The secret to success in a group presentation is thorough planning, careful preparation, and, practising your presentation and timing individually and as a group. If you are well prepared and confident you will not get as nervous, but remember: you need to be a bit nervous to do a good presentation.
Choose and option to read about strategies and approaches for:
- Planning and Preparation
- On the day
- How to NOT give a boring presentation
Download the 'How to not give a boring presentation' checklist.
1. Planning and preparation
- As a group decide on information and/or ideas that are the most important to present. Focus on the key issues. Don't develop too much material to present.
- Plan a sequence for the content, and summarise the main points to be presented.
- Plan timing for your presentation, and decide who in the group will present which sections.
- Think about how you will engage your audience. Will you: ask questions, surprise them, challenge them, give them something (short) to read, demonstrate something on a computer, etc? Consider non-standard presentations, e.g. a mock television interview of an expert in the area.
- Prepare support materials, either cue cards or overhead transparencies/slides. Avoid putting too much information on slides and handouts as it may confuse or distract your audience.
- Plan for the technology that you want to use in your presentation (computer projector, overhead projector, video, microphone, etc.). Think about the most effective use of the technology and practice using it. Make sure that it is feasible in the location for your presentation and check with your lecturer/tutor that the technology will be available. Do you need to book?
- Practice using the technology. Go to the location early before you present and make sure the technology is set up properly. Be sure that you know how to use the technology in the location of your presentation. Don't assume that technology works the same way in different locations.
- Think about body language and the physical surroundings. What position and location will best convey your message to your audience? Think about your physical presence? Will you be sitting down, and where? Or will you stand up and where? Will you write something on the board and what? Will you sit behind the front table facing the audience, or will you sit on it? Will you use the overhead projector? What will happen to your audience's attention if you turn your back?
- Practice is very important for group presentations - your timing needs to be precise so that your presentation flows and demonstrates confidence and good team-work.
- Rehearse as much as possible, with friends if you can, or otherwise in front of a mirror; you can also record yourself to self-evaluate.
You can use this Presentation checklist when you prepare and rehearse your presentation. Check your content is logical and your presentation is engaging, clear and informative.
On the day
- Go to the location early and set up furniture and technology to suit your presentation.
- Have your first speaker introduce your group members and explain briefly what each of them will do during the presentation.
- Transition clearly. When moving from one main point to the next or from one speaker to the next, make clear transitions between points / speakers, e.g. 'And now I will handover to John who will explain….'
- Involve your audience. Use questions, their background, connect to their previous knowledge, show how this presentations is relevant or significant to them, etc
- Make eye contact. Your audience will certainly find it more interesting if you look at them, rather than looking down or at your slides/overheads the whole time.
- Don't read your presentation. Use a summary of main-points to present from rather than writing out your presentation word-for-word. Cue-cards or slides for an overhead projector can be used for prompts.
- Be ready to answer questions. Try to anticipate what questions the audience may ask.
How to NOT give a boring presentation
- Be well prepared and practised.
- Don't forget there is an audience. Involve them, intrigue them, puzzle them, contradict their expectations, be controversial or entertaining.
- Don't include too much content.
- Say where you are going.
- Let your audience know where you have got to, give them recognisable reference points in your presentation.
- Give the audience something to look at. For example: handouts, diagrams, illustrations, models, quotes.
- Give the audience something to do. For example: read a short passage, suggest alternatives, suggest examples, predict.
- Don't make your audience take notes furiously.
- Invite questions.
- Ask questions.
- Don't ignore what you audience already knows.
- Have some fun.
- Respond and be flexible.