Interesting Presentation Topics for Students By Tutors

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I always thought presentations to be the easiest task ever — I hated oral presentations before university, but my slides and notes still got A and A+. Now, being in touch with many students from all over the world, I found out that people often cannot figure them out. Images with watermarks, slide animations, speaker notes, PowerPoint bugs and stuff — it all creates a vortex of work, which causes students to sink.

The purpose of the presentation is to teach you how to find information, put it shortly and leave chaff aside. Technical tricks and in-depth research are useful, but not necessary for a good grade. You must make your presentation easy!

Everything begins with presentation topic — I believe it does half of all work. Today we will resolve common issues with presentations together and explore all lifehacks that nerds and I have collected.

   How to Make a Presentation Interesting and Why All Depends on Topic? Tips from Tutors

Interesting presentation is your primary task — a number of sources, design and other technical specs are of secondary importance. Tutors I know always focus on it particularly, so if you managed to make your presentation attractive, you would have B for granted.

“Ok, nerd, — you say. — Making presentation interesting is not easy!” In fact, it is easy, if you follow my “Audience Interest” checklist.

  • Topic is critical for the audience. Critical means “urgent” — the risk of being hit by an autonomous car in the U.S. is more essential that the danger of being invaded by Martians.
  • Topic is relevant to the audience. In cities with a significant number of public transport users like Washington or London, autonomous cars threats for pedestrians are the most interesting. In towns of car owners like Austin or Denver, people will be more pleased to hear about the ability of automated cars to eliminate traffic jams.
  • Topic explores something previously unknown to the audience. Everyone knows that GPS satellites fly around the Earth, but the majority of people do not know that Einstein made them possible (good tip for the topic!).
  • Title of slide goes before main contents, images go before your talk or show text. Anticipation and imagination of the audience help to make even the most generic presentation interesting.

  • Only the coolest facts are used. In presentations, your time is limited, so it is an excellent opportunity to avoid being boring. For instance, if you have found out that Shakespeare used drugs and want to present evidence, you do not need to show his biography and bibliography.
  • The presentation talks about problems and leaves some answers up your sleeve. It will make the audience crave asking you questions — isn’t it a manifestation of interest?

You may already see the proof for my words. Presentation topics determine the clear majority of success factors. The only thing remaining is to master your body and mind, two areas you need use in an oral presentation.

   How not to Be Nervous During Presentation?

I have already mentioned that I hated oral presentations. When I appeared in front of an audience — even as little as my classmates and a tutor — my hands instantly went sweaty. I thought that I looked timid and nervous, so my voice went dead-alive, I began stuttering and using junk words like “Uh,” “Ok,” “You Know” etc.

When teachers gave me a good mark and audience applauded after all that ordeal, I thought that they do it out of pity. “It is hard to be a nerd. — I used to think. — At least, my mom says that I will have a good job after graduation.”

Then, right during the first classes in the university, I learned about spotlight effect. It was a revelation from the heaven that helped me to be never nervous during presentation again!

We overestimate how much we are noticed. Stuttering, flaws in our look and mistakes in speech are 200 to 500% less visible to an audience than we used to think.

Spotlight effect is a real thing. In one study, speakers with presentations who did not know about spotlight effect assessed their nervousness as 7 out of 10, and the audience scored it 3.5 out of 10. After speakers learned about spotlight effect, they became more relaxed, and audience score decreased to zero.

Thus, you do not need to worry at all — your fear is an illusion proved by psychologists. A friend of mine, who is also a psychology professor, once said: “People are troubled with their stuff — they will be glad if you deliver an interesting presentation, but they do not care if you are nervous. When you deliver a presentation, you usually do it in front of people with same concerns. A person with the same pain in a neck will never laugh at you — or, at least, they expect you to laugh at them too!”

