Part III: Giving an Effective Presentation

Once you’ve developed your content and organized your presentation, it’s time to present what you know. Here are some tips on technique, style, and delivery that will help you give an effective presentation.

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The Opening

Prepare this only after forming and organizing your ideas in the body.

  • Devise a strong opening that gets the audience involved.
  • Use a dramatic story, a quote, a question, an anecdote, etc.
  • State the purpose or thesis of the presentation.
  • Preview your main points.

To command attention, in the first few seconds, survey the audience with your eyes and make eye contact with as many people as possible.

The Body

  • Streamline your topic to address only a few main points.
  • Elaborate each point but avoid excessive details.
  • Organize your presentation in a logical sequence:
    • Chronologically/ by components/ by pros and cons, etc.
  • Signal transitions between major points and between speakers in a group presentation, i.e. words like first, second; On the other hand; Now Jo will, etc.
  • Ask the audience rhetorical questions throughout to maintain interest.

The Conclusion

  • Restate the purpose/thesis and summarize the main points.
  • End with strength by sharing an insight, anecdote, inspiring quote, etc.

Speaking Techniques

  • Maintain eye contact and speak directly to the audience
  • Speak loudly, slowly and clearly.
  • Use gestures and vary the volume and tone of your voice for emphasis.
  • Move towards your audience, especially in the opening & conclusion.
  • Always finish on time – be prepared to remove material to do so

Effective Use of Computer Slides

  • Look professional;
  • Keep you on track and reduce the need for memorization or notes;
  • Provide an easy link to a web site, video or demonstration;
  • Capture attention of visual learners;
  • Increase the audience’s retention of your presentation.



  • Use a large font (at least 32 point).
  • Use 3‐5 bulleted points per slide.
  • Provide basic points and fill in orally.
  • Use colors that make the text easy to read.
  • Make charts or diagrams easy to see.
  • Make transparencies for backup.
  • Use a distracting background or too much animation.
  • Clutter slides with a lot of text.
  • Write complete sentences on slides.
  • Read the slides to your audience.
  • Speak to the screen.

Last updated February 8, 2019