Learn, practice, rehearse
A strong presentation consists of thorough content and a convincing performance.
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:
Preperation for delivering a presentation might follow the stages below.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.