Group of students in a libraryYou’ve selected a topic, allocated tasks, devised a structure and practised, practiced, then practiced some more. Follow these five tips to make the best of delivering your presentation on the day.

Have Breakfast

You should always have it anyway, but if you don’t, make sure you eat something on the day of your presentation. Not only will this help prepare you mentally, it will also avoid any embarrassing tummy rumbles as you stand at the front of the classroom. Also take some bottled water in case you get thirsty, or if your mouth gets dry when you get nervous.

Have a Backup

If you’re using any IT resources, have a back-up. Save your presentation and any additional resources on a memory stick as well as on your laptop, and have different versions saved. A file created in PowerPoint 2007 will not work in earlier versions unless saved in that format. See this link to see how. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint-help/open-a-powerpoint-2010-presentation-in-powerpoint-2003-or-earlier-HA010338391.aspx

Schedule One Last Practice

If you can, schedule one last practice session on the day, ideally in the place you’re going to be delivering the presentation. This might not be possible but be flexible; lectures rarely start before 9am, so with enough time, you could arrange to use the room before the University day officially begins. For those feeling especially nervous, one last practice on the day can be helpful – and can also provide one last opportunity for you and the team to encourage and reassure them.

Take Care With Handouts

If you’re preparing hand-outs which summarise the contents of your presentation, don’t give these out before or during the presentation as they will only draw attention away from the presentation. The handouts should only repeat what is being visually displayed at the front, which is where you ideally want everyone’s focus. If you have to give handouts during the presentation, ensure this has also been practiced, and make sure you have enough copies. Of course, all handouts should be fully referenced.

Respond to Feedback

Once you’ve delivered your presentation, no doubt after many hours of practice, you can allow yourself to feel a bit relieved. It will get easier every time. As part of your presentation, your tutor and classmates will provide feedback. This evaluation is often overlooked, but it is important you bear in mind all feedback you receive for your next presentation – and it’s not likely to be very long before it all start again! Additionally, many students use their presentations as the foundation for their dissertation or thesis – do these well and you’ll already have done at lot of the preparatory work for when these come round.

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