Presentations

Preparing presentations

Learn, practice, rehearse

A strong presentation consists of thorough content and a convincing performance.

Remember:

The content of your presentation is not a script. Your slides and your note-cards are prompts to remind you of what you want to say.

 Have a look at this very short clip. Notice how Una only glances briefly at her notes and continues talking:

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Preperation for delivering a presentation might follow the stages below.

Learn:

  • Do your research and background reading well.
  • Think through the structure and content with great care.
  • Make sure you know and understand what your group members are going to talk about.
  • write out what you want to say in full and begin to memorise it – put away this script when you go to the next step.
  • put your presentation slides in short, bullet point form.
  • Study your slides and work through in your mind what you will say about each one.

Practice:

  • talk aloud – even if you are on your own
  • Practise each of your slides individually; think about how to express your ideas as clearly as you can
  • practise referring to and explaining any supporting images or graphs you might have
  • Practise your transitions – what will you say when you move from one slide to another?
  • give a concise and clear introduction and summary
  • Record yourself – either just your voice or video record the whole presentation;
  • Analyse your recording and check where you are unclear or where you can make changes and improvements.

Rehearse:

  • go through the whole presentation without stopping – if you find problems, try to continue despite them.
  • time yourself.
  • If you are giving a group presentation, make sure you are all rehearsing together.
  • Ask your audience to think of questions to ask you – it is very helpful to practise answering spontaneous questions.
  • ask the people watching what they thought of the presentation – did they notice any mistakes or any way that you could improve it?
  • After you have finished, reflect on how well you think you did – can you make any improvements?
  • Record yourself – if possible video record the whole presentation and analyse it afterwards.
  • Repeat the rehearsal until you are confident you have got it right.