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Tips and Tricks for Great Presentations

Presentation Tips

Presenting complex information clearly is a challenging task for any presenter – the ability to do so, however, is what distinguishes a good presentation from a great one. When writing and practicing your presentation, try to keep the following points in mind.

What do I want my audience to remember?
Often audiences will retain just one or two key points from a presentation. If you can establish early and simply what it is you want your audience to remember, and relate back to these points throughout the presentation, you’ll be well on the way to making a lasting impact.

Is my presentation clearly structured?
Studies have shown that audiences retain structured presentations 40 per cent easier than unstructured presentations. Here is a useful blueprint to keep in mind when developing your presentation:

  1. What? Present facts (background, problem, audience’s role)
  2. So what? Present opinions and perspectives (implications, conclusions, critical questions)
  3. Now what? Present go-forward actions (learnings, recommendations, future applications).

The structure above has a clear beginning, middle and end, and at no stage is the audience left in doubt as to what the presentation is about.

Why is the information I’m presenting critical at this time?
Timeliness is an important part of drawing and maintaining people’s attention. By relating your content to something that is happening right now, you can spark the interest of the audience and hold it more effectively.

How does my presentation align with the theme of the forum?
All EIT Forum presentations should align in some way with the forum’s theme “Connecting minds, delivering value”. Wherever possible, presenters should look to relate their content back to this theme.

Am I using images effectively?
Where you have a text-heavy slide, ask if there is an image that could replace some, or all the text.

Often it can be far more engaging to present a salient image and ‘talk to it’ rather than load the audience with a lot of text to read.

Relax
The adrenaline that comes before a presentation may help you perform better, but it can also cause uncomfortable nerves. Try counteracting this with the following:

  • Pause, smile and make eye contact before you speak. This gives you time to adjust and will help you feel in more control.
  • Speak slower than you would in conversation and leave longer pauses between sentences. The slower pace will calm you down.
  • Drink water. Have a glass of water handy and take sips occasionally.
  • Move around during your presentation. This will help expend some of the nervous energy.
  • Practice. There’s no substitute—rehearsing will make you more familiar and ultimately more comfortable with your presentation.

PowerPoint Presentations

A PowerPoint template will be available soon for all presentations at the forum.

Please ensure that your presentation is tailored to be delivered effectively within your specified time period. The allocated time for your presentation will be strictly enforced to ensure the program is kept to schedule.

The template
The EIT Forum template comes preloaded with fonts, colours and guide boxes. Please stick to using these preloaded characteristics, including the correct typeface (Arial), font sizes and bullet points.

Avoid overloading slides
Text-heavy slides are not engaging for the audience and should be avoided — look to use images as visual aids, accompanied by minimal text. The content on the slide should not be a copy of what you are saying to the audience, but rather an addition or complement to your words.

If a slide is too text heavy, consider breaking it up over two or more slides.

Type ‘(cont.)’ in 20pt after the heading on the second slide to indicate a continuation.

Spell out acronyms
All acronyms should be spelled out in full the first time, followed by the acronym in parentheses. For all subsequent occurrences, the acronym can be used.

Interviews

Interviews, or ‘fireside chats’, are a great way to dig deeper and get the audience engaged with your topic in a more relaxed setting.

Who is going to interview you?
We will work with you to determine an appropriate interviewer—preferably someone you feel comfortable talking to, who knows the subject matter well, and is adept at keeping a conversation moving.

How will you open the interview?
You may choose to jump right into talking, or you may choose to introduce the subject with a short video or presentation designed to prompt discussion.

What topics will be covered?
While flexibility is key to the interview format, it is important to start with a basic outline of the ground you want to cover–or a list of questions. You may choose to deviate from this on the day, but you will always have these questions to fall back on.

Rehearse
There is no substitute for practice. Spontaneity is good in the interview setting, however, it’s a good idea to rehearse your opening/introductions, your first couple of questions, and the close of the interview.

Further information
If you have any questions relating to your presentation at the 2021 Engineering, Innovation, and Technology Forum please feel free to contact MCI Australia.

Panel Sessions

Panel sessions are great for tackling a shared problem from a variety of perspectives, providing the audience with a more rounded view of your subject.

What is the objective of the session?
Establish a clear objective for your session and state it at the outset. You might focus on possible solutions to a problem, or the impacts of a new method or technology. Whatever your purpose, state it clearly, simply and early.

Who will be a part of your panel?
A good panel should include a variety of perspectives on the same issue–there is no point in having people who sees things the same way. Consider who you can invite to get the most diverse mix of opinions possible. Three or four people is best.

Who will moderate the session?
We will work with you to decide on an appropriate moderator for your session. This person will be key to the success of the panel—they’ll need to ask probing questions, keep contributors on task, and ensure they don’t run over time.

Will you provide questions beforehand?
Consider whether you will provide questions to panelists beforehand. It’s important to maintain some element of spontaneity, however, if a question requires a particularly deep or considered response, it may be best to provide it ahead of time.

Further information
If you have any questions relating to your presentation at the 2021 Engineering, Innovation, and Technology Forum please feel free to contact MCI Australia.