How to have a UC Berkeley Level Presentation

One thing that I had to get better at quickly was power point presentations. I do not know what it is about power point presentations in Berkeley, but within the first semester, I had to give 3 power point presentations, which had to be 5, 15, and 30 minutes long, while all three had a mandatory set-aside for answering any questions.

Luckily, I did not have to learn how to give a presentation by myself. I had great professionals to teach me, actual professionals that did this for a living in the business world. If you were like me, the only experience you had with power points was every once in a while in high school, and nobody really knew what they were doing. But as it turns out, there is an art to the power point presentation.

The woman that taught me everything I knew about presentations was a famous newscaster(Berkeley does not mess around haha), and she had a passion for storytelling. And within her class I was able to meet such high level executives and individuals, that those interactions alone made the class amazing. However, she was also able to formulate her presentations skills into an exact science.

So here are some tips/pointers to having an amazing presentation.

The Start– The beginning of the presentation is the most important. You need to have a hook, something that will interest your audience, and gain their attention.

Either start with a question or a story that relates to your topic.  By asking a question you gain the immediate attention of the audience, and by telling an interesting story, the audience gets sucked in.
To tell an effective story, your speech should follow the formula of

  1. what
    The story
  2. so what
    Why it’s important
  3. now what
    What to do about it

And as you can see, you can easily plug in your presentation right after the story.

-The Actual Slides-

Here are some quick pointers that you should stick to religiously.

  • No more than 4-5 points per page.
  • No more than 5-6 words per point.
  • If possible, find visual representation of the point you are trying to make.

-The Speaking-

This one is the easiest but also the most time consuming.

My professor actually got this from Steve Jobs, who is also a master presenter. One thing that the Apple CEO would always do to prepare for his speaking engagements was go on the stage that he was going to present, and he would rehearse his fully prepared speech 5 times.


Now this means that you know what you are going to say, not you are finding out as you go. By limiting yourself to 5 words per line, you purposefully take out context and leave the bare material, and this gives you talking points to explain your points. The mistake that people make is when they write their points, they try to explain their point in every aspect. And so what ends up happening is that they just read from the slide, and that makes for just a very boring presentation.

First, know what you need to say for each point of every slide, and then practice the speech five times. And at least 2 of those times should be in-front of people that can give feedback.

This helps immensely with people with stage fright, and you will be much more comfortable with your group members, if you have any, as well as the setting you will be giving the presentation in.

It’s that simple,


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