Student pointing at a whiteboard whilst giving a presentation in a seminar

November 8, 2022, by Emma

Six tips for confidence in presentations

Have you got an assessed presentation coming up?

Presentations are a great opportunity to show your own work, demonstrate your understanding of theories or research, and a chance to step away from essays and worksheets for a while.

Matilda from our Academic Skills team shares six tips to help you feel confident as you prepare your presentation.


1. Think carefully about your audience

If you are presenting to fellow students on your module, you might not need to explain key terms from your area.

However, if you are presenting to a general audience, you may need to take a little longer setting out some basics in your subject area.


2. What do you want your audience to remember?

Think of what it is about your subject that really matters to you. What makes you interested, annoyed, passionate, agitated, or joyful about the topic you are presenting? Find something and use this energy as you plan your visuals and words.

If you show you have a passion for the topic, it is more likely to come through in your voice and your body language, and your audience are more likely to remember your presentation.


3. Keep your visuals simple.

An image is usually more powerful than 100 words on a slide, which you might just stand and read aloud. Could you convey some of your ideas through images and put the details in what you are going to say? Try the ‘Remove background’ function on PowerPoint to make images stand out from the slide.

Finally, see if you can use no more than 60 words on each slide – this will make your content easier for your audience to read. Have a go!


4. Vary your pace and tone as you present

No-one likes listening to a robotic voice for more than 5 minutes… imagine you are speaking to a friend, and then slow done your pace a little. Don’t worry if it feels a bit unnatural.

Changing tone for different areas of the topic can keep you sounding like you enjoy the content yourself… even if you have read through it 57 times!


5. Get help

Come along to our Academic Skills study chat about ‘Giving a presentation‘ on Tuesday 22 November 2022 at 1pm.

We will be discussing everything from your audience, to design, to deep breathing techniques for confidence.

Join the Study Chats team and look for the Presentations channel.


6. Practice. And then practice. And then practice with someone watching. And then practice again!

If you want to ensure you are delivering the best presentation you can, practicing is absolutely necessary. Practicing with someone watching can be useful for getting initial feedback and ensuring your content is ready for an audience.

You could ask the person watching your practice the following questions:

  • Did you understand all the language used?
  • Could you clearly hear what I was saying?
  • Were all the visuals easy to read and understand?
  • What is one thing you think you would remember from my presentation a week later?

If you want more technical help during your presentation practices, you can use PowerPoint Presenter Coach. This handy little tool will listen to your voice as you practice, give you real time feedback, and produce a report at the end to help you note where your pace, tone and originality were spot on or need some improvement.

Good luck presenters!


Our Academic Skills team provide help and resources on topics such as revision, academic writing, criticality, time management, motivation and more. You can access these on the Student Academic Skills Moodle Hub for your faculty.  The team also host weekly webinars and offer bookable one-to-ones.

Posted in PostgraduateStudent Academic SkillsTaught PostgraduatesTeaching and LearningUndergraduate