How to deliver your presentation

Talk to your audience, don't read to them!
So use notes, cue cards or overheads as prompts, and speak to the audience. Include everyone by
looking at them and maintaining eye-contact (but don't stare or glare at people).
Watch your language!
Keep it simple. The aim is to communicate, not to show off your vocabulary.
Emphasise the key points—and make sure people realise which are the key points. Repeat them using
different phrasing.
Check the pronunciation of difficult, unusual, or foreign words beforehand.
Use your voice to communicate clearly:
Speak loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear you.
This may feel uncomfortably loud at first, but if people can't hear you, they won't listen.
Speak slowly and clearly.
Don’t rush! Speaking fast doesn’t make you seem smarter, it will only make it harder for other people
to understand you.
Key words are important. Speak them out slowly and loudly.
Vary your voice quality. If you always use the same volume and pitch (for example, all loud, or all
soft, or in a monotone) your audience will switch off.
When you begin a new point, use a higher pitch and volume.
Slow down for key points.
Use pauses—don't be afraid of short periods of silence. (They give you a chance to gather your
thoughts, and your audience a chance to think.)
Use your body to communicate, too!
Stand straight and comfortably. Do not slouch or shuffle about.
Hold your head up. Look around and make eye-contact with people in the audience. Do not just
address the lecturer! Do not stare at a point on the carpet or the wall. If you don't include the audience,
they won't listen to you.
When you are talking to your friends, you naturally use your hands, your facial expression, and your
body to add to your communication. Do it in your presentation as well. It will make things far more
interesting for the audience.
Don't turn your back on the audience!
The first few times you make a presentation, you will be nervous. That's quite a good thing—a bit of
adrenalin often helps you to perform well.
However, to make sure that your nervousness does not become a problem, here are some things to
Smile! Your audience will react warmly to you if you smile and at least look relaxed.
Treat your audience like friends.
Confess that you are nervous! Your audience will be very sympathetic—they know how you are
Breathe deeply. It will calm you down and help to control the slight shaking that you might get in your
hands and your voice.
Be well-prepared. Practice giving your talk (you can ask one of the Academic Skills lecturers to listen
to your presentation)
Be organised. If you are well organised, your task will be easier. If your overheads are out of order, or
your notes are disorganised, you may get flustered.
Slow down! When people are nervous, they tend to get confused easily. So your mind may start to
race, and you may feel panicky. Make use of pauses: force yourself to stop at the end of a sentence,
take a breath, and think before you continue.
Remember: The way you perform is the way your audience will feel. Giving an oral presentation is a
performance—you have to be like an actor. If you act the part of someone enjoying themselves and
feeling confident, you will not only communicate these positive feelings to the audience, you will feel
much better, too.
Accomplished public speakers feel nervous before and even during a talk. The skill comes in not
communicating your nervousness, and in not letting it take over from the presentation. Over time, you
will feel less nervous, and well able to control your nervousness.
Speaking in Class
For some students, the idea of getting up in front of our peers and class-mates is nerve wracking and
scary. The idea of stuttering or stammering, sweating or mispronouncing a word makes you anxious.
Many students have this fear! The fear of speaking in public is one of the worst, and most common
fears, people have.
So, you might be wondering:
1. "Why am I so afraid of getting in front of my class?"
2. "How can I get over it?"
3. "How can I speak with confidence?"
First: What are you afraid of?
One reason students get so nervous speaking in front of their peers is that they have a fear of being
judged by, or looking silly in front of them. Another fear is that you may forget everything you
prepared, begin to blush, sweat, etc. The idea of being humiliated or embarrassed is what causes your
Tips to overcome your fear(s):
Know your subject matter: If you are going to present something or speak in front of your peers, be
sure to know the subject matter well. Chances are you will be presenting or talking about something
you have been studying in class. This will give you the base you need to answer the questions of
students who don't grasp the concept as well as you do, or have additional questions about your topic.
However, just because you may have studied your topic in class doesn't mean you don't have to do
additional work! You should always prepare as though there is going to be an expert in the class.
