Presentation tips (please suggest)

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Presentation tips (please suggest)

Post by escapee » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:16 pm

Following on from the thread suggesting tips for first years. I thought itd be a good idea to have a thread for presentation tips.

If everyone posts their tips I'll amalgamate them into a wiki :)

So to start off I was recently told that when you say erm in a presentation what you're really trying to do is to fill in all of the spaces and a much better strategy is to breathe instead. This makes the presentation much easier to listen to and makes you sound more professional.
Last edited by escapee on Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by eponymous85 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:32 pm

Great idea!

Keep it simple
Leave space for questions
Don't overcrowd your PowerPoint slides - at v least font size 14!
Copy your presentation to the desktop, don't run it off a memory stick
Use tasks to break the ice/keep people interested

Personal niggles of mine - keep to time and don't make assumptions about your audience!
The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many layered thing.

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Post by choirgirl » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:25 pm

eponymous85 wrote:Copy your presentation to the desktop, don't run it off a memory stick
Also - save your presentation in at LEAST 2 formats, just in case your uni's stupid Mac network doesn't recognise Windows PowerPoint 2007 and forces the entire cohort to go running to the computer room to re-save their presentations as Windows 97-2003 (thereby ruining the layout of many slides) :evil: ..... :roll: :wink:
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Post by katyboo » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:35 am

remember to introduce yourself!
give learning aims and a good introduction
tell people what you're going to tell them and after you've done it- tell them what you told them in a conclusion!
don't ream off loads of statistics
speak slowly and clearly and smile!
sit down if it makes you feel more confident
invite people to contribute if you'r ehappy with this- but if not ask for questions to wait until the end
dont put silly pictures in to illustrate a point( grrrrr - pet hate is a pic of pills when talkign about drug addiction!)and dont use loads of animationin the slides or silly slide transitions- just not necessary and often distracts from your talk!

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Post by schizometric » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:01 pm

Thanks for starting this thread and the contributions so far. I have to give my first real presentation ever (somehow either I blocked the painful memories of doing this at undergrad out, or never actually had to do one, for one reason or another) as a trainee in a couple of weeks and these tips are really helpful :D I am a really awful public speaker. :oops:
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Post by e » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:27 pm

I always get a dry mouth when Im nervous so I make sure I have a glass or bottle of water. (although a glass is less fiddly)
I felt like I was drinking loads and that it made me look nervous by constantly drinking, but was told after that by taking a drink it just made me look relaxed and confident!

Also imagine your the audience- what would you want to hear about?

Another good point that I took from someone elses presentation is to open up and lead questioning at the end - they used like their own questions that others could try answering. -What do you think we could do next? etc. That way there might be less of a focus on you answering correct answers.

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Post by othello » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:08 pm

Know your audience and target the presentation at the right level accordingly, or if thats not possible check in with people at the start. Its frustrating to have something pitched at a level thats either too basic or way above your level of understanding.

Keep it interactive to keep people's interest. But I would say make sure any activities meaningful rather than "filler"!

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Post by h2eau » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:01 pm

As someone has already said, its really important to use a large font size that people at the back will be able to read.

Don't have reams and reams of text, you should be able to summarise the content into a few key points for the slides. You are there to explain these and talk about them, not read things off the slide (people could do that themselves). This also helps you be more natural and engaging, as you are talking and explaining things to your audience rather than concentrating on reading things out. The text should just be 'anchor points' to focus your audience.

Make it easy for your audience to take in the information by using clear slides in a basic font (fancy things are hard to read and take longer to process). Also make sure that your background and text are highly contrasted to make them easier to read. Apparently comic sans is one of the most difficult fonts to read, something like Arial is much easier.

Represent information visually where possible (e.g. chart, diagram, table, figure, etc.) to simplify it and make things easier for your audience to take in.

Practise with someone who you feel comfortable with, who can give you constructive feedback. This will also help you work out timings.

When it comes to the actual presentation, look at a point that is at the back of the audience, in the centre and it will look like you're looking at them.

Personally, I don't give handouts until after a presentation (but I say at the beginning that I will do this, so people don't need to take notes) as it often distracts people.

Above all, talk to your audience and interact with them, there's nothing more boring than someone reading things off busy slides that are crammed with information! There's some really good examples of effective presentations on the TED talks website (the content is really interesting too!), which are good for observing good presenters and noticing what they do well so you can try and develop these skills in your own presentations.
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Post by faz121 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:55 pm

Adding to what everyone else has said...don't read the slides verbatim (this really bugs me as the person is just reading what I have just read from the screen and doesn't add anything to it). I think the best slides are those with a few points which the presenter elaborates on and talks around.

Don't mention a theory/model/study that you have not explained, it's nice for the audience to know what you're talking about!

