Creating and Preparing for a Presentation

There is a lot of hard work that goes into creating and preparing a presentation before you even deliver it. By preparing your content and creating clear visual aids you are helping to ensure a smooth presentation (even if you are nervous).

Give yourself enough time to prepare

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Before you begin, use an assignment tracker form or assignment calculator website to determine how much prep time you need. Guideline: plan to spend two hours on every 5% of your presentation.
Know your tech

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Make sure that you are comfortable using any technology that is part of your presentation.
Prepare for things that could go wrong

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Have a backup copy of your presentation in case technology fails. 

Information adapted from Algonquin College:


This video from Algonquin College may be helpful for you as you prepare your presentation:


Develop Your Content

  1. Brainstorm ideas.
  2. See where you need to fill in information and research your topic.
  3. Gather all your information and then organize it. Prepare an outline of how you want to present the information.
  4. Transfer the information to cue cards or a single sheet of paper. You can use these to support you during your presentation. Remember: You can’t read your presentation off of a script, so don’t write an essay. Instead, use bullet points to remind you of the next key point.
  5. Be sure to know the expected length of time for the presentation and plan accordingly. Make sure you have enough to say.

Create Your Visual Aids

  • Visual aids can take many forms, which means you can be creative! Other than PowerPoint you can use Prezi, posters, charts, hands-on samples, or demonstrations. Keep in mind that you should be comfortable using the tools you’ve chosen to create your visual aid.
  • If you are using slides, make them simple and uncluttered. Too much text or pictures per slide makes it hard for audience to digest all the information. This means you shouldn’t copy your entire speech onto your slides.
  • Have one or two slides for every 1-2 minutes you are speaking.
  • Slides should be large enough to be seen from the back of a room. Use a font size of at least 32.
  • Use colour and contrast (in moderation). Avoid yellow and orange because they are hard to see from a distance.

Delivering an Effective Presentation

  • Be aware of your non-verbal communication and use body language that shows confidence:
    • maintain good posture;
    • smile and act relaxed to make you look and feel more confident;
    • make eye contact with your audience instead of reading off your notes the entire time;
    • avoid distracting behaviours, such as chewing gum or fidgeting;
    • watch for nervous gestures, such as rocking or tapping;
    • make sure to dress appropriately for your profession.
  • Take time to think during your presentation: People have a tendency to speak more quickly under pressure. Make an effort to slow your pace and include pauses. Speaking slower will also help you avoid excessive verbal fillers like “ummm” or “ahhhh.”
  • Pay attention to your volume: Think about projecting your voice to the back of the classroom so that everyone can hear what you have to say.
  • Try to speak clearly so that your audience can easily understand your words
  • Avoid lecturing: By incorporating more than a speech into your presentation, you’ll be better able to hold your audience’s attention. Try using visuals, asking questions, or doing activities.

Managing Anxiety

  • Take a moment before you begin to take some deep breaths. Good breathing helps calm your body.
  • Remember to speak clearly and not too quickly: deliberately slowing yourself down will also help with anxiety.
  • Practice giving your presentation: to yourself, group members, family members, pets, houseplants. Repetition will make you more comfortable with your presentation and less anxious.


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