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   Easy Presentation Topics: Top 10 Best Ideas for Oral Speech

Now we are good to proceed with the topics that easy to present and require only a little of work. I conducted my private research to find presentations that received the highest mark while the lowest amount of effort was put. Here is the top ten you do not want to miss:

  1. Environmental Pollution: Effects and Remedies. Quite self-explanatory but never-ending topic.
  2. Elon Musk: A Hero or A Villain? Here you talk that Musk’s companies work with losses, but his projects are beneficial for the society in the long run.
  3. Why Car Autopilot Leads to Best Future? Here you talk about increased safety, faster traffic and decreased crime.
  4. Privacy on the Internet and Private Data Dangers. It all about data that Facebook and Google collect and how criminals and marketers use it.
  5. Pros and Cons of Free Healthcare: Comparison of the UK and the US. Explains benefits of free healthcare and its costs to society.
  6. School-to-Prison Pipeline: Why We Should Not Be Strict. It argues that disciplinary punishments in schools often lead to an early introduction to the criminal system and provides alternatives.
  7. Main People of Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, famous African-American singers — Wiki article has everything you need for a good start.
  8. Is Education Important to Get a Job? Decides whether skills and traits or a diploma are the most important for employment.
  9. I Have a Dream: The US of the Future. Ten slides about how you image the U.S. in 50 years. It works for other I Have a Dream: The US of the Future counties too.
  10. The Most Dangerous Animals in the World. Dinosaurs, Siberian bears, tigers, giant mushrooms — the audience is crazy about beasts.

    Unique Presentation Topics: Forging State-of-the-Art Speeches

The unique presentation for college and high school students is not a big deal. If you follow the checklist one section before, you will definitely have a unique topic. However, I often use a couple of tricks to make easy topics unique and still accessible and effortless to work with.

  • Use math. It is not difficult, indeed. For instance, in “The Most Dangerous Animals” topic, you can create a Danger Index that combines speed, mass, and strength of many animals to find the most dreadful one. Your findings will be unique and surprising.
  • Solve crucial issues. I’ve told about it, but it sometimes it is too obvious to get that essential issues are the problems that we face every day. The topic “How to Save $1,000 per Month on Sweets and Remain a Sweet Tooth” seems lame, but it will provide information that even your teacher will use. People love lifehacks.
  • Sell Success to the Audience. People want to live better, so presentations about money, power, and glory are all the madness in colleges and high school. There are billions of variations on “How to Become a Billionaire” topics, and each one is unique.
  • Look at your Environment. The place where you live is one of its kind, so are topics connected with it. Think about your dream about the future or your town and city or collect information about the most dangerous creatures in the area. You can also reveal unique barriers to the implementation of autopilot cars or create a strategy to lure Musk in your region. Even the smallest village has a lot to talk about.

Thus, unique presentation means “your own”— you should find the problem or propose a solution that you did not found on the Internet. You may see that it is much easier than it looks like.

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   Best Presentation Topics for College and School Students

However, when you have many courses or live in a big city, imagination may play wicked tricks with you — no good topic for presentation will come to the mind. Reading a guide for every high school or college major would be too long and painful, so I collected a catalog of best topics you can pick up right now.

Interesting Presentation Topics for Everyone

These themes are created with the one-size-fits-all approach — you can take them, drop into any classroom and get your deserved A or B. At the same time, they do not appear very often, so you may treat them as unique and exciting topics for presentation.

  • Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in School (College, University, Your Profession) — choose one that fits you the most. Profession variant works even for math degrees.
  • Affirmative Action in School (College, University, Your Profession): Fruits of Equality — talk about positive results of affirmative action policies.
  • Name Surname: A Role Model for All of Us — choose a famous person from your region, university or profession that reached an ultimate success and share his life and principles.
  • How to Improve Quality of Life and Work Right Now: Technology Answers — share different tools, new technologies, and applications that can make your studying, work and personal life easy.
  • Three Steps to Improvement: My Point of View — offer a positive change in your profession, school, university or law. It can relate to scandals, ethics, productivity, leisure, and whatnot.

   Presentation Topics for Engineering Students

There are many ideas that engineering students can use, especially in the professional field. You can talk about particularities of chipboard design or energy efficiency of buildings — technical stuff, you know. However, you can use exciting presentation checklist and think about critical, relevant and urgent applications of engineering. Here are ideas.

