Presentations are an oral (spoken) form of assessment designed to help you develop your communication skills and boost your confidence. For an academic presentation you will have to research and synthesise information on a set topic and present your findings in a talk, either individually or as part of a group. It is not like writing an essay and it is definitely not reading aloud; but presentations so have a simple structure you can follow.

  • Introduction & agenda – Introduce self, topic & structure of talk
  • Presentation: key ideas – in logical order – each supported by argument and evidence
  • Conclusion – re-state main points
  • Q & A
  • … and you can look at bullet points and keywords and phrases on cue cards to prompt you as you present.


Truly excellent presentations

This section will help you to understand what an academic presentation is and how to prepare and present one.
It will also give you some tips on how to work in a group more effectively

The ‘Four Ps’ – Plan, Prepare, Practice and Present.


Plan: brainstorm your topic and plan your research. Gather information; plan what you are going to say. Decide the main points you want to make. Have a structure that is logical and makes the best ‘case’. Make sure the final draft has an Introduction, Body and Conclusion – with useful Audio-Visual Aids (AVA).

Prepare: prepare your notes and any AVA. If you write a ‘script’ or essay-like draft of the presentation – reduce to key words for cue cards – and destroy the script!

Practice: Rehearse to change your ‘written’ speech into a more fluent, spoken version: make points quickly and effectively. Rehearse and check the timing of your presentation, practice using visual aids, Prezi or PowerPoint so you feel confident. Rehearse so that you deliver it fresh each time.

Present: Follow the structure of your presentation and keep your delivery and body language (voice, eye contact and posture) positive. Do not read from a script. Do use cue cards with bullet points and key words or phrases. Do keep an eye on your time. Do ask for questions at the end. Do not go to war with your audience!

Remember – you are a student giving an academic presentation – and not a stand-up comedian.

Academic Oral Presentation Skills

This video gives you examples of a good presentation and a bad presentation (this one's really funny!! - BUT students still do this sometimes!).

Video funded by Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
© Julia Miller and Student Learning Centre, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.


BODY LANGUAGE: Do have a confident body posture and look at the audience. Don’t fiddle or make distracting movements. Do keep your hands out your pockets. Do be well-prepared for a more confident delivery.
DELIVERY: Do project your voice and be aware of the pace. Do use natural spoken language. Do not read from your notes. Do use cards and glance quickly at bullet points and key words/phrases
VISUAL AIDS: If you are using Prezi or PowerPoint do limit the number of words per slide. Do use a clear and reasonably sized font. Do think ‘pictures’.



  • Exchange contact information - such as email addresses and mobile phone numbers.
  • Decide on ground rules for behaviour – such as turning up to meetings on time, completing tasks on time.
  • Discuss the assignment and what it involves.
  • Decide what has to be done – and who will do it. You may want to appoint a timekeeper and a scribe.
  • Make a plan – with a timescale – agree to it - write it down.
  • Make sure everyone understands their role and what they have to do to research, prepare for and rehearse the presentation.
  • Set deadlines – and keep to them.
  • Meet for a purpose – be on time.
  • Rehearse together – learn each other’s parts – be ready to stand in if someone drops out.



Contribute, Co-operate and Compromise

- Contribute to the discussion and decisions and encourage other group members to do the same.
- Listen to and respect the values and opinions of others.
- Do not criticise or interrupt other group members or dominate the discussion.



Information, further research and reflection

Work through the following resources – see if they are useful to you – blog or tweet about what they are and why they work.

Presentation planner: About this program
Aim: The aim of this program is to help you plan your presentations. It will:
1. help you to plan your presentation
2. help you to write your presentation
3. produce the following:

- a script, which you can save and print out using your browser's File menu.
- printable note cards, which you can save and print out using your browser's File menu.
- a slide show, which you can save to your computer using the browser's File > Save menu.
- and speak your presentation to you

PowerPoint summary of Presentation notes:

Complete sets of resources on the what, why and how of presentations:

Fill-in worksheet – quizzing you on what you now know about successful presentation strategies:


Also check out these EXCELLENT guides(pdf's)


presentations presentations templates