fonts can give you. The exact size of Times New Roman and Arial have huge invisibility differences, and you should know that upfront.

b. Keep your background simple

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

What makes a presentation slide look neat and simple? The answer is the right choice of background. Even though it is just a plain color background, it is more than enough to make your PowerPoint presentation stand out if you can choose the color wisely.

The tip to keep your choice of color never goes wrong is, make sure you have a specific color palette for your PowerPoint presentation. You can browse many combinations of color palettes online so that you can save your energy for the further process of the presentation.

c. Subtle transition

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Never use the barrel roll animation and transition in your professional PowerPoint presentation, including in your classroom presentation. Just keep your transitions or animation subtle, not distracting the audience, and enhancing information exchange.

d. D-i-v-i-d-e

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Yeah, divide the contents of your presentation because a too cluttered slide will only make it look dull and unattractive for your audience. TED Talk presenters usually only use presentation slides with no longer than 7 points in one slide, and you should try to copy that.

However, you should also pay attention to how many slides you are making. You don’t want to present in front of your class with 100+ slides, do you? (Even if you do, please don’t.) Dividing the contents to make your slides neat is good, but don’t go too far.

10 free online resources to improve your public speaking

If you’re one of those people who would rather curl up in a ball and die than speak in front of a crowd, you definitely need to check out these 9 places you can learn public speaking skills absolutely free:

Video-based learning platform Udemy has an excellent public speaking course offered free of charge by Professor Chris Haroun, business school professor, venture capitalist, and author. In his course ‘Give Amazing Presentations and Enjoy Public Speaking,” Haroun analyzes excellent speeches by people like Steve Jobs, Meryl Streep, and Ronald Reagan in short videos, allowing participants to see the power of excellent speaking skills in action.

Instructor Dr. Matt McGarrity from U of W’s Department of Communications guides learners through a 10-week course designed to help participants verbally communicate their thoughts more articulately. From creating impromptu speeches to mastering the speech preparation process to delivering informative and persuasive speeches most effectively, Dr. McGarrity’s course is a deep dive into public speaking skills for professionals of all kinds.

The author of Pearson’s bestselling ‘How to Be Brilliant at Public Speaking’ offers a free six-week online course delivered to participants’ email inboxes. Each week’s lessons focus on one quality shared by the world’s best public speakers, with advice and instruction on developing that quality in yourself. Lloyd-Hughes emphasized brevity, with just a short written lesson and video for each component. If you’re pressed for time but want advice with maximum impact, this is a good choice.

Before writing ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ Dale Carnegie co-authored ‘The Art of Public Speaking’ with Joseph B. Esenwein. Their advice is still relevant a century later! Volunteer narrators at Librivox recorded the book onto over 19 hours of audio describing how to use your voice and hand gestures to emphasize your points, how to convey confidence in large groups, how to persuade people, and more. You can download each chapter as a separate MP3 file from LearnOutLoud.com.

Professor Deborah Bridges from the University of Houston shares her 12-minute ‘Fundamentals of Public Speaking’ lecture in a video that has been viewed more than 16,000 times. Designed as a distance education course for COM1332, the course is a series of lectures available free of charge now on YouTube. Start with the linked video above and look to the right for the following lectures in the series.

This in-depth course is a good choice for those who want to develop better speaking skills to understand the theories and principles behind effective verbal communications. The course is designed around the textbook ‘Stand Up, Speak – The Practice and Ethics of Public Speaking,’ which is also provided in digital format free of charge. Learners will also take cues from Stephen Lucas’ ‘The Art of Public Speaking.’ This is one of the lengthier options for learning public speaking; the length of the course is estimated at 93 hours.

The Public Speaking Project describes itself as “an assortment of virtual tools to help users improve their public speaking skills… (offered by) a variety of speech professionals who are dedicated to providing free and low-cost instructional materials contributed their original work.” Here, you’ll find a free e-book textbook on public speaking, a virtual classroom with lessons on speech writing and delivery, video modules, and interactive activities to help improve your public speaking skills. Sections of the website are still under construction, but the content they do have now is worth checking out.

Toastmasters is a massive public speaking group with over 332,000 members worldwide. While it’s great to get together in person and learn that way, it’s not always possible. If you can’t join one of the 15,400 clubs spanning 135 countries, you might still find their informative articles helpful. The free resources on their website cover various public speaking topics and scenarios, from preparing a speech to presenting awards giving sales pitches, and more.

Dr. Jim Anderson generously shares his experience and knowledge from spending the last 25 years coaching and training public speakers in regular posts on his blog, ‘The Accidental Communicator.’ His advice often centers around the concept that excellent knowledge can be unlocked from within companies by improving communication and speaking skills. Dr. Anderson frequently blogs and has a massive collection of public speaking advice already published for your perusal.

The ‘Six Minutes’ website houses a wealth of free information and insight into speech writing, delivery techniques, effective PowerPoints, and speaking habits, both good and bad. In addition to site creator Andrew Dlugan, dozens of professional speakers, speaking coaches, and university professors share guest articles on various aspects of public speaking. The site is also structured logically, making it easy to find advice on the specific areas of speaking in which you need help.

‘Talk the Talk: How to Give a Great Presentation’ is a free, 6-week online course that uses resources, including TED Talks videos, to demonstrate the art of effective public speaking. It’s more interactive than many other online resources featured here since you’re expected to participate in discussions with other learners. If you find online courses a bit lonely and like learning by engaging in conversation, this course is a great choice.

And of course, once you have your public speaking skills up to par, you’ll want to focus on the most valuable, in-demand skill of all: programming!

See also:

8 Best Practices for Effective Remote Presentations

18 Ways to Become PowerPoint Experts

How to Create a Professional PowerPoint Like a TED Speaker?

How to Prepare for a Speech in One Day When Having Presentation Fear

Got no clue? We can help you

“So, professional PowerPoint presentation slides are blah blah blah… TED Talk presenters design their slides like blah blah blah….” We understand that our explanation above may make things seem simpler than it is.

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