Presentation Skills

Some basic skills will enable you to present your topic so that your audience will gain the most from it.

Presentation Tips

Your presentation won’t be effective unless people can hear you and see you. Follow these simple practices to give the best presentation:

  • Practice your presentation at home — this will give you a good idea about timing, pacing and will make you more confident when you are speaking in front of a live audience
  • Speak loudly — the attendees are there to hear you
  • Be confident — you are giving valuable information to at least some of those attending
  • Use a microphone at all times when speaking
  • Face the audience at all times when speaking — the microphone won’t pick up your voice well if your head is turned
  • Draft your moderator or co-presenter to help with advancing slides or typing, if needed
  • Don’t read your slides — add explanations to the material there
  • Use a laser pointer (bring your own if you want to use one) to point to specific areas of the screen as you talk about them
  • Use your time effectively — don’t end way early or let yourself run out of time before you finish your presentation
  • Leave time for Questions and Answers or discussion at the end

Q&A

Attendees almost always have questions or comments during presentations. Make sure you leave enough time to give them a chance to ask them. Decide ahead of time whether you want to accept questions throughout the presentation (which can totally disrupt your timing, but may be best for some presentations), at certain points during the presentation (such as after each individual speaker), or only at the end of the entire presentation. If each speaker takes questions separately, be sure to negotiate ahead of time how much time each speaker will have, so all speakers will be able to make their full presentations.

  • Either the presenter or the moderator can handle the Q&A session; discuss this before the session begins
  • Ask anyone with a question to come to the microphones provided; people may line up to use these
  • Repeat the question before answering if there is a reasonable chance that some people in the audience did not hear it
  • Diplomatically ensure that one person does not “hog” the microphone
  • Watch the time, and say something like “we have time for one more question”

Go back to Presenter’s Tips