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Presentation Skills.

A presentation is a means of communication that can be adapted to various speaking situations, such as talking to a group, addressing a meeting or briefing a team.

A presentation can also be used as a broad term that encompasses other ‘speaking engagements’ such as making a speech at a wedding, or getting a point across in a video conference.

To be effective, step-by-step preparation and the method and means of presenting the information should be carefully considered.


A presentation requires you to get a message across to the listeners and will often contain a 'persuasive' element. It may, for example, be a talk about the positive work of your organisation, what you could offer an employer, or why you should receive additional funding for a project.

The Key Elements of a Presentation

Making a presentation is a way of communicating your thoughts and ideas to an audience


Consider the following key components of a presentation:



· Ask yourself the following questions to develop a full understanding of the context of the presentation.

· When and where will you deliver your presentation?

· There is a world of difference between a small room with natural light and an informal setting, and a huge lecture room, lit with stage lights. The two require quite different presentations, and different techniques.

· Will it be in a setting you are familiar with, or somewhere new?

· If somewhere new, it would be worth trying to visit it in advance, or at least arriving early, to familiarise yourself with the room.

· Will the presentation be within a formal or less formal setting?

· A work setting will, more or less by definition, be more formal, but there are also various degrees of formality within that.

· Will the presentation be to a small group or a large crowd?

· Are you already familiar with the audience?

With a new audience, you will have to build rapport quickly and effectively, to get them on your side.

What equipment and technology will be available to you, and what will you be expected to use?

In particular, you will need to ask about microphones and whether you will be expected to stand in one place, or move around.


What is the audience expecting to learn from you and your presentation?

Check how you will be ‘billed’ to give you clues as to what information needs to be included in your presentation.

All these aspects will change the presentation. For more on this, see our page on Deciding the Presentation Method.


The role of the presenter is to communicate with the audience and control the presentation.

Remember, though, that this may also include handing over the control to your audience, especially if you want some kind of interaction.

You may wish to have a look at our page on Facilitation Skills for more.



The audience receives the presenter’s message(s).

However, this reception will be filtered through and affected by such things as the listener’s own experience, knowledge and personal sense of values.

See our page: Barriers to Effective Communication to learn why communication can fail.



The message or messages are delivered by the presenter to the audience. 

The message is delivered not just by the spoken word (verbal communication) but can be augmented by techniques such as voice projection, body language, gestures, eye contact (non-verbal communication), and visual aids.

The message will also be affected by the audience’s expectations. For example, if you have been billed as speaking on one particular topic, and you choose to speak on another, the audience is unlikely to take your message on board even if you present very well. They will judge your presentation a failure, because you have not met their expectations.


The audience’s reaction and therefore the success of the presentation will largely depend upon whether you, as presenter, effectively communicated your message, and whether it met their expectations.

As a presenter, you don’t control the audience’s expectations. What you can do is find out what they have been told about you by the conference organisers, and what they are expecting to hear. Only if you know that can you be confident of delivering something that will meet expectations.



How will the presentation be delivered?

Presentations are usually delivered direct to an audience.  However, there may be occasions where they are delivered from a distance over the Internet using video conferencing systems, such as Skype.

It is also important to remember that if your talk is recorded and posted on the internet, then people may be able to access it for several years. This will mean that your contemporaneous references should be kept to a minimum.


Many factors can influence the effectiveness of how your message is communicated to the audience.

For example background noise or other distractions, an overly warm or cool room, or the time of day and state of audience alertness can all influence your audience’s level of concentration.

As presenter, you have to be prepared to cope with any such problems and try to keep your audience focussed on your message.  


The three P's of presentation


Confidence is a great selling point, feeling fully prepared when you go into a presentation is going to make you and your audience feel secure. When you are developing the content of your presentation, make sure you have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Make sure you understand the goals of the presentation; what do you and the audience need to get out of it? Ensure that you have your materials ready in plenty of time before you deliver, so you can set up quickly without adding to your nerves. Arrange them properly.Do the research nicely so that you can be having proper knowledge to deal with the topic concerned.



Ahead of the day, practice what you are going to say, either to a mirror or a tolerant friend. This will help you to refine the narrative, ensure you get timings correct and as a result, you will come across as prepared and competent. You will also be more familiar with the presentation, which will help to reduce your nerves on the day.



If you are presenting for the first time or simply delivering new material, you need to accept that it may not be perfect. I’m an experienced trainer but when delivering new material, I will need to practice and finesse new elements before and after delivery. Hopefully, all will go very well. But if it doesn’t, learn from it, change it, prepare and practice for next time.The day is very important.Keep yourself as confident as possible .Take the time factor seriously.Be ready to make some necessary changes in your rehearsed presentation as and when the situation arise.Keep the audience attached with your presentation by making it interactive,adding interesting facts,making it interesting and respect their time.


Here are some more tips on perfecting your presentation skills:


Breath is the engine of the voice, air from your lungs pass over your vocal cords and is transmitted to your audiences’ ears. So it is a good idea to breathe in before you speak.

Breathing is also a great way to combat nerves, a couple of good deep breaths before presenting increases oxygen in your system relaxing your muscles and energising your brain.



 Easier said than done, but if you follow the advice above it will help you to keep a level head and feel more in control of the situation. There are many relaxation techniques you can use to get you in the right frame of mind for presentation. Deep breathing, stretches and visualisation can really help to combat nerves.


Know your audience

Research your audience just as vigorously as your content. Tailor your content to them, if they are technical include appropriate jargon and technical detail; if they are non-technical then avoid jargon and try using plain language instead.

Also, try to pre-empt the questions you may be asked during and after the presentation, you can prepare answers for the most commonly asked questions so the flow of the presentation isn’t interrupted and you appear knowledgeable and confident.

The critical outcome of any presentation is that the audience understands your message and your goals.

Winston Churchill wrote all his speeches for the comprehension of a 12 year-old, as he understood the power of simple words. Never try to impress anyone with your vocabulary, impress them with your knowledge, experience and passion.

People also ask:

What is an example of a presentation skill?

Tell Stories in Your Presentations

Storytelling is one of the most effective presentation skills. Crowds love stories. They give great examples of what the presenter is talking about, and they earn that rapt attention which any presenter aims for much more easily.

What are 3 important segments of a presentation?

All types of presentations consist of three basic parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. In general, the introduction should be about 10-15% of your speaking time, the body around 75%, and the conclusion only 10%.

What are Presentation Skills for students?

Presentation Skills Tips for Students

  • The main points are your backbone of your presentation.
  • Do not read from your notes.
  • Prepare cue cards with key words on them.
  • Use visual aids like slides, charts and graphs to illustrate your points. ...
  • Dress appropriately for your presentation.
  • Speak clearly and loud enough for your audience to hear you.

What are presentation techniques?

Effective Presentation Techniques – The Top 8
  • Use visual aids. Using pictures in your presentations instead of words can double the chances of meeting your objectives.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Use the rule of three.
  • Rehearse.
  • Tell stories.
  • Lose the bullet points – don't put your speaker notes up on the screen.
  • Video yourself.
  • Have a back-up plan.

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