How to create a presentation

Considering presentation content

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Do you need to prepare a presentation, but you're unsure where to start?

There are three aspects to creating a presentation (content, visual aids and the actual presenting) and the most sensible area to tackle first is the content - as this will dictate what you do in the other two areas.

When deciding on presentation content, the following three points should be considered:

Your audience:

The audience are the number one thing to bear in mind when you are considering the content of your presentation. If you pitch the level of your talk too low for your audience, they will be bored. If you pitch it too high, they will be confused.

Restrictions and requirements:

You will also need to consider any restrictions or requirements placed on your presentation. For example, if your presentation is an assessment of your zoology module on rabbits, giving a presentation on elephants would be inappropriate, and you probably won't receive a very good mark!

Your message:

You also need to think about what message you want to convey to your audience. Are you trying to explain facts or concepts to them? Are you trying to sell a product to them? Are you trying to prove your knowledge and expertise in an interview? Most presentations should have three main "take home" messages for the audience.

Activity: Decide what content you will include in your presentation - 30 minutes

These tasks will help you to decide what content to include in your presentation, and how to maximise the impact of this content on your audience.

1. Write brief notes in answer to the following:

  • what is the title of your presentation?
  • why are you giving your presentation?
  • who will be in your audience?
  • why will your audience be interested in your presentation?
  • what are the three important messages you want to highlight in your presentation?

tip: when thinking about the three main messages, imagine you were given only 30 seconds to give your presentation.

2. Write brief notes on the following

  • what three things would you want your audience to know above anything else?
  • how will you explain these messages clearly?
  • how will you emphasise the importance of these messages?
  • how will you conclude your presentation?

3. Using the notes you made above, write an outline of the content of your presentation.

4. Include where you will use visual aids, (visual aids are tools which your audience can look at. They can help to explain or emphasise certain points.)

How did you do?

1. Review the content you have written to make sure you have met the needs of your audience, met any restrictions and requirements placed on your presentation and clearly described the three main messages of your presentation. You could do this by:

  • asking a course colleague to check your presentation content
  • asking a tutor to check your presentation content
  • using the presentation instructions and brief to ensure that your content is suitable

You should now have started to develop ideas for the content of you presentation, in the next section, 'Introducing visual aids' we will look at how different types of visual aids can help you to deliver this content.

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