How to Give a Successful Presentation

How to Give a Successful Presentation from English Plus Plus Project on Vimeo.

Practical information

Pre-preparation. Selecting the topic and materials

An essential task at the pre-preparatory stage is to ask yourself the following questions:

Start getting ready for your presentation a few weeks before you are due to speak.

Collect the materials on which you would like to base your presentation.

Make a careful selection from the collected materials.

Prepare a reliable bibliography (the author’s name, the title of the article/book, the year of its publication, the website address, when the material was retrieved, etc.).

From the material select the keywords for your presentation and do not forget to put them on the handout.


Visual aids

There are different types of visuals. The choice depends on the type of presentation and your needs.

Remember that badly prepared and/or badly used visuals can ruin your presentation!

Make sure you know in advance how to connect the equipment and what to do to have the desired slide or diagram on the screen. Sometimes, during real presentations a technician will be there to operate the equipment. In that case, make sure that he understands your signals, for example, to change a slide.

Slides and transparencies should contain the minimum information necessary to illustrate your point. Too much on a slide makes it unreadable and diverts the audience’s attention from what you say.

A slide is said to be readable if it contains no more than ten words in 18pt Times Roman font or bigger and which can be read without a projector from a distance of two meters. Never use pages photocopied from books or other materials as visuals. They are not adapted for such use, not to mention the fact that they do not prove your professionalism.

For transparencies, use multiple colours, but be careful with orange and yellow - they do not come out well on the screen. On slides, the text is often in yellow or white on a blue background. Avoid adding/drawing information on a transparency. While speaking, avoid indicating with your finger or a marker. A pointer and the screen do that job much better.

Turn off the projector if you do not need it for the next few minutes. Two minutes is the maximum time that the same slide should be shown on the screen.

Presentation - dress rehearsal

Your presentation should not take place without having practised it several times in front of a mirror and/or with a tape recorder. Observing and listening to yourself “in action” can be stressful, but is very formative. It provides you with the material on which you can gradually develop your presentational skills and competencies.

Some final tips:

Good luck!