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Presentation Feedback- What makes for an excellent presentation?

Hopefully you have taken the chance to watch a few of the presentations on the previous page. Whilst the qualities of an excellent presentation are to some extent, subjective, there are a number of tips and tricks which you can use to make sure your presentation is as informative, entertaining and memorable as possible.

Make sure the audience can see you!

Effective presenters engage with their audience. This is very difficult to do if you are hiding behind a computer reading notes from your slides, or reading from a piece of paper! When you present, try to use as few notes as possible, and make sure you make eye contact with people in the audience. This can feel a bit scary and artificial at first, but it helps you to gauge the audience's reaction to what you are saying and tailor your presentation accordingly. Don't be afraid to move around the stage (if you are presenting from one).

Use your body language and tone of voice to maintain interest in what you are saying

When you are presenting you should try to make your body language as open as possible (i.e. don't fold your arms, if you are sitting, don't cross your legs). Make sure you vary your tone of voice- when people are nervous they tend to speak quickly or mumble in a monotone. Watch your video and reflect on how you come across.

Keep to time

If you are given a certain amount of time to present (for example, as part of an interview) make sure that you stick to the time you are alloted. When you are given a topic to present on, try to pick the most interesting and relevant details, rather than attempting to cover everything there is to say. A good example of this can be found by looking at the presentations given in response to Question 3- Are the proposals in the Defamation Bill sound? Do they go far enough? An excellent presentation would identify briefly the key changes the Defamation Bill makes to existing law, before evaluating whether they are adequate rather than attempting to describe the Bill in its entirety.

Don't be a slave to powerpoint!

The creative presentation here is a great example of how to use Powerpoint effectively to support your arguments. Don't feel you have to write everything you are planning on saying on your slides! Doing this means people pay less attention to you and what you are saying. Think about how you feel when you are watching a presentation- how many times have you read to the end of a slide before the presenter gets there only to feel bored and frustrated that they haven't finished yet? Avoid inflicting this on the people you are presenting to- slides should be visual aids, not crutches.

An alternative to Powerpoint, which some of the best presentations used is Prezi (click on the link to sign up). It is free to educational users, and whilst it may take a bit of practice to get right, offers the opportunity for you to put together a more dynamic and exciting visual aid.

Be creative!

Don't be afraid to stand out!

  • Use visual aids and props (such as the handout presenters in Group 4 produced as part of their presentation in response to Question 1)
  • Incorporate role play where appropriate (see the presentation produced by Group Euro 1 for a great example). One proviso- if you choose to do this is that you must make sure all those involved in the role play are fully committed to remaining in character for the duration of the role play. If you appear embarrassed, or uncomfortable, the effectiveness of the role play is compromised.
  • Think about using examples, video footage and photographs to bring your presentation to life.