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Polish Your Professional Skills: Creating a Presentation: Start Here

How do I get started on my presentations?

  • Consult your course outline to determine the specific criteria for the presentation.
  • Determine what the purpose of the presentation is (to inform, teach, discuss, convince, or demonstrate your knowledge, etc.)
  • Check how much time is allotted for the presentation.
  • Establish who your audience is and consider how familiar they will be with the subject area you are presenting.
  • Gather information keeping purpose and audience in mind. 
  • Determine how marks will be allocated for the presentation, and if a rubric has been provided, review it frequently to ensure you’re meeting the project requirements. 

How should I structure my presentation?

  • Check to see what guidelines your instructor has provided about their expectations.
  • Presentations usually have three basic sections: the opening, the body, and the conclusion.
  • Open the presentation by establishing the topic and its relevance.
  • The body of the presentation can be organized many ways, such as chronologically, topical grouping, question and answer, or journal article format.
  • The presentation should have a logical flow from one idea to the next.
  • The conclusion ties the presentation together with the main idea the audience should take away.

How do I effectively use visual aids?

  • Slides, images, videos, charts, graphs, etc. can be beneficial when used effectively.
  • Slides are there to emphasize your oral presentation; do not put everything you are going to say on the slides.
  • Use clear headings that alert the audience to key concepts.
  • Ensure all images, graphs, charts, and videos are relevant and necessary.
  • Try the 6x6 rule: limit slides to 6 or fewer words on 6 or fewer lines of text.
  • Make sure text and background colours are compatible and legible.

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