Six steps to a clear and engaging presentation
The human brain can only process so much information. If you try and communicate everything, your audience will remember less. If your audience only remembers one thing, what would it be?
After ten minutes of the same thing your brain starts to lose focus. To retain the attention of your audience, break up the pattern of your presentation. Ask questions that get them thinking. Make your presentation relatable by grounding it in what your audience knows. Use simple language. If you're introducing new concepts or complex ideas, try and use metaphors that your audience is familiar with. Check out this text context analysis tool to get a sense of how clear your presentation will be.
You may not be an expert in your presentation topic, but don't worry. You can still present a persuasive argument by incorporating research, facts and data from leaders in the field. If you are using data, make sure it clearly supports your argument.
Using emotional hooks can help your audience remember your ideas. Make it personal. Make it specific and real. Emphasize human experience wherever possible rather than simply stating facts (e.g. how it feels rather than what it is).
Storytelling is one of the fundamental ways human beings pass on knowledge. If you structure your presentation like a story, it will help your audience remember your main points. Storytelling can also make your presentation more engaging.
Tips for PowerPoint Making
Source: UBC Learning Commons
Presentation Tips from Past LFS TAs
- Speak loudly and clearly (be confident!)
- Make eye contact with your audience (avoid looking behind you at slide screen while speaking and/or looking down at your notes)
- Use written cues if needed, but avoid reading a pre-written script
- Be professional and respectful - pay attention when your co-presenters are speaking, pay attention to your posture and tone of voice (if you look/sound uninterested in what you are saying you will not hold the audience's attention)
- Ensure balance between creative presentation formats and academic rigour in the presentation
- While creativity is greatly encouraged, ensure that if you chose a non-slide based (i.e. not PPT) format, that you are able to adequately meet the requirements of the assignment within that format.
- Ensure slides are legible, information is correctly cited, images are correctly attributed, and include a works cited slide at the end
- Practice your presentation as a group before the assigned presentation date to result in smoother flow and ensure it is within correct time frame
- Provide feedback to each other to improve your presentation delivery
- Make sure that you have “1 group presentation” rather than “5 mini-individual" presentations
- Be prepared - if you have a strong understanding of information you are presenting and have practiced you will have the confidence to lead a great presentation!
- Remember that being a good presenter takes practice and LFC courses are an opportunity for you and your peers to support one another in strengthening individual presentation skills