• Web-based Career & Technical Education

6 Steps Students Should Take Before Creating a Presentation

May 2nd, 2018 Mike Gecawich

Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint or even a basic plan.

Chances are, the final product would be spatially problematic and structurally disastrous.

Any architect or contractor knows that when it comes to creating a well-build home, planning matters.

The same can be said for presentations.

There’s a tendency among students to think that creating a presentation starts with opening up Microsoft PowerPoint and choosing a slide design.

That, though, is a total misconception!

Stellar presentations, regardless of the audience or topic, require adequate and thoughtful planning.

Not sure where to start? Below are 6 steps that all students should take before delivering a presentation.

Choose a Central Idea

Students have a tendency to assume that more is better.

Unfortunately, when it comes to presentations this can lead to scattered ideas, difficult to follow trains of thought, and too many slides.

Long before students even log into their computers, ask them to articulate what their central idea is.

Every example they give, slide they design, idea they share needs to relate back to this central ideas.

Build Curiosity

While the worst presentations can leave you falling asleep, the best ones can have you on the edge of your seat, waiting for more.

How do speakers achieve this?

They often start by building curiosity.

Just as we teach students to include a hook that grabs the reader’s attention in many types of writing, we should teach them to think about how they’ll pique their audience’s interest in what they have to say.

Consider starting with an intriguing question, a shocking fact, or an engaging personal anecdote.

Know Your Audience

Successful presentations take audience into consideration.

Just imagine, would you teach a lesson to students the same way you would deliver the same lesson to your coworkers?

Students should be thinking about who their audience is before they plan out the content of their presentation.

Then, they need to be aware of vocabulary, concepts, or terms that their audience might not be familiar with.

Analogies are a great way to help an audience grasp an unfamiliar concept.

Plan Offline

If you let students create a PowerPoint presentation on their computers they’ll likely spend a good deal of the alloted time testing out different fonts, or looking for the perfect image for their title page.

These details should not come at the expense of well-thought out content.

Instead, have students plan out the content and sequence of their slides on paper first using a PPT slide template.

This way students will be able to think critically about the information they want to include without being distracted by all of the bells and whistles in their presentation software.

Test Your Talk

The only way to get authentic practice with your presentation is to present it!

Make sure to build time into the planning process for students to practice their presentations with one another and receive feedback.

It’s useful to have students use a presentation rubric for this step so that feedback is specific and actionable.

Build Value

Ask yourself why other people should be interested in the information you have to share.

How can your ideas add value to or improve someone else’s life, or make them think about something in a new way?

Then, make sure that this value comes across loud and clear in your presentation.

If you hit a roadblock in trying to express why your idea is valuable, it might mean you need to adjust your message or topic altogether.

Bringing It All Together

It’s imperative that students understand that their presentation will only be as good as the planning that comes before.

That said, there are many components to planning that students are quick to neglect or rush through.

Instead of leaving them to their own devices, help students hone in on the importance of approaching presentations in a logical way with the iAcademy course, Present It!, 2E.

20 fun lessons will guide students through creating presentations on a number of pop culture themes, requiring students to think critically about planning while also incorporating new tech skills.

By the end of the course, you and your students will be confident that their presentations will stick out for all the right reasons.


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