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Study skills and language resources

Presentation skills

Learn how to present successfully.

Presentations don't need to be stressful or scary. Good presentation skills will help you in so many areas of your life.

Like most skills, you can learn how to do this, and practice can help you to present better and feel less nervous. Think of your favourite presenter. They might make some mistakes or feel anxious, but you still enjoy watching them present.

On this page, we'll give you some advice and useful resources.

How to prepare for a presentation

Check your assignment task instructions very carefully, to see what your tutors want you to do. Also look at the Marking Criteria. What will achieve a high mark? (What will not?)

Don't panic! Remember what your objective is for giving this presentation. What do you want the audience to learn or think about as a result of your presentation? Then make a plan, prepare your presentation and practise it.

Remember to structure your presentation and make it clear for the audience to follow. The EAP Foundation website has lots of useful information on presentations, including structure and language.

Practise several times, but remember, you are not learning a script. You are presenting information in a subject you know and are interested in - you're not an actor saying exact words from a script.

Imagine your audience is intelligent, but not specialists in your topic. Explain any specialist information, and enjoy telling them about it - you're teaching them something interesting!

Remember, your audience is not focusing on mistakes that you might make. Even famous presenters make mistakes. Think of your favourite presenter or actor. Is it ok if they make a mistake? Your audience is focusing on learning something from your presentation (or they might be worrying about making their own presentation next!)

And finally, try to enjoy it. You are perfecting a valuable life skill, being bold and communicating interesting ideas.

Useful resources

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University's English Language Centre (2021) has produced a fantastic short video on giving presentations: Giving an Academic Presentation (YouTube).

The University of Sussex has an excellent page on Presentation Skills. Also look at their Preparing for a presentation checklist.

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