TIPS SHEET2 ON PRESENTING
1 KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
2 You need to know who you’ll be presenting to. Why are they attending? What do they need/want to know? How much
do they already know about your subject.
3 KNOW YOUR SUBJECT
It’s much easier to present on a topic you know well. If your subject isn’t one you’re very familiar with, you’ll need to do
more research and limit the content so you can cope with what you’re going to cover.
4 PLAN YOUR SESSION
Decide what you need to cover; splitting items into those that are essential, those that are optional and those that are ‘fillers’
is a good way of working out what is most important and what you can include, or leave out, depending on the time you
actually take on the day. Work out any activities you want to include. Think about how long the session will be and do a
timetable showing when you want to start each element and the maximum time you have to spend on it.
5 GET YOUR MATERIALS TOGETHER
Make sure you collect all the things you need – notes, handouts, laptop if you’re doing something that requires projection.
Also some water, something to make notes on and any ‘props’ you intend to use during your session. Also any reference
material you may need if the session requires it. And if you need notes, make them short and just bullet points – you won’t
be able to read long notes and, if you do, it will pull you away from your audience.
6 MANAGE YOURSELF
Wear something comfortable and suitable for the occasion. Something colourful near your face (scarf, tie, jewellery) is good
as it gives people a focal point to look at and, if it’s a reddish tone, can make you look more energetic. In advance of the
session, do some mental exercises to imagine it going well – your mind will believe it already has, which is a really good
thing. Remember to breathe! And pausing is good too – not for too long, but if you do pause briefly after making points it
gives your audience time to absorb what you’ve said and also gives you time to breathe and think.
7 MANAGE YOUR AUDIENCE
Tell your audience what to expect from the session – format, timing, activities, when you’ll take questions etc. Look at
them while speaking. Avoid repetitive mannerisms. Deal with questions in a positive manner. If possible, speak to a few of
the people before you start, as it helps build a good relationship.
8 SPEAK NATURALLY
It’s fine to project things for your audience to see – although usually you should limit the number of visuals and the amount
of text on them. You should also NOT read out loud what’s on a projection – it’s unnecessary and often annoys people.
The visuals are not prompts for you, but useful information for your audience.
9 CONSIDER YOUR LANGUAGE
When speaking, or answering questions, think about the words you use. Where possible keep your language simple – most
people don’t like to admit if there’s something they don’t understand, but nobody should be offended by simplicity. Also, use
your questioners’ words when replying. For example, if someone asks what you think the most ‘important’ issue is; use
‘important’ in your response – don’t substitute another word, such as ‘prominent’, for example – people’s actual words mean
something to them.
10 ALLOW TIME FOR A CONCLUSION
If you’re inexperienced, or over-enthusiastic, it can be easy to run out of time during a session. Make sure you allow time for
a summary of what you’ve covered, any final questions, any feedback forms to be completed and so on. A relaxed and
informative end to the session can leave participants feeling positive about the experience.
11 LEARN FROM THE EVENT
Each time you present there can be lessons to learn. Take some time afterwards to reflect, to assess and to think about
what you could do better next time. There’s always something to learn from – however well or badly the presentation
went. Aim to improve next time – even if it was a great success.