Knowing the topic and best you can will help give you confidence.
Know what you are going to say: You don't need to memorize a speech word-for-word, but you
shouldn't get up in front of the class and "wing" your presentation. Write out what you want to say, and
practice reading it out loud a few times. Bring your notes up with you when you present, or a note-card
with the points you want to make. The more you practice what you want to say, the more confident
you will feel on the day of your presentation.
Stay calm in front of your audience: Try to remember that these are you peers. They will all have to
give presentations too. Think about your teacher. S/he doesn't get nervous in front of the class, so there
is no need for you to get nervous either. Think of yourself in the teacher role - you are sharing valuable
information with the class! Practice is extremely important. The more you give a talk, the more
automatic it becomes, the more meat it can have and the more confidence you have in your abilities to
give the speech.
Practice alone, Practice in front of small groups or friends. Practice.
Speak Confidently in Class
 Practice, Practice Practice! Every chance you get - whether the group is large or small - seize the
opportunity to talk to or in front of an audience!
 Make certain to speak up with volume (not scream) and PROJECT. Projecting is not yelling, it is
using your diaphragm (stomach muscles) to push the air out.
 Watch your pace and pause if you feel you are rushing; no one will mind if you take a breath! A
few seconds breaking to take stock is not noticed by anyone except you.
 You think - therefor talk - faster than other people can comprehend. When speaking, talk at a rate
that seems unbearably slow. It will come out just right!
 Make sure you pause in between sentences for greatest effect and to ensure that the talk is sinking
into the listener's minds.
 Enunciate; clear speech helps those listening as they don't have to decipher the words but can
concentrate on the content.
 Use vocal variation; it can be tedious and boring to listen to a speaker whose voice sounds
monotone and flat the entire speech.
 Be interesting to look at! An animated speaker holds a crowds attention. Use gestures and facial
expressions to illustrate your points. Walk across the stage a little. Make sure to always look your
best, which really helps your confidence and others confidence in you.
 Hold your hands in front of you at waist level. This enables you to make subtle hand gestures to
illustrate your point while not causing too much distraction to the audience.
 Introduce your topics as questions which you then answer to keep the audience interested.
 The uses of "uh", "um", "and yeah", and other similar phrases branch out from the need to fill
thesilence.Silence helps you appear like you are thinking,though sometimes you are actually
nervous. Learn to use silences to your advantage, and not to be terrified of them. Pausing to take a
breath, recollect your thoughts, and make a greater impact on your audience is perfectly acceptable
and encouraged. It is difficult to remember NOT to say "uhhhh ..." but if you try to adopt a
mindset that is not against a moment of silence, it will be easier. Practicing will make it second
nature, and you will never feel the need to say "um" again.
 Get up as close to the audience as you can, this shows confidence.
 Listen and watch great public speakers and try to analyze what is it that makes them successful.
 Don't be embarrassed by your faults. Demosthenes was a prominent orator in ancient Athens even
though he suffered from speech impediments. A good public speaker can overcome these
Additional Tips:
 Don't Hurry
 Don't Mumble
 Don't pace around the room
 Don't hide behind the podium
 Don't hide your hands in your pockets
 Avoid pointing your finger at the audience
 Don't make stuff up
 Don't pause for too long
 Try not to repeat yourself
 Don't look down
 Don't chew gum
 Relax
 Try to keep the presentation fun!
Presentation skills and public speaking abilities are not limited to certain special people - anyone can
give a good presentation, or perform public speaking to a professional and impressive standard. Like
most specialisms, this requires preparation and practise.
1. Fear of public speaking and presentations
You are not alone if the thought of speaking in public scares you. On the contrary.
Everyone feels fearful of presenting and public speaking to one degree or another.
Giving a presentation is very worrying for many people. Presenting or speaking to an audience
regularly tops the list in surveys of people's top fears - more than heights, flying or dying.
2. Understanding/overcoming fear of public speaking and presentations
The key to managing and controlling anything is first to understand it, especially its causes.
