10 Presentation Tips to Make Judges Go Wow! (For Pri - Sec Competitions)

10 Presentation Tips to Make Judges Go Wow! (For Pri - Sec Competitions)

The Importance of Presentation Experiences

Under-16 Robotics competitions are more than just programming quests where students battle each other on the playing field.

The whole competition experience also aims to build a child's confidence in expressing their thought processes, solutions and engage in critical thinking with respect to the robot mission and competition challenges.

 

Build a child's confidence in expressing their thought processes, solutions and engage in critical thinking...

 

It's no wonder why presentations are judged seriously and given points to help differentiate between the well-rounded robotics students from their peers.

 

Stand out to Score More Points!

Robotics competition usually require teams to present their ideas and explain their working process. Most teams put together presentation slides and have the members take turns to present the content they have agreed on.

Thing is, the judges on the panel sit through around 10 -20 team presentations in a few days and things can get repetitive and mundane quickly.

Keeping your presentations safe and easy may be what is holding your team back from scoring well!

You need something memorable for them to award you bonus points.

Winning teams, however, take it one step further and make the presentation exciting and very easy to follow!

Here are some presentation tips for teams that leaves a lasting impression on the judges...


1. Get into relevant costumes and use props

 

By dressing up in a costume that is aligned with the presentation topic or concepts, judges are more likely to perk up and listen to what you have to say.

It can also show how creative your team is, which may help you clinch a Values-based or Creativity-based award.

Check out these students that came dressed for the past years' FIRST LEGO League events!


FIRST LEGO League Space Explorers

These team looks super prepared for space exploration!

 

FIRST LEGO League Singapore Astronaut Students

This team definitely won best dressed for the space themed challenge for that year!

 

Some teams come all dressed up for their presentation but if you are on a tight budget, you can always put in all your effort and resources into designing an exciting costume for 1 team member to wear (almost like a mascot of sorts).

FLL Team Dressed as Transformer Car

A team that dressed their team member as a Red Transformer Car

 

FLL Team dressed as a smart toilet bowl

Someone even came dressed as a smart toilet bowl!

 

Here's also an example of what a team from FIRST LEGO League UK did for their presentation. 

 

2. Document your team's processes through photos and images as much as possible

 

There's a saying that goes "Show, Don't Tell" and it is the best presentation hack there is out there!

Many presentation content requirements for student-based competitions can be easily represented visually.

Here are some examples of what you can show with photos/videos/GIFs rather than in text on your slides:

a. Solutions You Tried But Didn't Work Out Initially - Judges love seeing your trials and errors (Max of 2 failed solutions is good enough)

b. Team Delegation - Show each member completing their task

c. Robot Mission Highlights - the best 3-5 secs of different missions being completed (you can fast-forward your original videos to save more time)

d. Your prototype solution being used by peers - If you have a physical prototype, take a photo/video of your friends using it and add that into your slides

e. Interesting Code - If you used an innovative program to fix an issue, show the judges that special piece of code!

 

3. Creating simple prototypes using craft materials/app development platforms

 

While most teams will resort to explaining their solutions to the theme challenges, some teams have gone the extra mile by bringing their ideas to life!

We have had teams bring "smart watch" prototypes, simulated apps and even large robots!

 FIRST LEGO League Singapore Team Brought Animal Prototype

This team brought an animal robot as part of their prop and project prototype!

 

FIRST LEGO League Singapore R2D2 Prototype

Advanced teams have even created life-sized robots that are functional!

 

Your prototype just needs to SHOW how it works, not that it actually does. However, a working prototype will definitely get you more brownie points.

 

Don't worry, judges are not looking for perfect solutions! More importantly, the effort is what counts.

 

 

4. Demo Sessions

 

Having a prototype is one thing but some teams take it up a notch by showing judges how their solutions work.



The Recorded Demo with Real Users

Some teams may decide to conduct the demonstrations for other students or relevant users, record it and stitch it into a short video. Bonus points for teams that collect feedback and show how they have further improved the design since the past demos.

