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Best Practices for Students

Writing

Plan out your project milestones.
Writing everything at once is always a daunting process. It’s better to break large assignments into smaller chunks, and then address those pieces one at a time.

Begin your writing with good research.
Whenever you make a claim in business writing, you need strong data to back it up. So, make sure you do some preliminary research on your business topic. The library’s databases are always a great place to start.

Write early; revise often.
Getting started early gives you more time to think about your research and formulate your ideas, so make sure you schedule enough time to make multiple revisions. Each fresh look will strengthen your assignment and improve the clarity of your work. Don’t be afraid to move pieces around!

Format your assignment so it’s easy to read.
Using subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs makes your business document easier to read.

Put your Bottom Line on Top (BLOT).
Putting your bottom line, or most important point, on top better ensures that your readers will get your main message.

Read your papers aloud to improve clarity and flow.
When you read aloud, it’s easier to catch phrases that simply don’t sound right.

Get another perspective on your writing.
Getting another person’s perspective can help you understand if your bottom line (along with the rest of your document) is getting across clearly to your audience.

Presentations

Practice your presentations multiple times.
Rehearsals can make you more comfortable with public speaking and reduce pre-presentation jitters.

Express enthusiasm and confidence.
When you walk into a room to present, you should look happy and confident to be there (even if you’re nervous). Greet your audience with a warm hello and a smile. If you’re enthusiastic about your presentation, your audience will be, too.

Grab your audience’s attention from the beginning.
Use an interesting fact or figure or pose an intriguing question. By devoting your first moments to capturing the audience’s attention, you establish rapport and keep them engaged.  

Remember the attention curve.
People naturally pay most attention to a presentation at the beginning and the end. So always put your most persuasive pieces of information and recommendations in first few and last few slides.

Create an agenda slide.
Especially for longer presentations, consider making an agenda slide that lists each topic your team will touch on so the audience can better follow along.

Rehearse smooth transitions between slides and team members.
Although you may be working with multiple people, you want your presentation to come across fluidly. Practice handing off the clicker and the spotlight to your teammates.

Keep audiences in the loop with mini-summaries.
The old adage of “tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and then tell ‘em what you told ‘em” holds true in business presentations. Inserting brief paraphrases or mini-summaries of what’s just been said along with what’s coming up next keeps your audience focused.