The cause of fear is (a feeling of) insecurity and/or an unfamiliar or uncontrollable threat.
In the context of presentations and public speaking this is usually due to:
lack of confidence, and/or
lack of control (or a feeling of not having control) - over the situation, other people (the
audience) and our own reactions and feelings
and (in some cases) possibly a bad memory or experience from our past
The effects of these are heightened according to the size of the audience, and potentially also
the nature of the audience/situation - which combine to represent a perceived uncontrollable threat to
us at a very basic and instinctive level (which we imagine in the form or critical judgment,
embarrassment, humiliation, etc).
This 'audience' aspect is illustrated by the following:
"Most of us would not feel very fearful if required to give a presentation to a class of 30 five-year-old
children, but we would feel somewhat more fearful if required to give a presentation to an interview
panel of three high court judges. So audience size is not everything - it's the nature of the situation and
audience too."
As such audience size and situation are circumstantial factors which can influence the degree of
anxiety, but they are not causal factors in themselves. The causes exist because of the pressure to
command, control, impress, etc.
2.1 Confidence and control
The two big causal factors (low confidence and control) stem typically from:
inadequate preparation/rehearsal, and/or
low experience.
Preparation and rehearsal are usually very manageable elements. It's a matter of making the effort to
prepare and rehearse before the task is upon us. Presentations which do not work well usually do so
because they have not been properly prepared and rehearsed.
Experience can be gained simply by seeking opportunities for public speaking and presenting to
people and groups, wherever you feel most comfortable (and then try speaking to groups where you
feel less comfortable). Given that humankind and society everywhere are arranged in all sorts of
groups - schools and colleges, evening classes, voluntary groups, open-mic nights, debating societies,
public meetings, conferences, the local pub, sports and hobby clubs, hospitals, old people's homes, etc,
etc - there are countless groups everywhere of people and potential audiences by which you can gain
speaking and presenting experience - this is not so difficult to achieve.
So experience, is actually just another manageable element before the task, although more time and
imagination is required than in preparing and rehearsing a particular presentation.
Besides these preparatory points, it's useful to consider that fear relates to stress.
Stress can be managed in various ways. Understanding stress and stress management methods can be
very helpful in reducing the anxiety we feel before and while giving presentations and public speaking.
But don't worry - every person in your audience wants you to succeed. The audience is on your side (if
only because they are very pleased that it's you up there in the spotlight speaking and not them).
To be calm you must be relaxed. To be relaxed you must be confident. To be confident you must be
prepared and rehearsed.
Good preparation is the key to confidence, which is the key to being relaxed, and this calms the
butterflies,(i.e., overcomes the fear).
Put another way, according to logical ' cause and effect':
Preparation + Rehearsal >
Confidence >
Calm >
= Fearlessness
Your audience will see this and respond accordingly, which in turn will help build your confidence,
and you even start to enjoy yourself too.
And remember that there is a cumulative effect:
Every successful presentation that you create and deliver generates more experience and confidence
for you, which makes every future presentation easier and more successful for you, and so it goes, until
every last butterfly is calmed.
3. Tips for effective presentations
1. Preparation and knowledge
2. As a presenter, remember and apply Eleanor Roosevelt's maxim that "no-one can intimidate me
without my permission".
3. Passion is a very powerful component in any successful presentation.
4. Good presenting is about entertaining as well as conveying information.
6. Research and studies generally indicate that in presentations you have between 4 - 7 seconds in
which to make a positive impact and good opening impression, so make sure you have a good, strong,
solid introduction, and rehearse it until it is 'second nature' to you and an action of 'unconscious
8. Smiling helps a lot. It will relax you and the audience, which you will do quite naturally if you
appear to be comfortable yourself.
11. Apologising to the audience can also affect the moods and atmospheres of presentations...
Generally try to avoid starting a presentation with an apology - unless you've really made a serious
It is normal to make mistakes, and even the most experienced professional speakers and presenters
make mistakes, so just relax and keep calm if (when) you make one.
