Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Presentations: PowerPoint and Beyond: Speaking Tips

Speaking Tips

  • Practice aloud!
  • Make sure your talking speed is easy to follow.
  • Get out from behind the podium.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Own the room by moving around (if you can).
  • Don't read off your slides or cards.
  • Use natural language rather than heavy jargon.
  • It's okay to be nervous - veteran speakers still get nervous when giving a presentation.
  • Avoid distracting gestures.
  • Use a varied and interesting voice.
  • Remember to breathe - and have water on hand - just in case!

Considering Your Space

Video from Composing Access

Library Resources

Length of Presentations

Presentations can be short (5 minutes!) to long (1 hour or more!) and it is important to know how long your presentation should be BEFORE starting to create the presentation.

Short Presentations Tips (5 minutes or less)

  • Start with a quick "hook" story or a question.
  • Talk about your three most important points from your research - your research question, your research methods, and surprising or fascinating results.
  • Keep the number of slides to 2-5 slides. Your slides should be minimalist. Use images or single words rather than narrative text or bullet points to illustrate your talk.

Long(er) Presentation Tips

  • Organize your presentation into 10-minute intervals. Plan activities to draw your audience back to you every 10 minutes or so.
  • Give your audience a reason to listen (and stay!) for the whole presentation. Paint a picture on how your presentation will help them.
  • Provide balance between visual and verbal information. If you have a slide with a lot of text or data, follow it with a visual slide with a visual slide with little or no text.