When you are a student, you will often be given the task of writing essays. In some cases, you might even be assigned an essay that has to be presented in a PowerPoint format. While this can often be a challenge, ultimately it will hone your presentation skills, which will really come in handy when you get out into the real world. This article will describe the process of writing an essay, creating a presentation in Google Slides and how to present an essay in the form of a presentation. Don't allow the process to overwhelm you. Read on and great essay presentations that get results!
The process of writing an essay
As a student, you will be assigned a variety of essay types including argumentative, narrative, persuasive, informative, literature, and descriptive, among others.
- Select a topic based on the type of essay you are writing. If the assignment is, for instance, the research or argumentative essay, the topic should be based on a major issue or problem for which you will offer solutions.
Often you will be asked to choose a thesis statement/argument that you will then be required to support with facts.
- The most effective essay topics would be those that you as the writer find interesting and salient, along with the audience it is aimed at.
- Keep in mind the goal of the essay and choose a topic that is most appropriate for caring out the objective whether it is, for instance, to persuade the reader or describe a process.
- If your professor has given you some leeway over the topic choice, select one that you are either greatly interested in or at the very least to have some general idea about.
- Only choose an unfamiliar topic if you are truly determined to learn about it and have enough time to understand it well.
- Choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too specific.
If your thesis is that music is entertaining, you will be covering way too broad of a topic. On the other hand, if you argue that Nirvana was the best 1990s grunge band, you probably won't have enough material to work with. Instead, stating that the Bob Dylan is the most influential musician of the 20th century is an argument that can probably be supported by enough research.
- Once you have decided on the topic, it is time to do some research.
If the assignment requires the use of outside sources, you will need to select the books, academic journals, and articles from reputable news organizations. Avoid using Wikipedia and blogs written by non-notable authors. When in doubt, ask your professor.
While you will need to seek out sources that support your argument, you should also select research that presents contrary evidence and then proceeds to explain why it is weak or otherwise unconvincing.
- Once you have developed your key arguments along with sources that back up your claims, it is time to write out the essay. Most essays are divided into five main paragraphs.
- You will begin with the introduction which explains the importance of the topic at hand, provides some background information. This paragraph concludes with the argument or thesis statement that you intend to defend.
- The body of the paper generally consists of 3 paragraphs. Each paragraph starts by bringing up a key argument, and the rest of that paragraph provides information to back it up. There should be a logical flow between the paragraphs, which means using transitional phrases to move from one argument to the next. Writers will sometimes dedicate the final paragraph of the body to discussing a counter-argument and then proceed to refute it.
- The conclusion provides a summary of the main arguments and discusses the broader implications of the findings.
Creating a presentation using Google Slides
Advantages of Google Slides Most professors and students are more familiar with using Microsoft PowerPoint, but Google Slides offers all of the same features plus more.
- Along with the ability to import PowerPoint presentations, Google Slides also allows for the importing of PDF files, text formats, and graphics.
- Just like with Google Docs and Google Sheets, Google Slides allows users to invite others to view and edit files for a collaborative effort.
- The Google Slides tools encourage the creation of simpler presentations.
- The ability to edit and present offline. While the ability to work with Google applications such as Google Docs required an internet connection in the past, the issues have largely been resolved. This is also the case with Google Slides.
- Since Google Slides are stored in a cloud, all of your files can be accessed through any device, including phones. This also means you won't lose your files even if your computer or devices break down.
How to Create a Presentation
- You can access Google Slides via Google Drive (drive.google.com).
- Log in or create a Google Account.
- Click “New” on the top left and select Google Slides.
- You have the option to choose a blank slide or select from a variety of templates
- Give your slide a name and choose from different themes.
- Add additional slides by clicking the plus button (+) on the top left.
- Use the Insert tab to insert images. You can use images from your computer, Google Drive, or even use your webcam to take a new picture.
- To add text, click T-box to create a text box. The font style and size can be changed according to your preferences.
- Once you have added all of the information and pictures to your slides, click “Present” on the to right-hand corner and you are ready to present!
How to Choose a Slide Template Theme Based on the Subject Matter
Choosing the right color combinations and patterns when putting together the Google Slide presentation can really make a difference. Consider these suggestions:
If your presentation contains a lot of statistics, charts and numerical data, your best bet is to go conservative.
- Choose light colors or even consider a white background.
- Choosing bright, “loud” colors or slides with frames or decorative shapes will only distract the audience.
If the topic of the presentation is related to biology, feel free to choose relevant patterns.
- Templates with floral and plant patterns can add a nice touch.
- Animal print or butterflies are good options when the topic is related to animals.
For Business-related topics, clean and professional is the way to go.
- Medium shades of blue combined with white work well when profiling a business or even the topic involves arguing for a particular business model.
For topics related to law, contemporary literature, history or philosophy, opt for classy.
- Rich shades of dark red or maroon add sophistication and elegance when the presentation is highly intellectual.
When the topic is related to art, ancient history or classic literature the best choice is artistic patterns.
- Templates that include sketches and typography on textured parchment are visually pleasing without distracting from the message.
