08 Mar 2019

What makes a great presentation

Some Hints & Tips  

Have you ever seen a great presentation that feels like magic? Something that really grabbed your attention and taught you something special. A lot of credit for these presentations has to go to the person giving it, but there are still some elements that go into every great talk or presentation. Here’s what goes into making – and giving – a good presentation.

  • Slide Length

The slides in your presentation should be kept minimal. No one wants to put too much information into their slides. Try to keep things under 30 words per slide. When presenting to an audience, give them a little time to read the slide before you start talking. A key aspect of presentation skills is also talking to the audience and not to the slides. So having short-length slides helps here too because there’s less to remember.

  • Handling Nerves

Nerves are a natural part of public speaking but there are ways to overcome your fear and be more confident. Make sure that you are as prepared as possible. Check out the venue and get a feel for your audience – especially the key stakeholders. Knowing the audience and catering to them increases the odds of engaging them and getting them to buy in to your idea.

  • Body Language

It’s not so much what you say, but how you say it. Body language helps you look more confident and makes any presentation more engaging. It also makes you more agreeable to the audience. Make sure that you maintain proper posture during the presentation. Stand upright and don’t block the slides. Don’t block the audience either. Make sure that everyone in the room, especially those at the back, can hear you nice and clear. Avoid pacing or fidgeting and for the love of all things sacred don’t do jazz hands. Just don’t. Also don’t hold your notes or a drink as it makes it harder to hide that your hands are shaking (assuming they are).

  • Handling Questions

Giving a presentation means engaging the audience and taking questions from them. Don’t be afraid to repeat the question back if you have a lot of people in the audience. Not everyone might have heard it. Break down any long or garbled questions into smaller ones. Avoid saying things like “good question” and “I thought you might ask that” (that just means you knew something was missing from the presentation. If you anticipate questions, put the answers in the presentation). Questions should come at the end of the presentation to avoid being interrupted and having your flow disrupted.

  • Dealing with Difficult People

Taking questions is good, but taking too many questions from one person is bad. Being bombarded with questions is going to mess with your nerves, and it could mean other people miss out on their chance. If someone is being difficult and asking too many questions there are a few things you can do. Answer their question politely and then break eye contact with them for one. Also ask for questions from the other side of the room if you want to move on.

  • General Rules

Keep to time when giving your presentation! Practice giving your presentation ahead of time, ideally in the room that you’ll give the actual presentation in. Make sure that all of the technology (projectors, computers, etc.) are running properly, and have paper copies of your slides ready.


Giving a presentation can be a scary prospect. There are some things you can do to be more confident and engaging though. If you need any help becoming a better presentation giver, then we do offer a Presentation Skills Workshop where you can learn everything there is to know about giving the very best presentations.

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