 

The Live Demo

There are teams with tangible solutions that are appropriate to demonstrate during the live presentation itself. Some participants try to interact with the judges and have them try the solution/product as well, almost like a Shark Tank pitch.

 

5. Make sure everyone gets a turn to present

 

In a group, not everyone may be comfortable or good at presenting. However, allowing everyone to have a turn at presenting tells more about the groups' values than anything else.

 

FIRST LEGO League Presentation

 

Allowing each and everyone to have an experience of presenting the groups' ideas and solutions helps everyone grow from it.

For those who are shy and new to presentations, then it is time for them to step out of their comfort zone.

For those who are charismatic and natural public speakers, they can help their friends improve their presentation skills.

We have had students with speech impediments that have presented and judges are very understanding adults who can see when students are sincere.

 

6. Get creative with your presentation format

 

Presentation slides are not the only way to present your ideas. You can spice things up by trying different platforms.

Here are some ways you can :

a. Presenting using large physical presentation boards

FIRST LEGO League Team Presenting Creatively using Boards

b. Acting/Drama/Dance

FIRST LEGO League Singapore Team Acting Presentation

c. Video Explanations (Drawings that tie in with the script, for example)

 

It really depends on the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Whatever you do, be creative about it! 

 

7. Smile and use your happy voice!

 

The best group presentations have the most confident presentations, even if they are not the best in terms of raw presentation skills.

 

The trick to sounding less nervous is to sound and look happy (by smiling) while you are presenting.

 

As students, you are not expected to be great at public speaking. Judges won't be too critical of your presentation skills but they do love confident(-looking) students.

You'd be surprised by how many students start looking visibly stressed and lost when it is their turn to present.

Don't worry about messing up, smile and go with your instincts!

 

8. Use an interesting virtual background (for online presentations)

 

For the past 2 seasons in 2020 and 2021, competitions have had to go fully virtual and presentations have had to take place online.

A few teams have used the virtual background to their advantage.

Teams can use the virtual background as a backdrop for demonstrations or performances.

Alternatively, your team can simply decorate the background with your team's colours and design elements. Either way, having a unique background makes the Zoom sessions slightly less bland.

 

9. Help each other out when mistakes happen

 

With the new format of presentation being enforced for safety reasons, not many students are used to having to present WELL virtually. On top of that, technical problems may happen when you least expect it.

Team members are bound to make mistakes here and there.

Remember to always be courteous to each other and demonstrate sportsmanship whenever possible.

If your team member makes a mistake, offer help or try to cover their tracks as well as you can.

Judges can tell when team members are not forgiving of each others' weaknesses (scolding, eye-rolling etc.) and it reflects poorly on the team's teamwork.

Protip: If things don't go as planned, just move along and maybe even laugh it off and ask for permission to restart if there is enough time

 

10. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

 

This cannot be said enough. Always practise your scripts/pointers well and  never skip practice as a group (even if you are the best speaker in your group).

Rehearsing is not just about memorising your scripts though. 

The trick is to practise it well enough that you understand and instinctively know what to say next, such that you sound natural saying it.

Watch the video down below if you need some pointers! (It's not just for adults!)

 

 

You should also rehearse the flow of the presentation and any performative elements of your presentation.

Be aware of any technical errors that may happen on the day of the presentation.

Protip: Always have your important presentation materials saved on 4 different platforms; your intended laptop, your backup laptop, an online cloud drive, a thumbdrive.


We've had teams scramble to start their slides due to unforeseen technical issues on the day of the presentation. Come well-prepared!

 

_________________

 

Now, we have some to the end of the list of presentation tips to make robotics competition judges love your presentations.

 

Summary List:

1. Get into relevant costumes and use props

2. Document your team's processes through photos and images as much as possible

3. Creating simple prototypes using craft materials/app development platforms

4. Demo Sessions

5. Make sure everyone gets a turn to present

6. Get creative with your presentation format

7. Smile and use your happy voice!

8. Use an interesting virtual background (for online presentations)

9. Help each other out when mistakes happen

10. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!


Were there any tips we left out? Drop us an email at learn@ducklearning.com.

We will be more than happy to add on to the list.