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How to give a presentation

How to give a presentation

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How to give a presentation

In a nutshell

Giving a presentation can be a nerve-wracking task, but some simple preparations can ensure you put your best foot forward. In this summary, you will learn how to prepare and structure your presentation as well as some tips on how to perform at your best.

Prepare your presentation

Every presentation should be thoroughly prepared so you don't risk something unexpected happening at the time of your presentation.


Think about what the purpose of your presentation is and what is the best way to achieve it. Your presentation might be informative, and in this case you must try your best to inform the audience about the topic. Perhaps it is an argumentative or persuasive talk, in which case you might use rhetorical devices to emphasise your points. 


Find out as much as you can about the topic at hand. Your teacher might be able to point you in the correct direction. If not, use the internet, read books and even watch videos to get yourself familiar with the subject matter.

Create slides

Use software to create slides that match what you are going to speak about. The slides should just be an accompaniment to your talk. DO use bullet points and short extracts and use the slides as an opportunity to show data, figures or graphics. DON'T write full sentences or paragraphs – the audience have come to hear you speak, not read walls of text from a slide!

Write notes

Remember, your slides (e.g. on PowerPoint) are not your whole presentation. You can also make a script that you can use during your presentation. This way you won't get lost and won't forget any important details.


After you've done some research and taken some notes, think carefully about how you will structure your presentation as a whole and create an outline


Introduce the topic and explain why you've chosen it. Prepare a short opener to tell the audience what you're going to be speaking about.

Example phrases
  • Welcome to my presentation about...
  • In this talk, I will...
  • This topic appealed to me because...
  • First, I will introduce..., then I will present... and finally I will...


The body of your presentation contains all of the main information and makes up the bulk of the time. Think about the key themes of the topic and make sure you include everything that is most pertinent about the particular subject matter in an order that makes logical sense.

Example phrases
  • To begin, I'll provide some background information on...
  • I will address three of these points...
  • Research has shown that...


Be sure to summarise the most important points as you bring your presentation to a close. Thank the audience for listening, and allow time for some questions from the audience.

Example phrases
  • So, we have seen that...
  • Finally, I would like to emphasise that...
  • Thank you for listening!
  • If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

DOs and DON'Ts

  • Prepare notes / cue cards to help remind you of what to say;
  • Use graphics and figures in your slides;
  • Keep your audience engaged with eye contact and intonation;
  • Speak loudly and clearly;
  • Stick to the time limit.


  • Rush your words;
  • Stare down at your notes;
  • Use a lot of text in your slides;
  • ​Use distracting animations and transitions.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the 'Don'ts' during a presentation?

What is the best way to prepare a presentation?

What is the structure of a presentation?


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