Don’t Be That Horrible Presenter: Some Tips For A Better Presentation

Today is my last day of summer school before I start my last undergraduate semester. Like always, being a communication/PR major, we are expected to have at least one presentation in each course. I’ve been doing presentations for just about every class throughout my undergraduate, and in high school, it was nothing foreign either. Though I still get nervous at times, I feel I know at least the basics of presentation etiquette. After noticing some mistakes I did myself and watching my classmates give their presentations, I started writing down some tips that may help future presenters.

  1. Speak up, don’t be shy. I sit in the back row and find myself struggling to figure out the words coming out of some presenter’s mouths (in a normal sized classroom). Speak up, don’t rush, and everything will feel more comfortable & natural. Plus, people won’t tune out if they can hear you clearly.
  2. If there’s a podium, don’t slouch over it or hide behind it. Slouching is unprofessional and hiding behind a podium lowers your confidence, which will result in a horrible presentation. Plus, is will probably make you look like a slacker.
  3. “Uhm, What was that again?”. We are all guilty of saying “uhm”, but once you’ve said it one too many times, it is clear that you have no clue what your presentation is about. It make’s you look unprepared and makes people uninterested in your topic.
  4. Don’t Read Off Your Notes. Do a run through of your presentation beforehand so you don’t find yourself reading off your notes and looking down the whole presentation. This is also a sign that you are clearly unprepared. Practice and your presentation will sound more conversational. People like conversational–BUT do not memorize.
  5. Make sure your slides are readable. If there is anything I took away from my presentational speaking course my freshman year was that you should not have more than 40 words in each slide. Don’t paste a whole paragraph of information on your slide and read off of it. People will tune out. Additionally, don’t use colors and gradients on your slide that are overly bright and make it hard to look at it.
  6. Know how to pronounce names & words that are big deals in your presentation. If you can’t pronounce the name of the person you are presenting on, you are clearly, again, unprepared. Make sure you know names and main themes of your presentation, because no one will get what you’re talking about if you don’t. Practice, Practice, Practice.
  7. Don’t show videos/images that make people cringe. One classmate of mine had several images that kept appearing in her slides that made people cringe and look away. If your audience cannot wait for your presentation to be over, reconsider what you are posting.

Of course, I am not an expert at presentations, but I hope these few things can help others (as well as myself). I know that by looking at what other people can improve on helps me improve on them as well.

What are your presentation tips? Please, share them!

Also, does any one have tips to ease presenters of the nerves before giving presentations? I would love to post them.


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