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Presentations to make you proud!

At some point at university, you’re very likely to be asked to give a presentation. This can be nerve-racking, especially if it is being assessed. Luckily, the Skills for Learning team has a wealth of information and resources so you can give a presentation to make you proud!

Student presenting

Know your stuff

There is little worse than standing up in front of people (or taking the virtual floor in an online class) and being unsure of what to say. The first rule of presenting is preparation – make sure you plan your content well in advance so you don’t get stuck on the day!

 

Go easy on the visuals...

It can be tempting to put together a really detailed slideshow or an intricate poster to support your presentation. But really, any visuals you use should be there as presentations aids, rather than to do all the work for you. In most presentations, you are the main attraction: things like slides and handouts should contain key info about your topic, but they shouldn’t repeat everything you plan to say.

…But do make sure any visuals you use have an impact!

Last-minute PowerPoints or hastily scribbled posters won’t do your presentation justice – it will be obvious to your audience (and those marking your work) if you haven’t put time into creating your visual aids. So, think carefully about what’s needed and try to strike a balance between too detailed and too rushed.

Follow the brief

Your module tutor will give you guidance on whether you need to cover particular topics, statistics or pieces of research. Whatever you do, make sure you follow this advice. It’s all well and good putting together an all-singing, all-dancing presentation, but if you don’t hit the criteria for the assignment, you might not get the marks you expect for your work.

Think about what your audience needs to know

One of the key aspects you’re being tested on is your ability to be selective – to sift through information and pick out what’s relevant. This is especially the case if your presentation is time-limited, as you can only say so much in 5, 10 or 20 minutes. So, consider what message you want to deliver to your audience – and make sure you do what you intend!

One simple tip is to have a clear introduction and conclusion in your presentation. At the beginning, explain what you intend to tell your audience about. At the end, conclude by showing that you’ve done what you set out to do. This helps to ensure you stay on track, rather than veering off on tangents that might not be relevant. Find more advice about what to include on the Skills for Learning presentation webpage

Practice makes perfect

Any kind of performance needs a few trial runs. You wouldn’t appear in a play or take a driving test without practising first. Similarly, you should run through your presentation a few times to ensure you’re confident. You need to know what you want to say and be comfortable with any technology you might be using, too.

Even if you feel a bit silly talking to a mirror or into thin air, it will make a world of difference if you can have a go before the big day. Better still, why not practice with a friend or family member, and ask for some feedback to help improve your delivery? Our tips on the Skills for Learning website will help you prepare, especially if you find presenting doesn’t come naturally.

 

Attend a workshop

The Skills for Learning Presentation Skills workshop offers a friendly and supportive environment for you to learn more about effective presentations. It’s also a chance for you to ask any questions you may have about presenting to an audience. Sign up for the next workshop via MyHub.

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