Presentation Tips and Tricks

This is by no means an exhaustive list or a set of rules to follow, just some general tips that might help make presentations clear, concise, and compelling.

  • Considerations For Slides:
    • Slides should (typically) have some text, but not so much that it distracts the audience from what you’re saying. Typically, avoid full paragraphs or long sentences.
    • Keep a consistent format for all of your slides.
    • In general, the number of slides you have should be around the number of minutes in presentation (eg. a 15 minute presentation should have around 15 slides).
    • Avoid having slides you will put up for the audience for less than 30 seconds. Those can likely be cut/combined.
    • Infographics are great, but be sure to explain them! For example, don’t show a chart that no one will discuss.
    • Cite images from sources and direct quotes/stats. If you have a citations slide at the end and label figures/facts, that works too!
    • Unless you are asking the audience a question and then revealing an answer, text transitions aren’t necessary.
    • If you’re using images (eg. maps) that you/your team created, make sure the formatting is consistent throughout. For example, if land is green on one map green should mean land for all maps during the presentation.
  • Considerations For Speaking:
    • Avoid reading directly from slides. Elaborate on the text.
    • Avoid introducing jargon without defining it (eg. sustainability, resilience).
    • Ahead of a big presentation, time yourself to see how fast or slow you’re speaking.
    • Scripting is okay! If you get stage fright or are worried you will forget something important, you can read directly from a script you have for yourself (not audience-facing).
    • If you’re presenting in a team, be sure one person is advancing slides and everyone knows how to advance (eg. “next slide please.”).

For Lightning Talks (Capstone Workshop):

  • Present (solo) on an important source of material for your capstone.
    • Summarize what the resource is.
    • Describe why it’s important to your project.
    • Explain relevant information to you, things you may disagree with, areas for research left blank here, etc.
    • Keep it to 5 minutes and 5 slides (max, shorter is fine)
    • Scripted or unscripted!
    • Think of it like an elevator pitch.