Improving your presentation skills

As facilitators, you are often asked to present ideas or concepts to a group. It is important to know some basic fundamentals on how to present effectively in these situations.

General tips for presenting

Task - exploring resources on general presentation skills
Have a look at some of these websites and blogs that focus on presenting. Share one thing you found particularly interesting in the discussion in the 'Discussion Tab' or add it to the above Mindmeister map at this address:

Working with Powerpoint or Keynote (or other presentation software)

While some people pour scorn on Powerpoint as a product, it is not really the software that is at fault. It is simply a tool and is only as good as the person using it. The Slideshare presentations and YouTube video below give useful pointers on how to improve the quality of your presentations.

If the slideshow below isn't loading correctly, see it on Slideshare at this link:

These two slideshares provide a really clear message in a short space of time. Another resource which may appeal is a YouTube video by Dean Shareski on presenting tips. This video is 20 minutes in length so may be more appropriate as a homework follow up for a workshop rather than taking up time in a session. The video is available at

Competition - improving an existing presentation you have on file.

Take a look at a presentation you have previously used and that you plan to use again that could be improved using some of the ideas in the presentations and videos above. Then:
  • choose one slide to focus on and export that slide as an image BEFORE making changes to it.
  • try to rework the slide to improve it.
  • export the slide as an image again.
  • make sure you are a member of this wiki so that you can upload the images of your slides.
  • reduce the size of your images to around 325x250 pixels (if you don't know how to do this, upload the full size and then resize the images on the wiki page to make them the same as my example below)
  • upload the images into the 'Before' and 'After columns in the table below. Instructions on how to upload images to the wiki can be found on the Web 2.0 instructions page.

  • You cannot use Google Images to find pictures to use unless you know the image comes from a Creative Commons source (ie you are legally allowed to use it)
  • You must give attribution (say where it is from) for all images you use (can do this under the slide or in little text on the slide as in my example below)

Useful resources

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Win a copy of Presenation Zen - an excellent guide to all aspects of presenting.

The first one is included to give you an example - it is not in the running :)
Suzie Vesper
Marie Kellow
TracksClockwb.jpg clock
Sue Pritchard

Other useful tips from fellow facilitators on using presentation software

  • Critique your work in the same lighting and room size that you will be presenting in. Have another facilitator or trusted colleague critique as well. We all know the "Death by PowerPoint" scenario, so there's no excuse for opening yourself to criticism or undermining your credentials in this way.
  • Play with the pens available in PowerPoint for to bring an interactive element to your presentation.
  • Use software other than PowerPoint. There's a host of stuff available such as Umajin, Producer (a presentation variant of PowerPoint), Windows Movie Maker, PhotoStory, Comic Life, IWB software, Word, Publisher and so on. If the activity you are growing uses a particular piece of software, your presentation should clearly demonstrate the potential that software has.
  • With whatever software you use, be fussy about checking that your hyperlinks work in the presentation scenario.
  • Web reliability is variable, especially when you are trying to hook your laptop onto someone else's network. If web sites are essential to your presentation, ensure you can at least bring up the images from cache or file storage if you can't get a signal.
  • Images and video are essential. Better still, make sure that they are superb images and that the video is easy to view and hear.

Fun activity for a workshop to help make presentations more precise

The Pecha Kucha method is a way to design short and snappy presentations. Below is an example of a Pecha Kucha presentation that explains this method. Basically, it involves having 20 slides in a presentation with exactly 20 seconds per slide (with automatically timed slide transitions). This is a format being used all around the world now for different meetings and events.

Related Links