Through the course of a personalized learning program, you may find that you need to give a presentation or two on what you've learned. For online presentations, it's important to use programs that give a sense of visual movement while still communicating your ideas effectively: for those things, we recommend Prezi, along with the standby of Keynote or Powerpoint (when used effectively). For those who don't know, Prezi is a system that allows online students to create a presentation that provides a great amount of visual stimuli and allows you to pan towards and away from information very easily. But just using the right software isn't all you need in order to create a dynamite presentation: follow these tips to make sure that the next presentation you give is astounding.
1. Use Eye Contact
When you are communicating ideas, eye contact helps to cement your ideas in the eyes of your audience. If you are working digitally, it may be impossible to face someone directly in the eyes due to the distance involved, but there are work arounds. First and foremost, it's important that you set up your camera in such a way that you can look into it directly. Then, use this camera as the virtual eyes of your personalized learning buddy: to the audience, any direct eye contact made with the camera will look like you're speaking directly to them, which will help greatly in establishing a sense of trust and expertise in what you're talking about.
Avoid looking at their image on the screen because that will make you appear like you are looking slant-eyed.
2. Body Language
Make sure to keep your body language "open." This means that you need to keep your arms from being crossed, face directly towards your camera with the center of your body, and avoid crossing your arms and legs. A sideways stance can also indicate a lack of trust in what you have to say, which can make it very difficult for someone you're presenting to to take you seriously.
3. Technical Elements
If you're participating in a distance personalized learning program, you will need a method to show your face to your intended audience. If you're using Prezi you have the visuals displaying the information you're transmitting accounted for, but you will still need to get your face across to the person you're speaking to. Using a program like Screenflow can help you bypass this technical barrier and allow you to connect more effectively with your audience.
4. Keep it Simple
Use your visual information displays to communicate the essentials of what you want to talk about, and then your rehearsed speech to get across the important parts of your project. If you rely too heavily on the screen, or try to cover more than you can in a presentation, it can quickly become unwieldy to the point of being impossible to understand.
5. Don't Read Off the Presentation
Don't read off of your presentation! Repeat. Don't read off of your presentation!
This is the hallmark of bad presenters and lecturers. It's very tempting to put all of your notes up there on the screen so that you can just read them off to the audience, but if you do that you run the risk of the audience reading those words ahead of you saying them, and then being forced to wait for you to read exactly what they've already heard so that they can start reading the next slide.