How do I plan my presentation?

Are you nervous about presenting to a large audience?

Having problems with content that is clear and easy-to-understand?

To help with these points, it is important to do a lot of preparation in advance.  Being well prepared will result in clearer content.  It will also help you feel more confident on the day.  Below are some stages that you can follow to help you with your preparation.

1. Pre-planning
Decide on a few simple key points you want to communicate to the audience.  These are your most important points, and most audiences will only remember around 2-3.  While doing this, think carefully about the type of audience you are presenting to.  Who are they?  What is their level of knowledge on the topic?  Also think about how much time you have to present.

2. Make an outline
Make a simple plan about what you want to say in each stage of your presentation.  Also, think about how much time you want use in each stage.  When finished, recheck and revise your outline to make sure all the information is connected to your key points.

3. Make visuals
Now that you have a clear idea of your content, create some simple and easy-to-understand visuals (eg. PowerPoint slides) to help the audience understand your key points.  When finished, check your visuals  and make sure all of the content is related to your key points.  Be careful not to put too much information (or writing) on them.  Also, check your visuals carefully for mistakes (spelling/grammar etc.).  If possible, have colleagues also check them.

4. Rehearse presentation
Practise the presentation a number of times.  Check your time is within the time-limits.  If possible, get feedback on your presentation from your colleagues.  If you are practising alone, try video-recording your presentation (eg. on your smartphone) and check it yourself.  Be extra careful that you’re not speaking too quickly and your body language is appropriate.  Be sure you are making some eye-contact with the audience.

5. Do final presentation
It’s presentation day!  Try to get the venue or room early to check everything you need is there.  If you have time at the end of the presentation, give the audience a chance to ask questions or make comments.  If you don’t have time, let the audience know how to contact you later. This is also a great chance to do networking.

6. Post-analysis
Well done!  You survived the presentation!  After finishing, it’s important to think about how you can improve your presenting for next time.  Think about the things you can do better next time.  Also, think about the things you did well.   If possible, get more feedback from your colleagues.

Extra tip!!

Do you get nervous when presenting?  When practising, try and create similar conditions and pressure you will have on the presentation day.  For example, practise in a room with a large screen, use a timer and a pointer.  If you can, practice in front of colleagues.  If not, imagine an audience is in front of you. This will make you feel more confident on the day.

Other resources/links
A.  Some other points to consider when presenting

Presentation evaluation check-list (pdf)

B. Other links on presenting

1. Useful phrases for presentations

2. Presentation examples (videos links)

3. Ideas on explaining things clearly

B.  Useful links on preparing research presentations:

1.  Visuals  (video time 0:00-25:30min)

2.  Organization  (video time 25:30-42:00min)

3.  Delivery

4.  Other tips for presenting 

5.  Course resources

6.  Ten Secrets to Giving a Good Scientific Talk

7.  Bath’s Random Tips for Scientific Presentations