Being able to communicate effectively is the most
important of all life skills.
Communication is simply the act of transferring
information from one place to another, whether this be
vocally (using voice) written (using printed or digital
media such as books, magazines, websites or emails)
visually (using logos, maps, charts or graphs) or nonverbally (using body language, gestures and the tone
and pitch of voice).
Presenting information clearly and effectively is a key
skill to get your message or opinion across and, today,
presentation skills are required in almost every field.
Whether you are a student, administrator or executive,
if you wish to start up your own business, apply for a
grant or stand for an elected position, you may very
well be asked to make a presentation. This can be a
very daunting prospect, our guide is designed to help.
A presentation is a means of communication which
can be adapted to various speaking situations, such as
talking to a group, addressing a meeting or briefing a
Preparation is the single most important part of making a successful
presentation. This is the crucial foundation and you should dedicate as
much time to it as possible avoiding short-cuts.
Not only will good preparation ensure that you have thought carefully
about the messages that you want (or need) to communicate in you
presentation but it will also help boost your confidence.
Time of day
Length of talk
Regardless of whether your presentation is going to be
delivered formally, such as at work or informally, for a
club or perhaps a Best Man's speech. You should
always aim to give a clear, well-structured
delivery. That is, you should know exactly what you
want to say and the order in which you want to say
it. Having thought about and planned a good
structure will also help to alleviate any nervousness
you may be feeling in the build up to your talk.
Blue Sky Thinking (the ideas).
Selecting the main points
Deciding whether to illustrate.
Introduction and conclusion.
Before you write your presentation, you should already
have started to prepare by developing your ideas and
selecting the main points to include.
You should structure your presentation with an
introduction, the main message or content, and a
Few people are able to give a presentation without notes. Even
the most experienced speakers will usually have to hand at least
some form of notes to jog their memory and aid their
You will need to know your own abilities and decide how best to
make the presentation. When you first start giving
presentations you may feel more confident with more detailed
notes. As you become more experienced you may find that you
can deliver effectively with less.
These methods are:
Full Text Notes
Notes on Cue Cards
You should only use visual aids if they are necessary to
maintain interest and assist comprehension in your
presentation. Do not use visual aids just to
demonstrate your technological competence - doing so
may compromise the main point of your presentation getting your messages across clearly and concisely.
If visual aids are used well they will enhance a
presentation by adding impact and strengthening
audience involvement, yet if they are managed badly
they can ruin a presentation.
Whiteboards and Interactive Whiteboards
Over-head projector (OHP)
PowerPoint or other presentation software
The practicalities of how you manage your
presentation event can make a significant difference to
Highlight some ways that you can manage the actual
Coping with Nerves
Many seasoned teachers, lecturers and other presenters
feel nervous beforehand despite having given hundreds of
presentations. The same is true of actors and actresses,
celebrities, politicians, preachers and other people working
in the media or in the public eye.
Being nervous is not a problem or a weakness, you just
need to channel your nervous energy wisely. On the other
hand, being over-confident and not nervous could be a
The symptoms of nerves can include "butterflies" or a
queasy feeling in your stomach, sweaty palms, a dry throat
and the panic that your mind has gone blank about your
Practice deep breathing
Use Visualization Techniques
Stop Thinking About Yourself
At the start of your presentation, you should make it clear
whether and when you would prefer to deal with questions
- as you go along or at the end of the presentation.
• Some speakers prefer questions to be raised as they arise
during the presentation. The advantage of this approach is
that any misunderstandings can be dealt with as they
immediately. However, there is also a danger that the
question will disrupt or distract the speaker, or that
questions are raised that would have been covered next
within the presentation.
Talk naturally to your audience
Vary the tone, pitch and volume of your voice
Make eye contact with your audience
Use visual aids where appropriate, graphs and charts,
diagrams, pictures and video
Rehearse your talk and check your timings
Prepare and structure your presentation
carefully. Introduce the subject
Stay focused throughout your presentation
Learn to channel any nervous energy, relax but stay alert
Answer any questions as honestly and concisely as you can.