How do you present yourself well?

Simply present well!


A presentation is a "media-based lecture". That means: we use media (here: e.g. PowerPoint or Open Office Impress) to support the comprehensibility of an oral presentation. In order for the presentation to be successful, three key areas are important:

1. Content
2. Visualization
3rd lecture

1. Content:

More being than appearance: content is more important than show!
No matter how beautiful your PowerPoint slides are: the content is the core of every presentation. If you don't have anything interesting to say, even the biggest foil fireworks display won't tear your lecture apart. The first thing to do is to work out something relevant that can then be presented later.

Find relevant information
In order to give a successful presentation, you have to find good information on your topic. The first course can lead you to our study room, where you can find good literature on many topics. this also applies to the Sankt Augustin city library. The University and State Library in Bonn is recommended for specialist work. You can of course also use the Internet to research information. But be careful: there are extremely large differences in the quality of the information and it is often impossible to tell whether the author is an expert. We strongly advise against using other student presentations as the basis of your presentation or even copying them! Wikipedia is often not bad for a first orientation, but it can only be one of many sources from which you can get your information.

From general to specific
If you want to get information on a new topic, you always proceed according to the principle of “from general to specific”. This means that you start with a short introductory text on the topic in order to get an initial overview. This first overview is extremely important because it helps you narrow down the topic, identify important sub-topics and classify all further information in a meaningful way. From here you can work your way further to more extensive texts and details.

Excerpt is called the art of concisely summarizing the most important thoughts of an existing text. This is exactly what you need to do when preparing the content of your presentation. The prerequisite is that you have really understood the text. So it is not enough to simply copy any sentences from the source text. It makes most sense if you excerpt in your own words. Because what you can express in your own words, you have also understood.

Reduce to the essentials - less is more!
From the collected and excerpted information you now put together your lecture. Since you have familiarized yourself with it, you are the expert on your topic. This leads to wanting to include as much information as possible in the lecture. Nothing could be more wrong! The most important rule is: less is more! The art consists in reducing to the essentials. So ask yourself: what is so important that it needs to be mentioned? What detailed knowledge is unimportant for the overall understanding and should therefore be left out? It is important to express complex relationships in a few thoughts and in your own words in an understandable way. Only then can a listener understand and absorb them without prior information.

Take listeners into account
When selecting the essential points, it helps if you consider which information is interesting and exciting for your audience. Also consider where you might be able to fall back on previous knowledge and use points of contact. This makes the lecture more interesting! Also, don't forget that the audience knows much less about the topic than you do. This means that you always have to explain new technical terms.

Never do smarter than you are!
Never (really NEVER!) Talk about things that you did not understand or only half understood! What you did not understand yourself, your audience cannot understand either. It is also immediately noticeable! Leave this information out or have your teacher explain it to you in good time BEFORE the presentation.

Your presentation in five sentences
Again: It is crucial that you understand the topic yourself. You can check whether you know what you are talking about by summarizing the content of your presentation in three to five essential key sentences. These are the sentences that the listener definitely has to take with them and that you repeat again in your summary at the end of your lecture. The entire remainder of the lecture only serves to explain these key sentences.

2. Visualization with PowerPoint / Open Office Impress

Why visualization?
Visualization is the art of making ideas and thoughts in written words, (visual) pictures or graphics visible and thus more understandable. Because the more senses are addressed when learning, the more you learn. We keep 17% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see. If we hear and see at the same time, we already retain 45%. Therefore, we also use our eyes during a presentation to increase the comprehensibility.

Uniformity and clarity
The first basic rule is: light background, dark text, NEVER the other way around! For headings we use font size 26 - 30, for sub-items 20. The font remains the same (maximum of two font types). Be economical with colors and style elements. Too many bullet points, footnotes or carelessly used graphics and images only confuse people. Avoid unnecessary bells and whistles such as dissolve or sound effects. That just distracts.