How to present an essay in the form of a presentation
Using Google Slides is a great way to adapt your essay into a presentation. Researchers and policymakers routinely present their publications in a manner that allows audiences to better understand their findings and even ask questions. Here are some helpful suggestions to follow when you are tasked with presenting your essay.
Structuring the Presentation
As you deliver your presentation, you will want to structure it more or less in the same fashion as the essay itself, but with a few differences.
- Begin with the introduction. To get the audience's attention, you can start off with a relevant quote or even an anecdote before tying it to the topic of the presentation.
This is where the presentation proceeds to model the essay format. Explain the importance of the topic and conclude with your thesis or argument.
- Next, lay out your arguments point by point. This mimics the “body” of the essay.
Choose your strongest points first, the weakest point in the middle, and another relatively strong point at the end.
Use transitional statements between points just as you would in a written essay
You can also include a counter-argument and then explain why it is flawed.
- Finish with a memorable conclusion.
Avoid using overused expressions such as, “So, in conclusion...” or “In closing...” Just go straight to summarizing your main points one last time.
Offer solutions if you are discussing a problem that needs solving.
Finish with a comment that ties back to the original quote or anecdote in your introduction. This provides a neat, satisfying ending to the presentation.
- Good Presentation Rules
Use the Google Slides as your guide rather than reading from a piece of paper. Your main points will already be laid out in bullet points, all that is left to do is fill in the details through your discussion.
Greet the audience with a smile when possible. Of course, if the presentation deals with a very solemn topic, you would want to take a more serious demeanor. But either way, the goal is to present information to an audience in a way that demonstrates you want to be there.
Do not simply begin the presentation by stating your thesis. You will want to make an emotional appeal to your audience, especially if your goal is to persuade them to accept your view. A quote, statement or brief anecdote can help you set the right tone.
Use hand gestures to emphasize your points.
If using a podium, maintain a good posture and avoid swaying back and forth as it is distracting and projects a sense of anxiety.
- How to choose pictures, photos, graphics
Keep the images and graphics simple. If there is too much going on, the audience could get distracted.
When searching for photos, stick to basic words such as “hope” or “happiness” rather than something hyper-specific. In this way, you will have a better assortment of pictures to choose from that can convey your message in an abstract way rather than literally.
Choose images that have the broadest impact. Your audience might not all respond to your pictures in the same way, but using images that most of them can relate to (i.e., a picture of a local landmark or something based on their specific interests) will serve you well.
Your pictures should share a common visual theme. For instance, if you are using a gloomy black and white photo and then begin using brightly-colored pictures, it could make the presentation appear disorganized unless the change in tone is a deliberate part of your presentation.
Ultimately, every picture, chart or table should truly enhance the information you are presenting. In other words, no matter how appealing a picture might look, if it does not compliment the message you are conveying, it is not serving its purpose.
5 mistakes when creating a presentation
- Using unusual fonts
- The right font can make a difference, especially if you opt to use a plain white background. But the last thing you want to do is leave the audience wondering why you choose weird, random fonts.
- Including cute animated gifs or transitioning between slides with a flair for no reason.
- Just because Google Slides allows these features, it does not mean you should. If your goal is to entertain the audience, do it with your words, not through gimmicks.
- Using complicated graphs and charts
- A good graph can be a strong way to make your argument, but you should nonetheless keep them basic. Using a mix of bar and line charts is a sure way to leave your audience puzzled.
- Toggling between Google Slides and media/web sources
- Going back and forth between your presentation and YouTube videos or a company's website can be a great distraction. Google Slides allows you to embed videos, so make use of it. Also, unless absolutely necessary, just use a screen capture of a website rather than minimizing the presentation and clicking on the web browser.
- Cluttered slides full of text, even in the bullet points.
- Paragraphs of information will look overwhelming. Besides, the audience is there to listen to you, not read pages of information on a screen.
How to present a presentation to the audience
- Recognize how you wish to emotionally move the audience when choosing the slides
- If the goal is to explain information in a sober or otherwise straightforward manner, warm calming colors such as green and blue are appropriate.
- Choose red or orange if the intent is to excite and entertain the audience or create tension.
- Understand the knowledge level of the audience
- If you are discussing a book that was assigned for class, it probably isn't necessary to provide much background information. But if the book is something you were asked to choose, you will obviously need to devote more of the presentation to providing explanations.
- Likewise, if your topic is based on something the audience clearly knows a lot about (for example, if you are making a presentation about the American political system in front of a group of political science majors), you can generally make references without having to provide as much context.
- Gage how the audience feels about the topic
- If you are giving a presentation that is salient to the audience, you stand a better chance of succeeding.
- For example, if you are speaking to a group of college students and the issue is about the need to lower tuition rates, they will be more inclined to be attentive
- Familiarize yourself with the venue
- Is the presentation taking place in a small classroom or large auditorium?
- If it is in a small room, issues such as having to account for the placement of the audience won't come into play. But in an auditorium, you will need to ensure that the lighting is neither too bright nor too dim for those in the front or back.
- If the space is confined, make sure you are not blocking the view of the slides.
- Slow it down
- There is a natural tendency to rapidly get through the material because of the adrenaline rush of presenting before an audience. Avoid this by:
- Speaking deliberately and pausing at the right moments.
- Pacing yourself when explaining a particularly important or complex point.