  • Re-Engineering Habitual: Top 5 Ideas to Change Routine. Think about routine things that can be made more efficient, in your point of view. Cutout strips of toilet paper, water tap construction, hand dryer technology, pavement design — we all think about this kind of things, and your presentation may be a good idea for a startup.
  • Mad Engineers: Ideas We Could Not Even Imagine. It is reversed variant of the previous topic — you will talk about startups that used technical novelties to change routine things. For instance, it can be Flow, a startup that created accessible bee combs that allow getting fresh honey with non-traditional apiary design.
  • Good Idea is Immortal Idea: Grandparents’ Technologies of Today. It is the easiest and the most exciting topic that allows you to tell about various technologies of the past that live even now. For instance, you can say about pneumatic tubes that were used for fast mailing as late as in the XIX century but exist even today even with a rise of the Internet.

   Business Related Presentation Topics

I love business studies because they allow an immense variety of original and interesting topics. Ideas are so self-explanatory so you may open your PowerPoint right away and copy-and-paste the title for the cover page.

  • Corporate Social Sustainability: How Businesses in My Region May Make Community Life Better
  • Employment Ethics: Do Humans Deserve to be Called “Resources?”
  • My Startup: Business Idea that Was Used by No One Before
  • Why Tesla’s Stock Grows Even Though It Operates with Losses? Secrets of Musk’s Success
  • Technology that Will Change Business: Artificial Intelligence
  • Ten Reasons to Start Small Business Instead of Employment in A Big Corporation
  • Business Ethics: 5 Outraging Managerial Frauds

   Social Issues Topics for Presentations

Problems and challenges of the society are the best ideas for presentation because they are critical, relevant and urgent — no one can imagine better topics! Therefore, whatever issue you choose, there will be much material to use. The only thing you should ensure that your presentation will include three milestones.

  1. Description — the statement of the issue.
  2. Reasoning — explanation of why this problem is critical.
  3. Solution — what can be done to resolve or mitigate the issue?

Wikipedia article for social issues has quite a complete list of problems to address — both by sociological type and country, so you can quickly pick one that fits you best. In my turn, I provide you with a list of topics that receive the highest scores in college and high school presentations.

  • Obesity
  • Terrorism
  • Poverty
  • Education Discrepancies
  • Student Loans
  • Abortions
  • Drug Addiction and Rehabilitation
  • Hate Crimes
  • Advertisement Ethics
  • Propaganda
  • Privacy of Digital Data
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   5 Minutes Presentation Topics — How to Put It Short and Simply

Students often ask me how to prepare and estimate a 5-minute presentation — quite a standard format for classroom activities and capstone projects. During my high school and undergraduate courses, hardly many presentations exceeded 5 minutes, except for diploma project and some advanced nerd stuff.

I was concerned with this topic for quite a long time and surveyed tutors from communication classes who often deal with student presentations. The rules are:

1) The first slide that provides a question of the presentation and introduces the audience usually takes 30 seconds.

2) Each slide takes between 40 seconds and one minute, depending on content density.

3) The last “Thank you for attention” slide takes only ten seconds to finish.

Thus, you will not be able to present more than six slides except the cover and the outro, and five slides are the best. It presents strict requirements for 5 minutes presentation topics — they should be very narrow and informative so that you could complete your speech in time.

Here is a couple of examples of topics so you would know what you should look for.

   Before You Leave: Few Words on Classroom Presentations

Now you know everything to choose the best presentation topic for you — and deal with nervousness and common pitfalls that students face. Now I want to say something as a person, not a professional nerd.

My main lifehack — never use animations for slides and elements if it is not required! The more straightforward and transparent the presentation is, the easier it is to get your idea. Tutors and employers value simplicity, so there is no need to hassle with PowerPoint. I know that it is quite time-consuming to set up everything, but it is not worth it.

By the way, what is your main problem with presentations? Drop a line in comments so that community and I could share their pain and lifehacks too 😀

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