12. Try to start on time even if some of the audience is late. Waiting too long undermines your
confidence, and the audience's respect for you.
13. The average attention span of an average listener is between five and ten minutes for any single
unbroken subject.
18. Quotes are a wonderful and easy way to stimulate emotions and feelings, and of course quotes can
be used to illustrate and emphasise just about any point or concept you can imagine.
5. Preparation and creating your presentation - process
This is a sequential step-by-step process - a list of the main action points - for creating and preparing a
successful and effective presentation - large or small. The process includes preparing, creating,
checking, rehearsing, refining and finalizing the presentation.
1. Think about your audience, your aims, their expectations, the surroundings, the facilities available,
and what type of presentation you are going to give (lecture style, informative, participative, etc).
2. What are your aims? To inform, inspire and entertain, maybe to demonstrate and prove, and maybe
to persuade.
3. How do you want the audience to react?
4. Thinking about these things will help you ensure that your presentation is going to achieve its
5. Clearly identify your subject and your purpose to yourself, and then let the creative process take
over for a while to gather all the possible ideas for subject matter and how you could present it.
6. Think about interesting ways to convey and illustrate and bring your points to life, so that your
presentation is full of interesting things (think of these as 'spices') to stimulate as many senses as
possible. A presentation is not restricted to spoken and visual words - you can use physical samples
and props, sound and video, body movement, audience participation, games and questions, statistics,
amazing facts, quotes, and lots more ideas to support your points and keep the audience engaged.
7. Use brainstorming and 'mind-mapping' methods (mind-mapping is sketching out ideas in extensions,
like the branches of a tree, from a central idea or aim). Both processes involve freely putting random
ideas and connections on a piece of paper - the bigger the sheet the better - using different coloured
pens will help too.
8. Don't try to write the presentation in detail until you have decided on the content you need and
created a rough structure from your random collected ideas and material. See
the brainstorming process - it's very helpful and relevant for creating and writing presentations.
9. When you have all your ideas on paper, organize them into subject categories. Three categories
often work best. Does it flow? Is there a logical sequence that people will follow, and which makes
you feel comfortable?
10. Use the 'rule of three' to structure the presentation where possible, because sets of three have a
natural balance and flow. A simple approach is to have three main sections. Each section has three
sub-sections. Each of these can have three sub-sections, and so on. A 30 minute presentation is
unlikely to need more than three sections, with three sub-sections each. A three day training course
presentation need have no more than four levels of three, giving 81 sub-sections in all. Simple!
11. Presentations almost always take longer to deliver than you imagine.
12. When you have a rough draft of your presentation you should practise it, as if you were
actually in front of an audience, and check the timings. If your timings are not right - (usually you
will have too much material) - then you can now adjust the amount of content, and avoid unnecessarily
refining sections that need to be cut out. Or if you are short of content, you can expand the presentation
material accordingly, or take longer to explain the content you already have.
13. You must create a strong introduction and a strong close.
14. You must tell people what you're going to speak about and the purpose or aim of your
15. And if you finish with a stirring quotation or a stunning statistic, you must, before this, summarise
what you have spoken about and if appropriate, demand an action from your audience, even if it is
to go away and think about what you have said.
16. Essentially the structure of all good presentations is to: "Tell'em what you're gonna tell'em.
Tell'em. Then tell'em what you told'em." (Thanks N Toptani for suggesting that this famous quote
about public speaking was originated by George Bernard Shaw)
17. When you have structured your presentation, it will have an opening, a middle with headed
sections of subject matter, and a close, with opportunity for questions, if relevant. This is still a
somewhat flat 'single-dimensional' script. Practice it in its rough form, which is effectively a 'readthrough' rather than a fully formed presentation with all aids and equipment.
18. Next you bring it to life as a fully formed presentation - give it space and life and physicality and
character - by blending in your presentation methods, aids, props, and devices, as appropriate. This
entails the equipment and materials you use, case studies, examples, quotations, analogies, questions
and answers, individual and syndicate exercises, interesting statistics, samples, visual and physical
aids, and any other presentation aid you think will work. This stage often requires more time than
you imagine if you have to source props and materials.
