And sometimes a class presentation achieves mild interest, offering something worth chewing on for at least a few minutes.
But sometimes a class presentation makes you want to stab yourself in the leg repeatedly so the pain will remind you that you’re still alive and that you have not in fact been consigned to the special hell God reserves for those he hates enough to punish with eternally bad class presentations.
If you can’t land in the first category, please, for the sake of the children, at least strive for the second.
But what makes the difference between a decent class presentation and a brief glimpse of purgatory? It’s not your amazing personality or the quality of your power point slides. The fundamental difference lies in one thing: communicating something people need to hear.
Too many presentations focus on the presenter: what you found interesting, what you learned, what you had for breakfast. Skip all that. We’re selfish people and we don’t really care about you. We want to learn something.
Focus on that.
Yes, start with what you’ve learned. But keep going. Ask yourself, “From what I learned, what is the most important thing my class needs to hear?” Share that. Nothing else.
It’s a simple recipe, but it works. You could have incredibly awkward presentation skills, but if you can answer that question and share the answer with the class, you’ll likely achieve at least the second level of class presentations. Without that focus, no amount of eloquence can disguise the fact that your presentation has nothing of substance to offer.
And purgatory begins.