The more information a slide contains, the less clear the key message becomes. The slides visualize the lecture - they do not replace it! Therefore a maximum of three - four lines per slide! Only keywords are put on the slide, never formulated sentences. Important dates and events always come on the slide!

Our eyes are trained to perceive images first and then text. A picture can therefore arouse interest in the text and trigger associations in the brain that make it easier to remember. A well-chosen picture (or a graphic or table) is worth a thousand words! To do this, it must support the statement exactly and must never falsify it or distract from the actual topic!

The speaker is crucial, not the slides!
You are the focus of the presentation! No film fuss, no matter how fancy, can rip out a bad lecture. So don't give it too much space. The main role is not played by the PowerPoint slides, but by you.

3. The lecture
3.1. The structure of the presentation

The beginning
Getting started with your presentation is important. Here you introduce yourself, arouse interest in the listener and introduce your topic. Then you have to present the structure of your presentation. It is very good when you formulate the goal of your presentation or questions that you want to clarify. This triggers a questioning attitude in the listener. This way he listens more concentrated.

The main part
In the main part you present your content. The slides will help you with this. You have to say something about all slides. You should talk for about 2 to 5 minutes per slide. You are welcome to summarize the main information in one sentence at the end of each slide.

The end
Bring the most important things to the point again! Less is more! Here you summarize the most important core sentences again. If you mentioned goals or questions at the beginning, you have to come back to them now and provide answers. The last slide is reserved for references to sources and literature.

Inquiries and feedback
Usually questions are asked after a presentation. However, you should allow simple comprehension questions during your lecture. You want to be understood! After the presentation, you can use questions from the audience to repeat the most important content-related points while you answer the question. Always remain friendly and confident when you ask - even if you are nervous.

3.2. Tips for the lecture

Index cards
Not only essential for TV moderators: the most important key points for your presentation on small moderation cards. Of course, no formulated sentences should be included here, just short thought aids. If you get stuck, a quick look at the map is enough and you are back on track!

Practice: Security and Time Management
Very few people love to speak in front of an audience. But not only those who quickly get nervous when speaking in public should practice their presentation out loud in front of the mirror or in front of friends. You also have to rehearse your presentation because you only have a certain time frame and you need to know how long you will need. Because a lecture usually takes longer than you think. You may then have to shorten it again.

Body language
Stand firmly on two legs and stay as relaxed as possible. Look at your audience in a friendly way, but stay natural. If you gesticulate something with your hands, it makes the presentation livelier (but not waving around wildly!).

The right timing is decisive!
When using the PowerPoint slides, the sequence also matters. It is wrong: first project, then read out. Then nobody listens to you because the audience first reads. If people then listen to what they already know, they also switch off. Therefore, a slide should only contain key words or memorable numbers. And you should show them exactly when they appear in the lecture.

Summarize in the handout!
If you want to leave something lasting, give after (!) The lecture a comprehensive handout with figures, data and tables. And not at the beginning, because otherwise nobody listens because everyone is busy reading the handout!

3.3 The right choice of words
Simple formulations - short main clauses
Only your own words will be understood by your listeners! So use exactly the words that you would normally use (this is especially true for presentations in a foreign language!). Use short main clauses with as few subordinate clauses as possible. Too many technical terms in the presentation will not make your presentation appear smarter. They just make the audience tune out because they don't understand what you're talking about.

Speak correctly
General rules: make sure you speak slowly and clearly. Consciously take breaks. We all tend to speak faster because we want to sit down quickly when all eyes are on us.

Make your information understandable
Every presentation contains a lot of new information for the listener. These can be absorbed much more easily if you classify and explain them. Formulations like: "that means:" "or in other words:", "You can tell that ...", "... that can be compared with xy because ..."

Mark the transitions
When a new point is introduced, it must be clear to the listener. Good formulations are: "So much for the first point, let's now come to ..." "In summary, one can say that ...", "The next aspect I want to talk about is ..." And of course a new point also includes a new one Foil!