Skip to Main Content

Help to boost your grades

What makes an effective presentation?

A good introduction 
A good conclusion 
Clear outcomes 
Appropriate material 
Well-organised material 
Clear, logical progression 
Good supporting information – data, examples, illustrations 
Retention of interest 
Appropriate use of visual aids/handouts 
Good rapport with audience 
Appropriate use of language 
Good voice control

Initial Preparation

Before planning your presentation, consider: 
Your remit 
Your objectives 
Your venue
Your audience  
The design and tone of your presentation will be affected by: 
Your remit 
How much time have you been allotted? 
How much can you get across in that time? 
Have any content guidelines been set?  (e.g. title, fixed number slides )
Is a common format/style required? 
Your objectives 
What do you want your audience to take away from the presentation? 
Is your aim to explain, inform, persuade, debate or entertain?
Your venue 
Room size, layout, seating arrangements 
Availability of audio visual equipment 
Lighting, temperature, general comfort level 
Your audience 
Who are they? What are their jobs/positions? 
Why are they there? Are they there voluntarily or under pressure? 
What is their likely attention span? 
What do they already know about the topic? 
How can you link new information to what they know? 
Is their response likely to be positive or negative? 
Will you need to win them over to a particular viewpoint? 
Will anyone else be speaking for or against? 
What level will you need to gear your information to? 
You may need to avoid technical jargon and explain abstract concepts with clear, practical examples. 

Planning the presentation

Choose the main points (3 max. in a 10 minute presentation) 
These should reflect your objectives and take account of your audience’s needs. 
Arrange main points in a logical, structured way which is relevant to the subject: 
e.g. chronological, cause/effect, problem/solution.
Choose supporting information to: 
add clarity - explain complex terms through concrete examples, illustrations; remind audience of supporting themes
add authority - quote experts; make connections with other people’s work; offer evidence from research 
add colour - video clips/slides; practical examples; analogies 
Decide best way to present this information. 
Establish linking statements to show how main points fit together 
Develop your opening: 
introduce yourself 
capture the audience’s interest, establish a relationship 
say what you will be talking about and how 
say what you hope to achieve 
say what you expect of the audience – to listen, take notes, ask questions (during, after?) 
inspire confidence
Develop your ending: 

review the subject area 
summarise the main points and the process 
draw the points to a conclusion/judgement 
leave a lasting impression 
Does your presentation meet your objectives? 
Is it logically structured? 
Is it targeted at the right level? 
Is it too long/short? 
Prepare notes 
linear notes or index cards? - and keep in right order 
note main headings and key words as prompts 
smile, be welcoming 
check comfort levels 
look for non-verbal signs of confusion/boredom 
address audience directly, don’t read from notes 
check understanding 
invite questions 
show confidence through posture and body language 
maintain eye contact 
use controlled gestures to welcome, include, emphasise, indicate ending 

Using appropriate language

use language that involves you with the audience, e.g. use “we”, and ask rhetorical questions. 
express ideas clearly: 
avoid jargon, cliché 
summarise regularly 
vary sentence length, openers, types (statement, command, question, exclamation) 
avoid messy, rambling endings or fillers 
use verbal signposts to direct listening 
Voice control 
Use your voice to maintain interest, convey energy and enthusiasm: 
volume – loud enough for audience to hear, but vary for effect 
pace – speak slowly and clearly, use pauses to indicate change of direction or to emphasise a point 
pitch – e.g. raise for questions 

Practical tips

Practice makes perfect! Rehearse your presentation. 
Be familiar with your material and equipment 
Get a good night’s sleep 
Arrive early to check layout, equipment etc. 
Have a warm drink beforehand to relax throat and have a drink of water to hand 
Take a few deep breaths before starting 
Pause between sections, after questions, to allow comfortable breathing patterns 
Tips for using slides in Presentations 
Not too much information on a page 
Type rather than hand write: 
use a clear font (e.g. Arial, Comic Sans MS); 
minimum font size 18; 
do not mix fonts; 
not too many block capitals 
use bold to highlight rather than italics or underlining