High School Presentations Guideline

Teachers are sadists. They no longer settle for essays and case studies. Instead, they want you to give presentations with visual aids. And they grade you based on your design and public speaking skills instead of only evaluating your writing. Our guide will be a lifesaver if your PowerPoint and Keynote skills are basic at best and you have no idea where to begin. We focus on the most critical aspects that make presentations beautiful and compelling without going into technical details.

As a bonus, you can also use our tips for your college PPT presentations and professional slides, as these simple rules are universal.

Decisions Before You Start Working on Your Presentation

First, you need to formulate your high school presentations goals. Do you want to draw attention to a problem or convince the audience to take your side in an argument? Do you want to hide the lack of research results or get a passing grade without much effort? Be honest with yourself and make the following decisions based on your objectives.

  • Font. Stick to one or two fonts (serif for titles, sans serif for body text). Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, etc., are all acceptable. But you must stick with the same font and size throughout the presentation. If you want the audience to be able to read the slides, titles should be at least 40pt and body text - 24 pt or above. And make sure you use high-contrast combinations of text and background color (but not green on red and other glaring combinations that are hard on the eyes).
  • Colors. Pick your color scheme in advance and stick with it. The best practice is to use three or four main colors with a couple of accent tones. Black and white slides with bright accents can also look stunning. The color wheel should help you pick complementary colors if you don’t want to settle for PowerPoint default color schemes. 
  • Layouts. If you don’t use a presentation template with preset layouts, stick with two or three layout options. Your audience will have trouble focusing if the layout changes with every slide.
  • The number of slides. While most PowerPoint presentation tips for students advise limiting the number of slides, that’s not the best policy if you have much information to share. Sometimes it’s better to increase the number of slides to keep them readable and compelling. Besides, regular slide changes will keep the audience engaged instead of getting bored staring at the same slide for five minutes.
  • Handouts. People can read or listen, but not both at once. So if you want the audience to focus on your performance, do not provide handouts until you’re finished. Let them read the info at their own pace after you’re done presenting. But handouts are your best friend if you feel nervous about your presentation and wish to draw attention away from yourself.

After you’ve made these preliminary decisions, it’s time to plan and design individual slides.

Compelling High School and College Presentation Slides

Should you cram your whole speech into slides? 

How many animation effects are too many?

What makes a good presentation for students? 

Each slide will look flawless if you follow a few simple rules. It all comes down to limiting your design impulses:

  • Limit yourself to one idea or point per slide. You can use slides to outline the following points, but each one should have a separate detailed slide.
  • Limit the word count. Presentation is not an essay or a teleprompter, so use no more than two or three short sentences per slide. Otherwise, the font will be too small, or the audience will focus on reading the text instead of listening to you.
  • Limit data on images, tables, and charts. Only provide relevant information and leave the rest for your paper or handouts. For instance, if you’re only discussing the economy of three countries, delete the data on the remaining dozen you use for reference from your slide. 
  • Limit distracting visual effects. Used sparingly, animations make for pleasant viewing, but excessive effects draw attention away from the content and can be annoying.

Most PowerPoint ideas for students forget to emphasize that slides are visual media. So stop treating them as you would an essay. Instead, use visual tricks to highlight critical data and direct the audience’s attention where you want it. That’s what contrasting colors, infographics, charts, timelines, and other neat presentation features are for.

Extra Touches for After Your Slides Are Ready

Unfortunately, high school design presentation is not the only success factor. The content of your slides matters, and so do your public speaking skills. Practice makes perfect, and the more times you run through your speech and slides before you have to take the podium, the more confident you will feel. Remember to practice reciting your speech out loud without reading the slides’ text, keep eye contact with the imaginary audience, and avoid blocking the images on the screen. 

Finally, have fun and treat each presentation as a chance to hone your skills. After all, your experience designing and giving presentations will come in handy in college and beyond. You can save your best work in a portfolio for later use when hunting for jobs and internships.

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