How to Give an Academic or Work Presentation

One thing to remember when giving a presentation is that you have to look at what you’re doing from the audience’s point of view.

The salient point for them is that they’ve never heard the speech before. They’re not as familiar as you are with the content. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students forget it when they’re preparing.

You’ve spent weeks or months immersed in all the ins and outs and the details of what you’re going to say, so in your mind, it’s solid. You could probably recite it in your sleep. But for most of your listeners, this is the first time they’ve heard it. They likely have no idea what you’re going to say, even if they’re familiar with the topic.

So you have to guide them through it step by step. Here are a couple tips to help you do that:

  1. Slow down and pause at strategic points to allow the audience to process what you’ve just said. It’s normal when you’re nervous to speed up, but you have to try to avoid doing that. (Especially if you’re not a native speaker and have problems pronouncing some of the words).
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t include too many main points. It’s better to have one main theme and use the rest of the time proving or illustrating it. Use Ted Talks as an example. Most of the successful and popular topics are on one idea, which the speaker then elaborates on and explains in a relatively entertaining or enlightening manner.
  3. If you have a complex idea, repeat it in slightly different words. Again, this is the first time the audience is hearing it. It will help them get a grip on what you’ve just said instead of having to focus on what’s coming next.

Good luck and feel free to contact Omni if you have upcoming presentations or speeches and need some useful tips and advice!

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