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Successful University Study

Tips and tools to streamline the study process.

What is the key to a good presentation?

At the heart of an effective presentation is confidence.

  • confidence in the material - well researched information, clear and organised structure.
  • confidence in the delivery - dynamic and engaging.

So how do you become a confident speaker? Explore the tabs below for guidance on how to deliver a smooth presentation.

Presentation components

The more you plan, the more confident you will feel. Keep the following elements in mind when creating your presentation.


  • What does your audience already know about the topic?
  • What is the best way to grab their attention?
  • Are there any accessibility considerations (e.g. hearing or visual impairments)?


  • What is the point of your presentation (to persuade, entertain, inform)?
  • Check the assignment instructions. Do you have to answer any specific questions?


  • What type of information do you have to use (e.g. scholarly, popular)?
  • Do you have to research a particular number of sources?
  • How are you going to provide references (e.g. on slides, in a handout)?


  • How much time is allocated for your presentation?
  • What tools do you have access to (e.g. PowerPoint, whiteboard, screen projector)?
  • Can you bring in audiovisual elements?
  • How is the room set up?
  • Can you test any systems prior to the presentation?
  • How many handouts do you have to print (if applicable)?

Just like an essay, presentations should have an introduction, body and conclusion, and ideas need to be linked clearly.


Start by greeting your audience and briefly introducing yourself. Include an Acknowledgement of Country if appropriate (see link below for more information). Capture the audience's attention and introduce your topic with an interesting fact, controversial statement, or by asking the audience a question. Examples:   

  • Three out of five people in this room will die of heart disease.  
  • Suppose you had an experience like this ...  
  • Have you ever ... ?

Clearly state your topic and what your presentation will cover, and if necessary, give some background and definition of terms.


Develop the main points of your talk and present examples and evidence where possible. If you are using PowerPoint, keep the slides simple, with not too much text. Your PowerPoint slides should complement your presentation but not give the presentation for you.


Summarise your presentation for the audience and show that you have covered all the main points that you made in your introduction. Leave the audience with a recommendation, challenge or call to action.


Many of us get nervous about public speaking, and we might see this as a reason to avoid it. But nerves are a good thing! Without adrenalin, a presentation is often boring and lacklustre. So embrace your nerves and make them work for you.

Be prepared

  • Know your material and remember that you know more than the rest of the class about the topic.
  • Rehearse and refine your presentation.
  • Practice relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Arrive early.

Speak effectively

  • Project - speak loudly enough.
  • Articulate - shaping sounds into meaningful speech to emphasise important words and engage the audience.
  • Pace - not too fast or too slow, and have short pauses for dramatic effect.
  • Pitch - the vocal range of your voice.
  • Tone - avoid speaking in monotone which is boring, vary your tone to express emotion.

Be confident

  • Smile!
  • Use open body language.
  • Don't be apologetic or put yourself down.
  • Make eye contact with the audience.