During your time at university, you may be expected to deliver a presentation as part of your course assessment. This might be a pre-recorded presentation or a face-to-face presentation to your tutors and/or peers. For many students, delivering a presentation can be a challenging experience (and this is completely normal!), but by giving yourself plenty of time for preparation and practise, you can learn how to present with confidence.
Explore the following sections to learn more about how you can prepare, deliver and reflect on your presentation and public speaking skills.
- PowerPoint is the most commonly used tool for creating and delivering presentations. Check out our LinkedIn Learning Presentations playlist to get started with PowerPoint, or to learn more about the functionality of the program.
- PowerPoint also has a really useful rehearse with Speaker Coach function built in that evaluates your pace, pitch, use of filler words, informal speech, euphemisms and culturally sensitive terms. It can also detects when you’re being overly wordy or simply reading the text on a slide. After each rehearsal you get a full report which summarises your delivery and provides recommendations for improvements.
- Book your place on a UniSkills Presentations workshop.
- Access your module guidelines and check with your tutor if anything is unclear.
- Make sure to check your learning outcomes and ensure you plan to cover them all.
- Plan your presentation as you would any other assignment.
- Ensure you give yourself enough time to carry out academic reading / research to produce your content.
- Check whether you need to provide a handout.
- Check your time limit and be sure to stick to this.
- Keep the design simple if using a PowerPoint! Carefully consider whether using animations or images is necessary and whether your layout, font size and style is clear for your audience.
- It is good practice to also consider accessibility in your presentation design. Access this Microsoft guide to maximize the inclusiveness of your slides before sharing and presenting to your audience.
- Get comfortable with your own voice. Record yourself and listen / watch back.
- Practise, practise, practise! Practise in front of friends or family and ask for feedback.
- Have a go using PowerPoints in-built Speaker Coach function to evaluate your delivery and get a rehearsal report summarising where you could improve.
- If possible, visit the room you will be delivering in to familiarise yourself with the space. You may even be able to practice in the room itself, or why not book a room in Catalyst to practise in.
- Prepare well, physically and mentally, the day and night before – try and get a good night’s sleep.
- Watch TED talks for inspiration, Amy Cuddy has a particularly good talk on power posing.
- Check out our LinkedIn Learning Public Speaking playlist to learn how to stay focused, present with confidence and reduce anxiety.
- Ensure you have a drink to hand.
- Practice diaphragmatic/belly breathing before and during the presentation to keep the body and mind calm.
- Your tutors may allow the use of cue cards or notes but try to keep these succinct with minimal detail so you aren’t tempted to read from them.
- If using a PowerPoint, try not to read from the slides or have your back to the audience.
- Don’t block your slides or any content by standing in front of your laptop or projector screen.
- Feel free to use the space in the room – you don’t need to stay in one position throughout the delivery.
- Make eye contact with your audience as much as possible.
- Think about your body language during your presentation, have open rather than closed postures.
- Can the audience see you clearly? Try to ensure you are visible to everyone in the room.
- Can the audience hear you? Try to ensure you speak loud enough so the furthest person away can hear you.
- Can the audience follow you? Try and speak clearly and at a steady pace.
- Be passionate and authentic – you cannot inspire others if you are not inspired yourself!
- You did it…celebrate your achievement!
- Now take some time to reflect on how your presentation went.
- Listen to any feedback provided by your tutors or peers and consider your own reflections, try to separate the content from the delivery.
- Are there any important areas for development which you can work on for success in your next assessment?
- You may want to create an action plan to keep a record of your areas for development and goals for next time.
Useful guides and toolkits
- Visit TechSkills for lots of useful quick reference and video guides.