In the early days of the pandemic, at-home PowerPoint Zoom parties were all the rage. The idea was simple: Each attendee creates a PowerPoint on something they want to rant about, then presents it to the group. As in-person gatherings slowly returned, TikTok continued to popularize the trend, as friend groups took videos of their own PowerPoint parties. There are no hard-set rules on what topics to cover, so people can get very creative with their presentations.
While there are plenty of articles out there offering ideas for prompts or tips on hosting PowerPoint parties, there are very few out there delineating just how to pull off a presentation with pizzazz. I’d like to offer some tips and tricks, based on a real presentation I gave at my own Discord party.
Have a clear, central thesis
No one wants to listen to you ramble about something that you aren’t passionate about! The first thing to do after being invited to a PowerPoint presentation party is to pick a topic that really matters to you. For instance, in the below example, I made a whole PowerPoint based on the fictional men I am in love with, a subject on which I could absolutely talk about at length.
You’ll want to make sure to elaborate on your title in a further slide. This is also a good chance to start really showing your expertise. In my case, this meant delineating some parameters and illustrating the taxonomy of fictional men I am attracted to.
Reiterate your main point in a simple form
Think of this as the last sentence of your intro paragraph in a paper you turn in for school. This is what you want in people’s minds when you continue on with the presentation. Ideally, keep it punchy and short, and if you can make it sound like a meme, then it’s more likely to stick in people’s facts after the example.
Provide examples to support your argument
Each slide should bolster your central thesis. Some people may opt for a narrow scope, which is completely valid. I like to cast my net wide in order to show just how all-encompassing my theory is. In this particular presentation, I used Jeff Winger from Community, Han Solo from Star Wars, Aaron Hotchner from Criminal Minds, and Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening to illustrate my taxonomy. A wide gamut of entertainment! (Also, this way it wasn’t just anime boys — that’s a separate article).
Use your bullet points as a starting point, not the whole spiel
The slides themselves should merely be a tool to aid your presentation. Use them wisely. I find it most effective to put something bold and eye-catching as a bullet point to grab attention and then expand on that in your speech. When I say, “Every time he says something stupid, I want to rail him” on a slide about Shigure Sohma from Fruits Basket, I use that simple sentence as a launching point to discuss his complicated motives and compelling allegiances throughout the anime.
Embrace visual aids
A picture is worth a thousand words and therefore, eight pictures of handsome men is equal to a very long article or short story! In this slide about Roy Mustang and Howl Pendragon, I mostly wanted to illustrate different moments where they fulfill the two seemingly contrasting categories of fictional men I have described. No bullet points are needed, because I can poetically wax on about how both these men use a playboy persona to cover up a seething rage and mission that might see them going too far.
Finally … have no shame
The worst thing you can do in front of an audience is be forgettable. Whether you totally ace your presentation with suave charisma or whether you laugh through the entire time — as long as you make a splash, you’ve won. Embrace whatever weird topic you’ve chosen. Own it. You too could be writing about it for a website one day.