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Presentations – tips for success

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Whether you are at ease with doing presentations or you find the thought of them terrifying, take a look at our guide for the best way to prepare and practise so that you totally nail it!

What are you going to say?

You are usually given a topic and a timescale in advance, so make sure that you always keep these in mind when deciding on your content. You don't want to veer off the point or make your presentation too long or short.

Don't worry about planning the whole presentation to start with. Instead, break it down into steps.

Preparation and practice

Once you have an idea of what you want to cover, you need to think about the structure of the presentation. This will help you stick to your points and to your allotted time. It can also make you feel more confident when you have a proper plan.

You should always have:

Write out each section as you want to say it in the presentation.

Now you can practise reading it out loud so that you can see how well it flows and also how many minutes it takes you. If you find it is too short then you may want to add another point from your notes, and if it is too long you could cut out one of your points.

One thing to remember when reading it through is to speak at a steady pace. You might want to get the presentation over as quickly as possible, but make a conscious effort not to speak too fast otherwise you'll find the audience asking you to repeat things.

Also, if you speak too quickly when practising you'll get a misleading timing for your presentation.

If you are worried that your mind will go blank or you'll forget what you should be saying next, then you could use cue cards to help. These shouldn't be a script, but contain the main points that you want to talk about in each section. Number them so that they don't get mixed up!

Also read the section below on 'Tips for practising and the real thing' – incorporate as much as you can into your presentation.

Ask a friend, family member or teacher to watch you do your presentation and ask them for feedback. Practice until you feel happy with the content and confident about delivering it.

Using visual aids

Depending on the topic and duration of your presentation, you might want to think about using visual aids, which could be a PowerPoint (or other similar software) presentation or a handout for the audience.

Remember that:

If you do decide to use visual aids, make sure that you prepare them well in advance and practise your presentation using them.

Top 10 tips

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