How to Give a Good Presentation

Stressed about presenting in public? You're not alone!!

Here are some simple tips to help make sure your presentation goes smoothly.

Practice your presentation

  • Work on what you're going to say and how you're going to say it.
  • Practicing in front of family and friends who aren't familiar with your topic will help you make sure your explanations are clear. Asking for their feedback will also improve your delivery.
  • Remember to time yourself during practice to make sure you use your allotted time.
  • *Remember the 5 P's: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance*

Don't rely completely on your notes

  • There's nothing more boring that watching someone read a text word for word. If you're worried you'll blank without any notes, try cue-cards. Write down keywords or main ideas but not every detail.
  • If you know your material and have practiced enough, a few short reminders are all you'll need!!

Dress professionally

  • Dress appropriately to suit the occasion.
  • Care and effort in your appearance show that you care about yourself and your audience.

Have a friendly attitude

  • Say hello, introduce yourself, and smile when you greet the audience.
  • Remember that you're well prepared, you know the material and you've practiced it. So be confident, take a few deep breaths before you start, and make a conscious effort to speak slowly and clearly.

During the presentation

    • Give your audience a road map by outlining your key points at the beginning. Let them know what to expect so they can focus on the most important points throughout your talk.
    • Use concrete examples to illustrate your points.
    • If you use slides (Powerpoint/Prezi), keep them clean and simple and use them to highlight your main points. Make sure your text is legible from the back of the room, and avoid overwhelming your audience with too much text, a gaudy colour scheme, or too many images.
    • Remember that making eye contact is crucial to holding the attention of your audience. Don't look just at your notes or slides. Be sure to talk TO your audience. Try to involve everyone, not just those directly in front of you. Using appropriate body language and humor is another way to hold people's attention and interest. Asking questions and giving people a chance to participate will also help keep them interested.
    • Avoid using unnecessary jargon. Remember, if people don't understand what you're saying, they're less likely to pay attention to you.
    • Remember that silence can sometimes be just as effective as words. Strategic pauses between slides and/or points give people a chance to consider and process what you're saying.
    • Invite questions at the end of your talk. Listen carefully, answer honestly, and learn from them. Questions asking for clarification may point you to areas where your message was unclear.
    • Finally, thank everyone for their time and attention.
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This page was created by Beheshteh M. Asil and Marcelo Herrera as part of the 2014 Professional Development class.