19. Practice your presentation in rough full form with all your aids and devices. Review and record the
timings. They will be different compared to earlier simple read-throughs. Amend and refine the
presentation accordingly. Practise at this stage is essential to build your competence and confidence especially in handling and managing the aids and devices you plan to use - and also to rehearse the
pace and timings. You'll probably be amazed at this stage to realise how much longer the presentation
takes to deliver than you imagined when you were simply reading on your cards or notes.
20. If your presentation entails audio-visual (AV) support and equipment provision by specialist
providers then ensure you control the environment and these services. If there are audio-visual aspects
happening that you don't understand then seek clarification. You must understand, manage and control
these services - do not assume that providers know what you need - tell the providers what you want,
and ask what you need to know.
21. Ask an honest and tactful friend to listen and watch you practice. Ask for his/her comments about
how you can improve, especially your body-language and movement, your pace and voice, and
whether everything you present and say can be easily understood. If your test-listener can't make at
least a half a dozen constructive suggestions then ask someone else to watch and listen and give you
22. Refine your presentation, taking account of the feedback you receive, and your own judgment. Test
the presentation again if there are major changes, and repeat this cycle of refinement and testing until
you are satisfied.
23. Produce the presentation materials and organise the equipment, and ensure you are comfortable
with your method of reading from notes, cards etc.
24. Practice your presentation it in its refined full form. Amend and refine as necessary, and if possible
have a final rehearsal in the real setting, especially if the venue/situation is strange to you.
25. Take nothing for granted. Don't guess or make assumptions about anything that could influence
your success. Check and double-check, and plan contingencies for anything that might go wrong.
26. Plan and control the layout of the room as much as you are able. If you are a speaker at someone
else's event you'll not have complete control in this, but if it's your event then take care to position
yourself, your equipment and your audience and the seating plan so that it suits you and the situation.
For instance, don't lay out a room theatre-style if you want people to participate in teams; use cabaretlayout instead. Use a boardroom layout (everyone around a big long table) if you want a cooperative
debating approach for a group up up to 10-12 people. Consider splitting people into sub-groups if the
total group size is more than 10-12 people. (See guidance on managing groups sizes in
the teambuilding section.)
27. Make sure, when the room/venue is prepared, that (before delegates arrive) everyone will be able
to see you, and all of the visual displays (screen, wipeboard, etc).
28. Make sure you understand, and if appropriate control and convey, the domestic arrangements (fire
drill, catering, smoking, messages, coffee and lunch breaks etc). If you are running/starting the event,
then this is your responsibility. It is also good to remind people of these arrangements when restarting
after a lunch-break. So build these aspects into your presentation and timings if they are required.
6. Delivering (giving) presentations successfully
1. The day before your presentation see again the notes about calming your butterflies - i.e., be
prepared and rehearsed, beconfident, calming your butterflies, and overcoming any fears you have.
2. In the half-hour before your presentation: Relax. If you are not relaxed then try to find a way to
become so. Think about breathing slowly and deeply. Think about calming relaxing things. Smile. If
despite all your preparations you remain scared, a good way to overcome your fear is just to do it.
(Paraphrasing the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche..) "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Remember you are not alone among presenters in having these feelings, and the audience is on your
side. Remember also, initial impact is made and audience mood towards you is established in the first
4-7 seconds. So go for it.
3. Start with your solid practised opening, and smile. Enjoy it. Or look like you are enjoying it.
3. Be firm, be confident and be in control; the stage is yours, and the audience is on your side.
4. Introduce yourself and tell them what your going to tell them. Tell them why you are telling
them it; why it's important, and why it's you that's telling them.
5. Tell the audience how long your presentation will last, and explain when in the presentation that the
audience is able to ask questions.
6. It is generally easier to deliver and manage a presentation if you tell the audience to ask their
questions at the end. For a more participative and involving presentation you can allow questions at
any time, but ensure you keep firm control of your timings, and the audience.
