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Presentations

Home > Handy Tips > Presentations

Having to give presentations is a common component of a degree course. Sometimes, this is a non-assessed exercise in front of just a few people, or it can be an assessed presentation in front a whole lecture theatre. Don’t panic though!

For more advice, see also presentation skills and the free audio download on presentation skills.

Six important things to remember when you are giving a presentation

1. Introduce yourself by name.

2. Bring back up visual aids in case your PowerPoint presentation fails.

3. Slow down when you are speaking.

4. Make eye contact with the audience.

5. Smile.

6. Ask for questions from the audience at the conclusion of the presentation.


Group presentations

Do:
1. Appoint a group co-ordinator and plan a timetable together.

2. Choose your subject together, and then support one another throughout the work.

3. Narrow your subject down to a manageable size.

4. Decide who is to speak, and allocate topic and time to each speaker.

5. Rehearse together and get the timing right.

6. Organise how you are going to answer questions between you.

Don't:
1. Allow a strong personality to make all the decisions.

2. Allow any individual to opt out of responsibility to the group.

3. Choose a topic which is too complex for the time available.

4. Forget to introduce everyone at the start of the presentation.

5. Make recommendations which are unrealistic, technically or financially.

6. Over-run the time you've been allocated.

7. Guess at an answer you don't know.

For more advice, see working with others.

Using PowerPoint

Do:
1. Check that you have booked all the equipment you need well before your talk.

2. Plan what you want the audience to see and don't crowd the screen.

3. Use an appropriate font such as Arial, at least 22 point in size.

4. Use a good colour contrast for background and image, and project it to check.

5. Give handouts with details, which wouldn't be clear on the screen.

6. Rehearse with all your visual material and the equipment you will be using.

7. Always have backup in case of disaster.

Don't:
1. Show paragraphs or long sentences on the screen.

2. Use fussy and distracting backgrounds.

3. Overdo punctuation: very little is needed in a visual aid.

4. Use over-complicated diagrams, which the audience won't be able to see clearly.

5. Use unnecessary and distracting movement on the screen.

6. Watch the computer screen instead of the audience.

7. Assume that you can use the equipment without trying it out.

Presentation Skills for StudentsThis content has been written by Joan van Emden and Lucinda Becker, authors of Presentation Skills for Students.