Study Skills: Presentations… common errors

Giving a presentation, whether at University or in work, can be quite daunting. Nerves and inexperience can lead the presenter into some common pitfalls. Being aware of these can help you to avoid them.

Too fast

If you fly through your presentation as fast as you can, probably because you just want it over with, then your presentation will suffer. You are more likely to stumble over your words, to lose your place and to get confused about key issues. That does not mean that you plod through slowly and in a monotone voice, varying your speed will maintain audience attention.

No Context

Sometimes presenters fail to include an introduction and a conclusion. You need to:

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them

A good introduction will put the topic into context. Consider adding something that will stimulate interest such as asking rhetorical questions or describing a case study.

No Scripts Please

Reading every word from a full script will make your presentation dull and stilted. The size of the paper required for a full script can itself form a barrier between you and the audience. In addition if you lose your place it is really hard to find it in a full script. Using natural spoken language (rather than formal written language) will help as will using note cards that are about the size of the palm of your hand.

For more information on presenting, including more presentation hints and tips, book a session with our Study Skills Advisers: One to One Support


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