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Author: ADMIN (ukstudent at gmail dot com)
Published: Wed, 13-Apr-2005
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TIPS ON MAKING PRESENTATIONS. Article by University of Kent Careers Advisory Service

As part of an extended interview/selection centre you may be asked to give a short presentation. Usually you choose the topic from a list which may include your hobbies, a recent holiday, a current affairs topic or one of your achievements, or sometimes you may be asked to make a presentation on a case study you have previously done as part of the extended interview. The purpose is not to test your subject knowledge, but to see how well you can speak in public. Typically you will be asked to talk for five minutes, and will be given 20 or 30 minutes beforehand to prepare.


• Smile.
• Speak clearly and confidently, and not too fast. Use your voice to emphasise points – don't talk in a monotone the whole time.
• Keep within the allotted time for your talk.
• Look at everyone in the audience from time to time, not just at your notes. Try to involve everyone, not just those directly in front of you.
• You could try to involve your audience by asking them a question.
• Don't read out your talk, as this sounds boring and stilted, but refer to brief notes jotted down on small pieces of card.
• It’s OK to use humour, in moderation, but better to use anecdotes than to rattle off a string of jokes.
• Take along a wristwatch to help you keep track of time – the assessor may cut you off as soon as you have used the time allocated, whether or not you have finished.
• It can be helpful to practise at home – in front of a mirror or a friend.


Have a beginning, middle and an end:


• Welcome the audience.
• Say what your presentation will be about.
• The introduction should catch the attention. Perhaps a provocative statement or a humorous anecdote:
 “Genetically-modified crops could save millions of people from starvation”
 “The first day of my vacation job went with a bang, but it wasn't my fault that the microwave exploded.

The Middle should outline your argument or develop your story

• In five minutes you will only have time for two or three main points. List your main headings and any key phrases you will use.


• Briefly summarise your main points.
• Answer any questions.
• Thank the audience for listening.
• The end should be on a strong or positive note – not tailing away to “..well that's all I've got to say so thank you very much for listening ladies and gentlemen”. You could try something along these lines:
 “Hang-gliding is brilliant, so try it – you'll believe a man can fly!”
 “The danger is increasing – if we don't all act soon it could be too late!

The above has been neatly summarised as "Tell them what you will tell them(introduction), tell them(development), tell them what you told them(conclusion)".

In preparing your talk, first jot down any interesting points you want to include in your talk, put these in a logical sequence, then try to find an interesting title, and a good introduction and ending.


You may be allowed to use an overhead projector(OHP), data projector, or flip chart as part of your talk, If you think that you might like to use one, then it's wise to try to practice on one beforehand so you know what you are doing!
• Stand to one side of the projector/flipchart, so the audience can see the material.
• Face and speak to your audience, not the screen.
• Don't use too many transparencies/ sheets of paper - two or three should be sufficient for a short presentation.
• Don't try to write too much on each -twenty to thirty words in large letters is quite sufficient for one transparency. Use note form rather than full sentences.
• If using Powerpoint use the Format|Apply design template command. Gives you a wide range of nicely preformatted slide designs to choose from and saves you a lot of time.


The following has been used by the University of Kent Careers Service in Presentation Skills workshops. It may give you some idea on the areas assossors may be marking you on in an assessed presentation.

When giving feedback, try to be constructive and specific e.g. don't say ``That wasn't a very good presentation'', say ``I think you need to raise your voice next time as I couldn't hear you very well''. Be tactful and encouraging -remember that this might be the person's first attempt at speaking in public.


Use of hands -too much/too little?
Eye contact with audience none/some of audience/everyone?
Standing still/ moving around/ standing up straight or slouching?
Position in relation to audience?
Mannerisms -shrugs etc?


Slow or fast speech?
Monotonous or varying voice?
Use of humour?


Well structured and following a logical sequence?
Did it have an introduction and conclusion?
Did they finish within time limit?
Was the talk too simple or too complex and jargon-filled?
Was it interesting?
Was the speaker enthusiastic, serious, confident?
Were notes used? Were they read out, or just used for key points?
Were questions asked or invited? If so were they handled well?
Did the audience seem involved?


Was an OHP, blackboard, Powerpoint or other props used?
Were they used well? Did they add to the talk?

© Copyright for this article belongs to University of Kent Careers Advisory Service.

This document was re-printed with the kind permission of Bruce Woodcock. Original Source of the article is located here: http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/presentationskills.htm

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