Presentation Tips

Consider Your Audience: You may assume that the majority of those individuals at your session are already interested and perhaps somewhat knowledgeable about your topic. Therefore, you should offer the appropriate amount of background information that neither talks down to your audience nor assumes they have been immersed in the same research and investigations you have. To achieve a smooth delivery, practice your presentation several times, including using presentation items and audio-visual materials so that you do not fidget with them unnecessarily during your presentation.

Make Written Materials Available: People like handouts. If the presentation lends itself to a schematic diagram, bibliography, or printed examples, use them. Bring copies with you to avoid the cost of mailing materials to participants after the conference. Collate handout pages in logical sequence and staple them together to help your audience follow your presentation.

As You Begin: Approach the speaking area with confidence. As you introduce your presentation, make your purpose(s) clear to the audience, let them know what you intend to achieve with them, and alert them to the number of points in your organizational structure so that they can follow along easily.

Delivery That Involves Your Audience:

  • Maintain eye contact with all parts of the audience throughout the presentation.
  • Speak at a rate that is easy for each audience member to follow.
  • Speak with clarity and appropriate volume so that the entire audience can hear you.
  • Use your notes minimally so that the audience senses your preparedness and enthusiasm.
  • Incorporate gestures and natural body movements that enhance your message.
  • Avoid distracting gestures such as jingling pocket change and adjusting clothing.
  • If there are multiple presenters, consider and practice how you will switch among them and consider the amount of time it takes to shift from section to section of your session. It would be advantageous for members of a panel to converse with other presenters before the conference.
  • Practice a smooth incorporation of audio-visual materials. Make sure visuals are easily seen.
  • Be sure to time your presentation. Within the time frame, you will have to allow time to set up, to introduce yourself or be introduced, to pass out materials and answer questions from the floor. Strive for a swift and courteous room exchange. If you have many materials to pack up, you might enlist the support of a colleague to help you do so, so that your presentation does not thoughtlessly overlap another one.
  • Make sure you allow sufficient time for the audience to ask questions. Those questions often make them feel involved and more enthusiastic about your session.