Tips for Creating a Great Presentation

There are many kinds of advice people will offer you on how to plan and deliver great presentations. Here are some guidelines, briefly summarized and explained further in the linked PDF files.

1. Choosing a Topic and Developing Your Idea:

Brainstorm topic ideas: What are you interested in?

The number of possible topics is nearly infinite — truly! Take a look at the list of possible topics to get a few ideas… Ask yourself questions like these:

  • If you could study anything what would it be?
  • What interesting hobbies or interests do you have outside of school?
  • What topic or project have you done at school that was very interesting and you would like to know more about?

Here are 3 worksheets (104 KB PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader) to help you brainstorm ideas.

Choose your topic… Settle on something that excites you.

2. Planning and Preparing for a Great Presentation:

  • A Planning Guide for Presentations:
    • Step-by-Step Planning — The Opening:
      1. Get the audience’s attention
      2. Greet the audience
      3. Introduce yourself
      4. Give title and introduce subject of presentation
      5. Explain your objectives (purpose, aims, goals)
    • Step-by-Step Planning — The Body of Your Presentation:
      1. Keep outline simple: 2–3 main ideas
      2. Quantity: Provide enough information to clearly develop/explain those main ideas—but don’t get bogged down in too many details.
      3. Sequence your ideas in a logical order, which could be: chronological, from general to specific, known to unknown, etc.
      4. Keep the audience’s attention
      5. Use “signal phrases” to let your audience know where you are in the presentation.
    • Step-by-Step Planning — The Ending:
      1. Brief summary and reminder of main points
      2. Short conclusion: “therefore…” or “Now we see that…”
      3. Thank the audience
      4. Leave time for Q & A: Questions & Answers
    • A few Other Pointers:
      1. Have visuals and/or props (graphs, charts, photos, slideshow, video/film…)
      2. Use body language successfully (eye contact, facial expressions, posture, movements, gestures…)
      3. Plan ahead! Arrive early to be prepared!
      4. Pace your presentation so that it’s lively, interesting, but not rushed.

    Read the full article (477 KB 5-page PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader)

    Some YouTube Videos That May Help:

    • Present Like Steve Jobs
      This is a very professional and thorough video that is 6:55 minutes long. Geared towards business audiences, but interesting — using Steve Jobs’ promotion of Apple products as the example.
    • How to Give a Good Presentation
      College students produced this short video that covers the most important presentation tips. Student acting makes it interesting as well.
    • Presentation skills – How to improve your presentations
      Shows a poor example followed by a good example of the same speech content.
    • Improve your presentation skills
      This short video uses drama, visuals and sound effects only and will probably be very well received by students. Might be a great way to begin a conversation about presentation skills.
    • Body Language at Work
      Similar to video above in that there is no speaking. Visuals, music and written language with advice on body language. Only a minute and a half.

    Presentation Tips for Public Speaking:

    • Know your material
    • Put what you have to say in a logical sequence
    • Practice and rehearse your speech
    • Body language is important
    • Speak with conviction
    • Do not read from notes
    • Maintain sincere eye contact
    • Speak to your audience, listen to their questions, respond to their reactions, adjust and adapt
    • Pause
    • Add humor whenever appropriate
    • When using audio-visual aids to enhance your presentation, be sure all necessary equipment is set up and in good working order prior to the presentation
    • Have handouts ready
    • Know when to STOP talking
    • To end your presentation, summarize your main points in the same way as you normally do in the CONCLUSION of a written paper

    Read the full article (24 KB 2-page PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader)

    10 Tips for a Killer Presentation:

    1. Don’t over-do your visuals
    2. Look at the audience
    3. Show your personality
    4. Make them laugh
    5. Talk to your audience, not at them
    6. Be honest
    7. Don’t over prepare
    8. Show some movement
    9. Watch what you say
    10. Differentiate yourself

    Read the full article (15 KB 1-page PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader)

    Tips for Oral Presentations

    • Timing — Make it flow smoothly, not too rushed, with time for Q & A at the end
    • Content — Plan it well, such as:
      1. Introduction — Who you are, what the presentation is about (2–3 min.)
      2. Background — What do they need to know (vocab etc.) in order to understand your presentation (0–5 min.)
      3. Main Ideas — The “meat” of your presentation (10–20 min.)
      4. Conclusion — (2–3 min.)
    • Form — What you say (content) is communicated by how you say it: the form. Make every word count; make your visuals clear and compelling.
    • One final suggestion: relax! (Of course you’ll be nervous, but breath deeply, relax and have fun! You’ll do just fine.)

    Read the full article (27 KB 2-page PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader)

    18 Tips for Killer PowerPoint Presentations:

    • 10-20-30 Rule (10 slides, 20 minutes, no smaller than 30 pt. font)
    • Be Entertaining
    • Slow Down
    • Eye Contact
    • 15 Word Summary
    • 20-20 Rule (another rule for limiting the length of your show: 20 slides, each lasting just 20 seconds—which equals around 7 minutes)
    • Don’t Read
    • Speeches are About Stories
    • Project Your Voice
    • Don’t Plan Gestures
    • “That’s a Good Question”
    • Breathe In Not Out
    • Come Early, Really Early
    • Get Practice
    • Don’t Apologize
    • Do Apologize if You’re Wrong
    • Put Yourself in the Audience
    • Have Fun

    Read the full article (18 KB 2-page PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader)


    • It’s best to practice several times, with an audience of friends or family, people who will be polite and encouraging, but also give you honest constructive feedback to help you improve.
    • If you’re too nervous or embarrassed to practice in front of people, start by practicing to yourself. But practice for real: speak loudly and clearly, maybe in front of a mirror so you can watch yourself, see what you look like… But since your real presentation will of course be in front of an audience, you should make sure to practice in front of other people before the day of the conference!
    • Practice it several times, and work on timing: when to go faster, when to slow down.
    • Time yourself and see how long your presentation is. The workshop sessions are 15 minutes, and your plan for those 15 minutes should be something like this:
      • 1-2 minutes in the beginning to start late, introduce yourself, get started…
      • A 10-minute presentation
      • 2-3 minutes for questions & answers at the end