Create a good impression in a presentation

Doing a presentation is like being marked for public speaking.

If you don’t like speaking in public, you probably cringe at the thought of working on a presentation.  If only you could write an essay instead…

But no, you’ve got to crack on.  The nerves are playing up and there’s ages until the big day.  You’ve still got to put the talk together, so it’s not worth worrying now.  But you do.  It’s a big deal!

On the day, it’s clear that most people aren’t too keen on the situation.  Many read from a script with eyes facing down at the page the whole time, read too quickly or quietly (or both), and start reading off bullet points from a projection while the audience looks at the back of the speaker’s head.

I can see why this happens, even with people who are usually comfortable with an audience.  It’s because the presentation is graded.  You’ll get a mark for the work, so you want to get it right.  And surely it’s the content that’s important?  Why mark someone up because they’ve been entertaining/engaging?  How does technique make a difference to the final grade?

It makes a difference because the better you present something, the more effective you’ll be in conveying the information to whoever is marking your performance.  You can reel off an amazingly detailed and thought through talk, but you need it to come across well in order that everything is taken in and appreciated.  That’s why it’s a presentation and not an essay.

From childhood to this day, I’ve experienced many different types of public speaking and presentation.  Some of it was a major success.  Some of it was a total disaster.  It’s true to say that I’ve learned as I’ve gone along.  I’m still learning.

From my past success (and failure) so far on an academic level, here is my take on how you can make your presentation shine:

photo by Macarena C

photo by Macarena C


First off, answer these questions as best as possible: