Advice for Giving Good Presentations
During the presentation:
- Prepare backups and a backup plan if your technology fails.
- Load your PowerPoint file (and other files you need) ahead of time (so
the audience doesn't have to watch you load files and do other
- Test the technology ahead of time (way ahead of time - so that you
have enough time to change things if it doesn't work).
- Dress in a way that allows people to take you seriously.
- Empty your pockets before presenting (no change rattling).
- Practice your timing. If you end early, no one complains. Ending
late can cause your audience to tune out.
- When trying to determine how much material you can talk about in a
limited time period, draw
distinctions between what the audience must know, should know, and could
- Know your audience! Speak at a level they will understand.
- Consider creative ways to present the material.
- Don't eat right before your presentation (so you don't, ah, burp).
- When planning a team presentation:
- Make sure you establish ahead of time who is doing what part.
- Check that all parts of the presentation are tied together.
- Know your PAL:
- P: purpose (to inform? .. to persuade? .. to entertain?)
- A: audience (their demographics, attitudes, hot buttons, etc.)
- L: logistics (time allotment, room arrangements, etc.)
- Think ahead about all the questions that might be asked.
- Practice! Practice! Practice!
- Use a posture that exhibits confidence.
- Maintain appropriate eye contact with your audience.
- In the beginning of your presentation, briefly introduce your
topic and provide a brief overview of what you will say. At the end,
give a brief summary of your main points.
- Tell the audience how you want to handle questions.
- Have your first line memorized cold so you may begin smoothly.
- If you are nervous:
- Channel the adrenaline into enthusiasm.
- You can control the physical symptoms by breathing from the diaphragm.
- Pace the presentation. Don't make it so slow that you bore people or
too fast that people cannot understand you.
- Be enthusiastic (at an appropriate level). Enthusiasm is contagious,
but if you look bored, your audience will be too.
- Tell the audience how long you'll speak.
- Don't cram too much information in a short period of time.
- Use short pauses to avoid umms and ahhs.
- Always be aware of the time. Keep a watch near you. Practice your
presentation ahead of time so that you are certain it stays in the time
- End strongly...Don't sigh and say "that's about it."
- When answering questions:
- Treat all questions and questioners with respect.
- Paraphrase the question before answering it.
- Look at the whole audience when answering because others probably had
the same question.
- If you have handouts, consider distributing them at the end
(otherwise, attendees will read your handout rather than listen to you).
- Your slides should include the following:
- cover slide with title of presentation and presenter(s) names
- outline of your presentation
- references (at end)
- Don't simply read slides to the audience.
- Use no more than 5 bullets per page (fewer the better).
- Use no more than 2 lines of text per bullet (again, the less the
- Choose a font that's large enough to read easily.
- Choose background colors that are easily readable.
- Consider the following: Does your presentation have credibility?
Would the audience be willing to pay you for your expertise?