As you’ve all probably noticed, I haven’t written any posts the last couple of days. I’ve been getting Louis CK’d by school work, which mostly has been consisting of final papers and presentations. The final papers are child’s play to me, and not to brag, but I wrote a ten page paper and four, five page papers within 5 hours yesterday. So shoutout to everyone who said that writing thousand word blogs everyday would never pay off. On the other hand, class presentations don’t come as naturally. Everyone knows I thrive in the shadows and in darkness, and have never been one who’s comfortable in the spotlight, despite my life being one big Broadway play.
With that said, I have been working on my presentation skills. As of recently, I’ve been cultivating some tips and tricks that have helped me crush the PowerPoint game, and turn my end of semester presentations into borderline motivational speeches. Here are a couple of my tricks:
Don’t look at the slides before you present
Nothing says “preparation” like looking at the PowerPoint for the first time when you’re actually presenting. I did this yesterday, and boy was it exhilarating. Nothing more thrilling than changing the slides, and having absolutely no clue what comes next. It gives the presentation a bit of a “choose your own adventure” type vibe.
Keep your fly down
Huge alpha male move right here. Everyone knows that sex sells, and that goes double for in-class presentations. I like to present with my fly down, because it usually takes attention away from the fact that I have no clue what I’m talking about, and that I’m making up everything on the fly (didn’t even mean to make that a pun but greatness just continues to find me).
Answer every question with a question
There’s nothing worse than when people in the class asks thoughtful questions after my presentation. Where do you get off? I’ve been writing school shooter jokes during every lecture the entire semester, you think I can give an accurate prediction of what Apple plans to do with their excess cash? (If anyone actually knows the answer to that please let me know). That’s why whenever anyone asks me a question that I don’t have an answer to (every question), I just like to answer it back with another question. Boom, I just flipped you on your own head.
After you ask if there are any questions, refuse to call on the kid who always asks hard questions.
There’s always the one kid who just sits in the front row, watching your presentation with a smug look on his face, waiting with that question in his back pocket that he knows you don’t have the answer to, and only asks it to show everyone that he’s the only one in the class who actually does the out of class reading assignment. He’s always the first person to raise a hand to ask a question, and my favorite thing to do is refuse to call on him for a question. Most kids wouldn’t care that I don’t call on them, but you know deep down it kills this kid. I always make eye contact with him, and just keep going to someone else in the class. I did that yesterday to the resident hardass in my class, and him going home and killing himself after class is honestly not out of the discussion. Like if he doesn’t show up to the next class, I’ll actually get worried.
Make and hold eye contact with one single person the entire time
This just comes down to pure intimation. This is public speaking 101. I’ve never actually taken a public speaking class, but I imagine this is the first thing you learn. I like to pick out someone in the class, and exclusively stare at him or her for the duration of the presentation. It’s definitely the easiest way to make that person, as well as the rest of the class and the professor, incredibly uncomfortable, hence once again, taking attention away from me having no clue what the class is even about.
Don’t dress up
If you actually dress up for a class presentation, I hate you. Why the fuck are you wearing a suit? You know this isn’t real, right? You’re not actually pitching to short Amazon. There are 15 people in the class, and maybe 4 are actually paying attention, the rest are surfing the internet. I made my presentation yesterday in a Miller Highlife shirt I slept in the night before, the same pair of jeans I wore all weekend, and shoes that are 50% stale alcohol at this point. Because guess what? No one cared that I showed up dressed as an alcoholic father. I don’t even think the professor knows my name.
If there’s a laser pointer available, overuse it as much as you can
There’s nothing better than when there’s a laser pointer in the classroom you’re presenting in. If there’s a laser pointer, make sure to call dibs early on being the group member who gets to use it, and when you do use it, use the shit out of it. Point at everything. Point at every word, picture, and person in the room. You give me a laser pointer, and all of a sudden my corporate strategy presentation turns into the Fantasia show at Disney World. There’s a kid in the back having a seizure and shit. I don’t care. This is my 10 minutes. Save your applause for the end.