13 Tips to Avoid Failing Your Presentations This Year

13 Tips To Nail, Not Fail, Your Presentations From Now On

Doing a good job on a presentation can be hard. Not anymore!

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Class presentations can be nerve-wracking. There's a lot of pressure on you to do well, and you feel judged by both the professor and your classmates. Not to mention, you have to prepare a PowerPoint presentation that's being graded on top of whatever you actually say.

NO MORE. Follow these tips, and you'll be well-prepared with near-perfect slides!

1. Keep the text to a minimum.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make, even when the professor emphasizes that you shouldn't do this. You really don't need to put every single thing you're going to say on the slides--and shouldn't! Only put on the main points, because that's the important stuff you're expanding on as you speak. If you have sub-points, bullet them under the main point--but only use key words and short sentences. Keep all the smaller things in your notes.No one wants to read your slide, they want to hear you talk about it! (Plus your professors will probably take points off if you do this.)

2. Follow the 7 by 7 rule.

My co-leader of my Odyssey chapter told me about this rule. Essentially, you should have a maximum of 7 bullet points per slide with 7 words per bullet point. Full sentences aren't required. This can be a really handy way to cut down on the amount of text you have on your slides, and figure out exactly which information is the most important and should be up there.

3. Please don't read off your slides...

There is nothing more irritating--and boring--than when someone just reads what's on the screen. Doing this is a surefire way to make sure everyone in the class is bored and not listening. And why should they bother to listen if they can just read all the information? Your slides are meant to be a visual aid that highlight your main points, not give your presentation for you! Show you know what you're talking about and look at the audience, not the slides.

4. ...and please look up from your notes!

If you look down the whole time at your notes, it'll be harder for everyone to hear you. Besides, you should be familiar with the information you're presenting by this point. If you're still reliant on your notes, try to look down sporadically rather than keeping them down the whole time. It's not the end of the world if you miss a couple of minor details.

5. You don't need images or GIFs on every slide.

This is one I learned the long way. I got so used to teachers and professors stressing visually interesting slides, that I thought I needed at least one image or graphic on each slide. DEFINITELY not the case. Doing this just creates distracting clutter on your slides. Keep it simple, and only add images when they'll emphasize what you're talking about. For example, if you're presenting on a person, include pictures of them.

6. Actually, just avoid GIFs altogether.

For one, it's hard to be taken seriously when you have something as casual as a GIF on your presentation. They can also be a distracting from what you're saying and the onscreen text. If you're going to use a GIF, either put it on a slide that you'll be going through quickly or make sure it's absolutely relevant to the content. For example, if you're doing a presentation on a TV show or movie, then it's acceptable. Just don't overdo it!

7. Stick to clean themes.

PowerPoint and Google Slides both offer different themes for the slides' backgrounds. Be sure you're choosing one that still leaves room for your text, and won't make the text seem crowded! And definitely don't use a picture as the background, especially if you're going to put text over it. Text over an image will be unreadable and create too busy a scene.

8. Keep the fonts simple.

If the fonts you're using aren't easy to read, then it won't matter what you put up there. Stick to simple fonts like Calibri, Ariel, Montserrat, and anything else that doesn't involve looping or script. This goes for header text as well -- otherwise, how will anyone know what you're talking about?

9. Keep away from bright colors and remember, less color is more. 

Please don't use bright colors against a white screen. No one will be able to read it, including you! Stick with black or darker colors against lighter backgrounds and white or lighter colors against darker backgrounds. Also, stick to about 2 colors for fonts throughout the slides. Keep it consistent, rather than changing it up for each slide!

10. PRACTICE.

This sounds obvious, but I've sat through many a presentation where it was clear the person hadn't practiced beforehand. Practicing your presentation can help you memorize the information so you're not looking down at your notes every few seconds. It'll also help you feel more confident once you get up there, because the words are familiar by now.

11. Time yourself while you practice.

There is not a single class where your presentation won't have a time limit. I've seen people who clearly didn't do this and either went below or way over the time limits. Timing your presentation can help you figure out if you need to include more or less information, and ensure you don't lose precious points for timing!

12. HAVE GOOD NOTES!

This one is important. You can have perfect-looking slides, but if you don't have notes to go with it, you're kind of screwed. Having everything you plan to say in the presentation written down not only makes you look more prepared, but ensures you don't forget anything important! Additionally, the act of writing it down is a great memorization technique.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?

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Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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