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Information & Advice

...for Students

...for Staff

...on Assistive Technology

How to give an effective presentation

Introduction

Students are often asked to give presentations at university (either individually or as part of a group). This is a useful process because presentations

Often presentations are relatively short (between 5-15 minutes), therefore it is important to:

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Preparation for the presentation

Prepare materials in the same way as you would prepare for an essay (more information).

In summary:

 Some other points to consider for preparation of the presentation:

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Mindmapping

You may wish to try using a mindmap for planning your work. You could also include a mindmap to present as an initial overview for your audience to show the key points you are going to raise.

 

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Prompts and visual resources

Think carefully about what will help to prompt you. Some examples are included below:

Prompts

Think carefully about the type of prompt you use. You do not want to ‘read out’ every word from a page or screen. It is important to be familiar with your topic beforehand, which will both give you confidence, and also mean that you are able to convey the information effectively without reading. Additionally, if you struggle with reading, you may knock your confidence in a presentation by putting pressure on yourself to read detailed information. Below are listed some suggestions for prompts:

Index cards

This is useful if you know a topic well, but just want a few handheld prompts – you could use bullet points on a series of index cards. It is wise to number the cards in case they are dropped or become jumbled up

 

Overhead transparencies

You may wish to use these to provide a structure or overview of the topic and to present them to the group. You could include some simple key points and work through them in order. It is advisable to number them and to be clear about:

It is often possible to print onto certain types of overhead transparency (acetate). There are several types of acetate available for:

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Powerpoint

You may wish to structure your talk to provide a step-by-step summary of each of your key points in Powerpoint. It also offers the facility to produce handouts taken directly from the slides you create. If you use Powerpoint, it is advisable to:

Visual/ supplementary aids

You may wish to present visual aids to the group, for example graphs, charts, images, a few key quotes or an overview of what you hope to cover. Think carefully about how you will present these. If you are using Powerpoint or overhead projector as a prompt, you can incorporate these into that medium. Other supplementary aids that you may wish to consider are:

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Overcoming nerves

Some people find giving a presentation a nerve wracking experience. Careful preparation and practice can help alleviate nerves. Some tips include:

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Giving the talk

Consider how you will handle the following beforehand:

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Giving the talk - things to remember on the day

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Presentation rehearsal checklist

For use by rehearsal observer, or if you are reviewing yourself on video.

 

Introduction

Structure

Content

Conclusion

Body language and presentation

Visual aids and resources

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Reviewing your presentation

At the end of your presentation, it is often tempting to forget about it and ‘put it all behind you’, but some reflection is advisable, in order for it to act as a learning experience.

Some ideas for review and reflection include the following steps:

Immediately afterwards

Shortly afterwards

Room for improvement?

Consider listing the areas where you need to improve and store it somewhere safe for next time. Do you need more practice? Do you need to work on relaxation techniques? Do you need to plan more carefully?

 

You could seek out support from Learning Development or Study Support department at your university. Look out for whether your university runs specific study sessions to support presentations.

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