We compiled seven essential tips for creating and giving a good presentation for your homework, group project, or academic research in school or university. If you are already not a student, we believe those will improve your next business presentation just as well.
Give a good opening
Your first slide will likely give an important impression to the audience, and these precious first seconds will likely affect how the audience sees your presentation when listening.
As the presentation itself, it should be informative but easy to understand. Here are the important elements to include in the first slide:
- Title. Make the text font big enough and don’t be afraid to add accents. Your title should be easy to read and remember.
- Subtitle. Describe the topic in more detail to help the audience fully understand it.
- Names of the speakers. When you introduce yourself in speech, people who don’t know you can easily forget how to address you.
- Date of presentation.
Begin with structure
The cornerstone of every successful presentation is structure. No matter how well you understand the topic and what materials you prepared for illustrating your speech, it is essential to organize your narrative and let the audience comfortably perceive and digest the information.
First, you may list the chapters of your presentation in one of the opening slides to let your audience know what they will learn. You can use a simple bulleted or numbered list, or create a table if your structure is rather complex.
Then, follow this structure throughout the presentation to help yourself and others navigate through it. Mention the name of the chapter on each slide to make it more clear which part it belongs to. Give each page a number, so people can easily refer to any part when asking questions or go back to any slide to revise it.
The structure of the presentation not only helps people follow you but also is a great way to kickstart the creation of the presentation itself. With a good skeleton, it will be easier for you to organize large volumes of findings.
More slides, less content
Keep your slides brief and only include the important points. The audience follows your speech where you should give all the details, while the slides help show connections between subjects and events you describe and important visual information such as schemes and images.
Try to avoid including full sentences and paragraphs, because they will be hard to follow. Instead, include content that is harder to confirm and memorize while listening, such as names and numbers.
Short text also allows you to make fonts bigger and more visible to everyone. This is especially important when you present in the big room where people who sit further back don’t see everything as well as people in the front seats.
Remember that the actual number of slides is not related to the length of your presentation, so it is better to use several lightweight slides instead of one information-heavy slide.
Stick to the 10-20-30 rule
In general, presentation is based on three main factors: information, time, and accessibility. It is believed that the successful presentation fits within the following frameworks:
- It should contain no more than 10 slides/topics because the average person is not able to digest more than 10 concepts at the lecture or meeting, and there’s a great risk all your work will be in vain if you give people too much to think about.
- It should be a maximum of 20 minutes long because it is hard to retain attention longer without a break.
- The fonts should be at least 30 points big to let people comfortably read them, given that everyone has a different vision and distance from the screen.
Keep the grip on attention
The attention span of people is surprisingly short, and it affects the consumption of information very much even if the person is interested in the topic. Let alone clip thinking pattern that more and more people are affected by due to the drastic increase in the amount of information in our daily life.
Especially if your presentation is long and contains a lot of new information, people are very likely to get distracted (or sleepy). It is important to add short breaks and attention-grabbing elements:
- Pause before new chapters and important parts.
- Insert short wake-up questions. For example, ask the audience about their experiences or opinions related to the topic.
- Add diverse content to slides: images, videos, animations, or bright schemes.
The best way to let your listeners memorize what you have presented is to add conclusions. Adding a summary after the presentation is a must while adding short conclusions on the slides or at least in your speech after each chapter helps alike.
Prepare notes for your speech
Having a well-prepared text and notes will help you prepare the speech and stay more confident when presenting. Depending on your ability, you can print out or save to your mobile device a more detailed speech text, or just add brief bullets that will help you remember the main points.
But don’t overestimate yourself. When stressed, you may lose your ability to improvize, as well as forget the necessary details.
Tip: Not everyone has a good memory, and not always is there a luxury to use physical notes during the speech. In this case, ONLYOFFICE Docs has Presenter Mode functionality where you can add helpful notes below the slide that will only be visible on the computer from where you stream the presentation. It also allows you to navigate between the slides, follow the timer, and use a pointer.
Build stunning presentations with free ONLYOFFICE solutions on your computer or in the browser: