TIPS SHEET ON PRESENTING
1 DECIDE WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR PRESENTATION
Be clear on what’s needed for the purpose of the event
2 WORK OUT IN ADVANCE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO COVER
Only have a few main topic areas. It’s useful to group items for inclusion into three categories: MUST – items you
absolutely have to include – cover these first. SHOULD – items it would be great to include if time permits, but they
aren’t essential. COULD – items you can keep in reserve and talk about it if you have spare time at the end (dosn’t often
happen). These categories were also part of a systems/project management method developed by Dai Clegg in 1994.
3 HAVE A STRUCTURE
This will help you navigate what you say and will also help your audience understand the logic of your presentation.
One approach is the 4-Mat process – developed by Bernice McCarthy in 1972. This approach is based on learning
styles and covers the questions: WHY do I need to learn this, WHAT do I need to learn, HOW do I use the information,
WHAT IF I put this into operation. If you explain at the start that you’re going to cover all four of these issues, you’re
likely to take most of your audience with you. And in any case do have a beginning, middle and end to your presentation
– not just a continuous string of information.
4 HAVE A GREAT START
Begin with something that will make your audience sit up and listen. Maybe a question or fact that will intrigue them.
When you get their attention early on you are more likely to maintain it throughout.
5 LOOK AT YOUR AUDIENCE
Focus your attention on your audience. Let them see you are engaging with them and noticing them. If it’s a big
audience, focusing on a single person at a time, in different areas of the group, will make several people around the one
you’re looking at feel that you’re talking specifically to them as well. Avoid ‘scanning’ the audience and not focusing on
anyone at all.
6 MOVE ABOUT
Don’t stay rooted to one spot as this is boring, but avoid repetitive movements such as shifting your weight from one foot
to another, or taking a step forward and then a step back.
7 WEAR SOMETHING INTERESTING
Many people have a visual bias. If you wear something interesting – even just a colourful tie or scarf – it gives them a
focal point to look at. And wearing red, burgundy, coral or similar shades near your face can make you look more healthy
and energetic too.
8 SPEAK TO ONE OR TWO PEOPLE BEFORE YOU ‘OFFICIALLY’ START
If you’ve already spoken to some of your audience, it can make you – and them – feel more at ease, which is a great
9 THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE
People process things in different ways, so it’s great to have variety in your presentation. It’s useful to have some spoken
information, some visual information (displays, images, videos etc), some interactive elements (questions and answers,
activities etc) and possibly music or other sounds if appropriate. Also, when people ask questions, try to respond to them
in a way that ‘fits’ with how they phrased the question and what seems to motivate them (too much to cover here but do
get in touch if you’d like to know more about this). Vary your voice tonality so you don’t sound monotonous. Use pauses,
to give people time to absorb what you’re saying. Smile, so you seem friendly (unless you’re talking about an extremely
serious topic). And leave them with a positive feeling at the end of your session.
Set out to enjoy the experience. Believe people will benefit from what you do. Find learning points for yourself. Make
each presentation memorable. Have fun.