Do you give presentations for your job or studies? Maybe you haven’t before, but need to soon. Here we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you prepare so that you can communicate effectively in English.
It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people don’t prepare properly for their presentations.
- The best way to give a presentation is with media such as Powerpoint, but there are other methods, such as using a projector with slides, or a board. ALWAYS make sure that the room is equipped with whatever technology you plan on using, and that it works. There is nothing more embarrassing than realising the computer is broken at the last minute, or that your laptop won’t connect with the overhead projector!
- This leads us on to another point. Your visual presentation should be a summary of what you say. It should be short points or phrases. Don’t put everything you plan to say on your presentation, or there is no point in you talking!
- Think about the setting. Is it large or small? Are people going to be sitting for a long time through your presentation, or will it be quick? Will you have to raise your voice to be heard, or will there be a microphone? Will everyone be able to see your presentation?
- Who is your presentation for? Colleagues? Students? Customers? Are you explaining, persuading, summarising, informing? Make sure you use the right language for the right group of people.
- Spend time rehearsing. Practice saying your presentation aloud to yourself. Do you feel comfortable saying it? Ask a friend or family member whether your presentation is understandable. Make sure you get someone else’s opinion before your presentation.
- What visual aids will you use? Does your presentation include pictures? Will you communicate information using charts or graphs? If so, make sure they are easy-to-understand. You do not want to waste time explaining images that nobody but you can understand!
- Always try to give the audience a handout, so that they can remember the main points of your presentation. Again, try to make this simple, so that when they look at it after your presentation, they remember and understand.
- Make sure your presentation has a clear beginning, middle and ending! State what your purpose is in the beginning, and what you will talk about. Refer to questions – do you want your audience to wait until the end to ask questions, or are you happy to be asked at any time? The middle should contain all the information you want to convey, in clear, easy-to-manage sections. Finish with one point before you move on to another. Don’t mix up your information. The ending should be a summary. DON’T include any new information here!
- Finally, try to use some ‘signpost’ language. Signposts on the road tell you where you are. Signpost language tells your audience where in the presentation you are. Phrases such as ‘firstly’, ‘next’, ‘moving on’, ‘as I will explain later’, ‘ as I have already mentioned’, ‘to summarise’, ‘any questions?’, and ‘my next point is’ are helpful to you and your audience because they make your information clearer.