Thursday, July 17, 2008

Presentation skills

I know I go on about this a bit but setting the correct expectation is half the battle in achieving good results. Presenting work well can really improve what a teacher thinks of a student. This stands to reason, usually a student that can produce neat and concise work is a high performing student. Teachers usually gravitate to students that produce quality work.

Today, computers do the hard work for students. It doesn't take much work to google a nice template, learn how to use it, get some colours from a colour wheel and present your findings. It takes very little more time to do this - a bit more effort to print it off in the library in colour and viola an B turns into an A (or at least probability of the teacher taking more interest in the student rises). Fair - absolutely not.. the way the world works.. absolutely.

So here's some pointers:

  • Public companies spend millions on colour schemes and reports. Go download a corporate report from a large company such as PwC, BHP, Woodside. Have a look at how they are laid out and where colour is used. Make up a template in Word that looks something like it - it'll take about an hour.
  • Use a font or at most two. Make sure it's large enough to read and not all squirly.
  • Make sure it has a cover page.
  • Bind it or staple it in the top left hand corner (angle the staple at 45°).
  • Order the information so that it is easy to mark. It should follow a logical progression.
  • Check your spelling and get someone else to read it for you.
  • Have it ready two days before it is due. The last 10% of an assignment is the hardest to get and will need you to have time to think about your answer. Planning to finish the night before is not the path to an A. Teachers are more willing to have a look at something a few days before and comment on it than on the day it's due.
  • Do a bit, have a think, do a bit more. Spread it out.
  • Work collaboratively - don't copy - but discuss your ideas with those around you. Choose your friends carefully.

Employers want you to have well developed communication skills, now is the time to develop them.

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