Top tips for an engaging presentation
Presentations play a huge part in professional and academic life. Whether you’re delivering the weekly roundup to your team, or pitching for a career changing piece of work, your presentation skills will be put under scrutiny.
To some, simply thinking about delivering a presentation can bring on anxiety. You may personally remember the nerves, the loss of words and stumbling over your sentences. Often these feelings could be eradicated through proper preparation and building on your own personal skills.
This ‘how to’ guide will highlight a number of skills required to deliver a great presentation, so listen up!
Create a clear plan and follow it through. A well thought out structure to your presentation can take your audience on a journey, easing their ability to take in and understand the points you’re making.
• Use short, concise bullet points
• Be consistent with fonts and heading placements throughout
• Use consistent indicators to highlight important points
Be clear in both what you say and what you show. If you’re using a screen this should only add value to your audience’s learning rather than repeat information. Use images or text to expand on the points you’re making.
• Don’t repeat what’s shown on the screen
• Explain complex theories and subjects clearly
Remember who you’re delivering your presentation to. We all know from experience that a bad presentation can leave you bored, fidgety and uninspired. The key is to engage your audience, involve them in the presentation and tailor your tone and content to the type of people you're presenting to.
• Question your audience, finding real life examples
• Use relatable scenarios or stories to explain points
• Use your structure to keep each subject quick and easy to tackle
Visual aids can be the perfect way to break up or explain complex information. In terms of engagement, visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.
• Depending on your audience, humour in visuals can engage people
• Don’t make visuals too complex
• Visualise statistics, facts and data
Make sure what you’re saying is true and your sources are viable. Providing your own opinion is fine but never mislead people.
• A thorough understanding of your subject will automatically build trust
• Include your sources in your presentation, especially if they’re key figures in your industry
• Quotes are the perfect way to express information
Finally, no matter what the content of your presentation, how you deliver it plays a huge part in how people engage with you and the information you’re providing. Nerves can hinder you here, but through preparing and using the above points you should be set to impress.
• Avoid using filler words like ‘erm’ and ‘like’
• Take deep breaths and keep to a steady pace throughout
• Make eye contact with your audience, looking up and out rather than at your feet or the screen
Presentations are a brilliant way to practice and improve on a variety of skills. They can give you the opportunity to hone in on some desirable personality traits that could see you soar in both academia and your career.
Never let irrational fear hold your back from achieving your full potential. Work on your own skills and preparing every presentation to wow your audience.