Doing a Great Presentation

Doing a Great Presentation

Who needs to give presentations?

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Leaders in Organisations
  • Employees
  • Salespersons
  • Scientist
  • Engineers


Why do we present?

  • Communicate ideas / information from the source to the recipient – INFORM
  • Make the audience see things as you (the speaker) see things or how you want them to see things – PERSUADE

Common mistakes
(or 10 ways to ruin your presentation!)

  • Cram your slides with numerous text bullet points and multiple fonts.
  • Take a really long time to explain what your talk is about.
  • Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its glorious achievements.
  • Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are.
  • Speak slowly and dramatically. Why talk when you can orate?
  • Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
  • Refer to your book / notes repeatedly. Even better, quote yourself from it!
  • Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory.
  • Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running.
  • Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.


  • Prepare
  • Structure your presentation
  • Use Media to illustrate
  • Body language – Voice
  • Connect with audience
  • Rehearsal

Prepare, prepare, PREPARE!

  • Know your subject!
  • Research all avenues / know your material
  • Draft first (treat it as if it is your friend)
  • Know your scope, know your audience
  • Map out your thoughts before even the first slide is done
  • Go early on the day (if able)
  • Check the room beforehand (if able)
  • Don’t get snagged on Audio Visual equipment pitfalls (cables, connectors, supplies, etc.)
    • Have a soft copy as a backup of your talk and supplementary materials, in a thumb drive.
    • Print your talk – for additional backup!

Know Your Audience

Find out as much as you can about your audience BEFORE you present to them.

  • Who are they?
  • Why are you standing before them?
  • What do they want / expect?
  • What do they need?
  • If questioning, what are they asking?

Remember: the talk is about THEM… not about You!

Structure your Presentation

Structuring: – beginning – middle – end
– visual / verbal indications of sequence of points

Weaving: linking points to experience/needs of audience, show benefits, link to other points

Structure your Presentation

  • Adding support: supporting points, features, advantages, visual illustrations, examples
  • Put Yourself into it: stating importance, use humour, ask questions if able, voice, body

Use Media

  • Text (shape, size, colour, positioning, etc.)
  • Pictures (+ jokes) Animations
  • Videos

Creating Your Slides
Golden Rule of Slides Creation – there is none! But there are certain things to avoid:

  • Too much text / text too small
  • Giving them all the info at once
  • Giving out your slides before you start???
  • Using too many slides
  • Reading the slides
  • Too flashy
  • Too bland

Unspoken Signals

  • Clothing / way of dressing
  • Body stance and facing
  • Eye contact
  • Hands – Presentation Strike Zone
  • Movement about the room
  • Fiddling with props / watch checking
  • Breathing!

Let Them Hear YOU – the Confident YOU (Projecting Yourself)

  • Allow audience to learn your accent
  • Volume / Tone
  • Pace (can vary it) / Pauses
  • Choice of Vocabulary
  • Humour / Jokes

Fielding questions – Answer me this… (1/2)

  • Engage the questioner: listen-pause-credit
  • Repeat back / verify what you heard
  • Understand what the questioner wants / needs (What is their intent?)
  • Thank for an interesting question
  • THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK (5 second rule)
  • Be clear / speak slowly
  • Watch your reactions (facial expressions / body language)
  • Avoid side tangents / private conversations
  • Admit when you don’t know the answer / DON’T FAKE IT
  • Make yourself available at the end of the talk
  • Bridge by asking question back


For: timekeeping, body language, voice, pace, logical order, etc.

  • Visit venue
  • Ask friends’ feedback on delivery and content
  • Time management
  • Visual aids, ppt, etc.
  • Other equipment?
  • Reflect

Killer Presentations (in 5 easy steps)

  • Frame Your Story
  • Plan Your Delivery
  • Develop Stage Presence
  • Plan the Multimedia
  • Putting It Together

Don’t worry!
Nobody can see how you feel!

Pretend to be confident (even if you’re not!).

Everybody feels nervous
– Nobody can see how you feel – project confidence (even if you’re not!)

  • Gain inner control – find few mins of quietness
  • Breathe slowly and deeply
  • Use nervous tension as a generator for force and dynamism
  • Smile
  • No one is out to get you!

Just before … final thoughts

You prepared as much as possible…
BUT something unpredictable happens! Go with the flow. Not everything will go according to your plan.
Take a deep breath and improvise.

Some useful references

Steve Jobs Answers Tough Questions

Great slides

10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert

Giving great talks

The Top 5 TEDTalks on how to give a great TED talk

Present like Steve Jobs

Body Language (Amy Cuddy)