Use examples of clinical situations and/or case studies if possible as it generates discussion and makes the topic come 'alive' or it does for me anyway!

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Post by greendog » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:16 am

It is nice to use a bit of humour - and if people laugh it can really help to relax you and to get them on your side. HOWEVER - in my experience most of what you say is never as funny or well recieved as you think it might be. Then when you get deadly silence it can knock your confidence a bit. My advice would be to think carefully before using humour. Having said that I have seen it used very well.

Remember people are (usually) there watching your presentation because they want to and have some interest in the topic so you have a bit of a headstart.

If you write on the flipchart - stand to the side not infront of it so people can't see it. Or get a volunteer to write up for you. Use small case not capitals.

I tend to prefer presentations on powerpoint without clipart - i think clipart can look a bit tacky and 'try hard' in an amateur kind of way. Having said that diagrams are GREAT.

I sat throught an NHS trust induction yesterday (i know - please feel sorry for me) and i noticed that the speakers who were best recieved werent the ones who had the most interesting topics but the ones who projected their voice the most and sounded confident and enthusiastic. I think we all bought more into what they were saying more.

If you are asking the audience a question (which is a great way of engageing them) make sure it is specific. I always try and answer questions as an audience member as i know what it is like to get everyone sit in silence. However when you ask for an idea without setting the context people are not really sure what you want as a response and are too scared to answer incase they are barking up the wrong tree. My advice would be to think - would this question make sense out of context of this presentation if it stood alone. If not it is likely that you made an assumption when composing the question because you know the answer you are trying to elicit. I see this issue all the time when watching presentations. If you are staring a verbal brainstorm - giving an initial example to get them going often helps.

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Post by beeny » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:53 am

Public speaking is one of the multitude of things that makes me blush like crazy, so in order to stop me getting embarrassed about turning pink (which makes my blushing worse), I often mention it or make a joke about it at the beginning (better for more informal presentations)


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Post by shadowfox » Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:02 pm

practice out loud!!! do a dry run through (or 6) infront of the Cat/dog/child/other half/friend, that way you will notice what you stumble on- if anything and what you might need to refine. It might help over come the nerves when giving it for real is actually the 7th time you have given the presentation :)

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Post by Alexander » Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:05 pm

Depending on the audience size and the material for presentation it can be a good idea to get a introduction from each of the delegates. This is particularly useful if your audience are comprised of many different professions or backgrounds. It can also help to break the ice and encourage some later audience participation.

Roleplays can also be an excellent way of getting the audience engaged in your material and be can a great focus point for discussion of ideas. We used a roleplay recently to get the audience to discuss with us issues surrounding dual diagnosis.

I've also seen audience tasks been used to great effect. An OT recently presented on how to motivate clients and as part of her presentation got the entire audience to make a simple book. She showed us how to do the task, then provided all the equipment to do it. Afterwards, she guided us throughout the OT task assessment form, which we were much better equipped to contribute to having just completed a task first hand.

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Post by workingmama » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:23 pm

I've been a trainer for the last few years, so I present about 2 - 3 days per week (usually full days, but sometimes 90 minute briefings etc). I still get nervous if it's a group that I think might be less amenable to my training topics, so try and remember that it's really, really normal to get anxious, and that people are usually very compassionate towards any presenter who doesn't actively offend/annoy/patronise them.

The only thing that makes me less nervous is knowing the topic inside out, backwards, and so on, but I'm sure you're doing that.

My top tip is to sing all the way to your presentation, even if you have to arrive well in advance. If you start quiet, it'll warm up your throat, so you don't hurt it with nerves. When you've warmed up (even hummm-mumm-mumm noises), try a belter like Lulu's 'Shout' or similar - it'll use up some of your adrenaline, and let you get used to the sound of your own voice, so it doesn't sound weird in your head when you start.

Think about what you're wearing - it sound vacuous, but if you feel attractive/interesting/whatever you want, you'll not worry about that part. LOTS of deodorant if you think you'll be shy. At least three coats. Seriously. (I sound like I smell now). Don't wear silly shoes - I've lost a high heel crossing a stage in front of 150 psychiatric liaison nurses :oops:

Remember that the audience is usually gunning for you to do well - people genuinely want to be interested by you, and it's only the real prats who are hostile/pissy. Good luck - you'll be grand! I can guarantee you that I have made a total prat of myself more times than I can say when presenting, and I lived to tell the tale (although I did wish I'd just die after the high heel job) Sigh!

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Post by » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:18 am

katyboo wrote: give learning aims and a good introduction
tell people what you're going to tell them and after you've done it- tell them what you told them in a conclusion!
I think this is a really important point. I like to think about it in terms of primacy and recency effects - and how to help ensure people remember the most important stuff from your presentation. So think carefully about what you put in your intros and endings!

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