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Giving great presentations

There are few things more more scary than having to make presentations to large groups.

Here are some tips to help you on your way to being an engaging and confident presenter.

Ask yourself…

  • What is the purpose of the presentation? Is it to inform, educate, or entertain?
  • Who is your audience? What are their interests and concerns? What do they want to get out of the presentation?
  • What’s your main message? What’s your talk about?
  • How long do you have to speak?
  • What time of day will it be?
  • What equipment will be available?
  • How will the room be set up?

Before your presentation

  • Plan, prepare and practice out loud
  • Keep the presentation relevant
  • Consider the must know, should know, could know
  • Keep the topic areas to three – use them to bring in all the things you want your audience to hear
  • Reinforce your points with stories, anecdotes, analogies and metaphors
  • Plan to end early not late
  • Arrive early to set up and test any equipment
  • Ensure you have all your handouts
  • Dress appropriately for your audience
  • Turn off your mobile phone

During the presentation

  • State clearly what your objective is at the start
  • Engage your audience in the first few minutes
  • Show them how they will benefit from the session
  • Show passion and enthusiasm for your topic
  • Project your voice and speak clearly and distinctly
  • Repeat important information
  • Don’t get stuck in one position, move around a bit
  • Smile and make good eye contact – don’t just scan the audience but look at individuals
  • Don’t turn your back on the audience
  • Involve your audience, ask questions, use humour
  • Remain courteous with challenging individuals
  • Always leave time for questions
  • Summarize the key concepts of your presentation

Creating a slideshow

  • Limit the number of slides you use
  • Don’t put too much information on each slide – no more than 6 bullet points
  • Keep each bullet point to one line – 6-8 words
  • Use the notes pane to write your notes – then you can print them
  • Use the slide master for consistent formatting and to add your logo
  • Stick to sans serif fonts such as Arial 
  • Ensure the font size is large enough to read – 28-44 points is good – and don’t use all caps
  • Choose a design template that is clean and uncluttered and doesn’t detract from your message
  • Make it accessible by using high contrast between the background colour and text colour e.g. dark blue text on a white background
  • Use consistent fonts and backgrounds for a professional appearance
  • Use pictures and graphics to illustrate a point and make it more interesting – but don’t overdo it
  • Use sounds, transitions and animation effects in moderation – too much can be distracting
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Rehearse your timings

Delivering a slideshow

  • Position your monitor so you can look at it – don’t look at the audiences screen
  • Keep the lights on and the screen bright so the focus is on you and not the screen.
  • Use a handheld remote device to advance your slides so you can move around
  • If you move off the topic press B for a black slide or W for a white slide, and when you’re ready to move on press any key

And most importantly…

Be yourself – give your natural enthusiasm and personality a chance to shine through

How can we help?

Alpha Training offers courses to help people delivering presentations.  We can help you to develop the skills you need to create an engaging slideshow and deliver a great presentation.  

To discuss your presentation training needs call us now on 020 8658 6994 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.