7. If your audience is more than about 30-40 people then it can become difficult to take questions
during the presentation, so for large groups, and certainly groups exceeding 100 people it's generally
best to take questions at the end of the presentation.
8. By the time you've done this introduction you've established your authority, created respect and
credibility, and overcome the worst of your nerves. You are probably enjoying it. If you're just giving a
short presentation then by the time you've done all this you've completed a quarter of it!
9. Be aware of your own body language and remember what advice you got from your friend on your
practice run. You are the most powerful visual aid of all, so use your body movement and position
well. Don't stand in front of the screen when the projector is on.
10. If people talk amongst themselves just stop and look at them. Say nothing, just look. You will be
amazed at the effect, and how quickly your authority increases. This silent tactic usually works with a
chaotic audience too.
11. If you really need to change things during the presentation then change them, and explain to the
audience why you are doing it if that helps you and them.
12. If you want a respite or some thinking time, asking the audience a question or involving them in an
exercise takes the pressure off you, and gives you a bit of breathing space.
13. Pausing is fine. A pause tends to seems like an age when you're up there presenting, but actually
the audience won't notice a pause, and will not think a pause is a mistake, unless you draw attention to
it. An occasional pause is perfectly fine, and very reasonably helps you to concentrate on what you're
going to say next.
14. Keep control. No-one will question your authority when you have control, so don't give it up.
15. If you don't know the answer to a question then say so and deal with it later. You have the right to
defer questions until the end (on the grounds that you may well be covering it in the presentation later
anyway, or just simply because you say so).
16. Close positively and firmly, thank the audience, and accept plaudits graciously.
deliver your presentation
1. Relax.
2. If necessary revisit your notes about how to relax yourself. Stress can be managed, and to a
small degree it is part of the presentation experience. Butterflies are exciting and beautiful,
even if they are not in perfect formation.
3. You have prepared and practised, so your presentation will succeed and be enjoyable.
4. Smile.
5. The audience is on your side.
6. Use a solid well-rehearsed opening, make immediate friendly impact.
7. "Tell'em what you're gonna tell'em, tell'em, then tell'em what you told'em."
8. Use confident body-language, control, firmness, confidence, speak your audience's language,
accentuate the positive (be positive and upbeat).
9. Pause when you need to and don't apologise for it - pausing is perfectly okay.
10. Use audience participation where possible, be clear, calm, close powerfully and simply and
gratefully, and have fun!
Tongue Twisters
1. I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop.
Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.
2. The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
3. Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?
4. I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won't
wish the wish you wish to wish.
5. World Wide Web
6. Picky people pick Peter Pan Peanut-Butter, 'tis the peanut-butter picky people pick.
7. Luke Luck likes lakes.
Luke's duck likes lakes.
Luke Luck licks lakes.
Luck's duck licks lakes.
Duck takes licks in lakes Luke Luck likes.
Luke Luck takes licks in lakes duck likes.
8. There those thousand thinkers were thinking how did the other three thieves go through.
9. Santa's Short Suit Shrunk
10. I scream, you scream, we all scream for icecream!
11. Elizabeth's birthday is on the third Thursday of this month.
12. How many cookies could a good cook cook If a good cook could cook cookies? A good cook
could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies.
13. Four furious friends fought for the phone.
14. Black background, brown background.
15. Why do you cry, Willy?
Why do you cry?
Why, Willy?
Why, Willy?
Why, Willy? Why?
16. Caution: Wide Right Turns
17. I thought, I thought of thinking of thanking you.
18. The great Greek grape growers grow great Greek grapes.
19. Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Spread it thick, say it quick!
Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Spread it thicker, say it quicker!
Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Don't eat with your mouth full!
20. I'll chew and chew until my jaws drop.
21. She said she should sit.
22. Will you, William? Will you, William? Will you, William?
Can't you, don't you, won't you, William?
23. I wish you were a fish in my dish
24. Dust is a disk's worst enemy.
25. If you notice this notice,
you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.