General Presentation Tips

A presentation is a powerful tool to convey ideas for education and convincing people. It is not an easy task to give a presentation. It requires fundamental research, public speaking skills, organization and self-confidence. A good presenter has the ability to engage listeners from beginning to end and persuade them to take action. To develop presentation skills you need a lot of practice and knowledge. Here are some general tips and tricks for effective presentations.

The whole process of preparing a presentation can be divided into 3 parts: preparing the talk, slide construction and delivery practice.

Preparing your Talk

  1. Consider your audience when choosing the topic and style of delivery.
  2. Grab the attention of the audience with a clear statement and its importance.
  3. Undertake research of material which may relate to the topic.
  4. Create an outline and talk to your audience based on it.
  5. Divide the body of your presentation into three to five main points. Each main point should cover a different aspect of your topic and should be as distinct as possible.
  6. Structure your presentation in a logical sequence.
  7. Use the “Keep it Short and Simple” (KISS) method. Stick to the key concepts. Avoid narration of specifics and unnecessary details.
  8. Use additional material commensurate with your talk. Develop your ideas with stories, examples, vivid descriptions, statistics, etc.

Preparing Your Slides

  1. Font size should be large enough to be easily read. The use of 28 to 34 font size is recommended.
  2. Apply one universal font for the whole presentation.
  3. Use contrasting colors; light on dark, or dark on light.
  4. Describe one idea per slide.
  5. Follow the “6 x 6” rule. Use about six lines per slide and six words per line.
  6. Avoid using complete sentences. Try to use short phrases that capture the important points.
  7. Add photos, graphics and charts. Use quality pictures and large charts. The information on illustrations should be easy to read.
  8. Include video and audio when appropriate. Using video clips to show concrete examples promotes active cognitive processing, which is the natural way people learn.

Delivery Practice

  1. Time yourself. Make sure that you know the time limits and expectations, for the speaking occasion, and that you stick to them.
  2. Be enthusiastic. A person with extensive knowledge, and who is passionate about the theme, inspires the audience and draws attention.
  3. Humor is good, but be careful with it. Humor in a presentation works best when it actually drives the presentation ahead.
  4. Avoid reading your presentation. Use your notes only for reference points to keep you on track.
  5. Use body language. Keep your eyes on the audience and use natural gestures.
  6. Speak clearly and distinctly. Project your voice, appropriately, according to your talk.
  7. Make pauses to give your audience time to digest the information from each new slide.
  8. Involve your audience. Ask for questions. Always leave time for a few questions at the end of the talk.

Avoiding Common Presentation Mistakes

  • Don’t memorize all of your presentation. Try to remember the information by key points.
  • Don’t arrange slides in such a way that they are difficult to read and understand.
  • Don’t speak quickly. Give the audience time to understand the previous message.
  • Don’t talk to the screen. Keep eye contact with your audience.
  • Don’t just read from your notes. They are needed only for key points.
  • Don’t read the slides aloud. The audience can read it themselves.
  • Don’t start your presentation with an apology.

In conclusion, to give effective presentations where the audience gains valuable information in a dynamic way, make sure to prepare well in advance, incorporate appropriate design principles, facilitate sharing of experiences, increase interaction and creative problem solving within the session, and promote a welcoming and nonjudgmental learning environment.