After each group had their turn to present, we all took time to answer questions and write comments about each other's projects. My group read over our audience's responses and drew some meaningful conclusions about making a memorable and impactful presentation. I think these points are worth sharing, or at least writing down somewhere for future personal use, so I figured this place is as good as any.
The first step to making an impactful presentation is having something worth presenting- something for your audience to learn and use in the future. These were two (sometimes tough) questions we had to answer about each other's presentations: What did you learn? How will you use this information in the future? If your audience can't answer those two questions, why did you bother presenting? Not trying to be harsh, but seriously. Give your classmates a reason to sit up and really pay attention.
The next part to this, making your presentation memorable, will help with the paying attention part. Our class had quite the array of presentation techniques- some much more effective than others. I remembered many groups by the class engaging activities they included at the end of their presentation. Some had review questions but the best were the get-out-of-your-plastic-seat activities. Aside from my own, the best activity (and most memorable) was dressing up a few brave classmates as Frankenstein's creature to the best of our abilities. It was fun for the class and helped emphasize the presentation's point.
Another stark difference between presenters were those who stood in front of the class and gave a big ole speech and those who didn't. Sure, those who recited speeches probably did their research and understood what they were talking about but these presentations struggled to engage their audience. Their presentation had information but little was remembered afterwards. In my opinion, the better presentations included a skit, costumes, a visual aid, or, my favorite, a funny video. Not a video off the Internet, but a homemade video where the students in the back of the class branch out of their comfort zones in front of the camera and let their inner Hollywood shine. Our humor-attempting video was what most remembered the best about our presentation. But the other most remembered aspect of our project came at a bit of a shock.