Presentation Skills


Effective presentation skills are another area that helps BA’s succeed. It’s also an area where there is tons of information on the internet. Here are a few notes and resources.[1]

Developing Content

  • Consider the context.
    • What is the goal of your presentation? Does all of your content relate to that goal?
    • Audience: What are their positions? Relationship? This may affect the tone and style of your presentation.
    • What is the estimated audience size? Presentation to larger or smaller groups may infer different presentation styles.
    • What are the audience needs and expectations? Are you delivering?
    • Familiarity with your topic? Both yours and your audiences. What level of detail is appropriate without too much distraction?
    • What is the Presentation venue? How will you be presentation (remote computer sharing, projector, flip-chart, etc)?
    • What is the time allotted?
  • Try different methods
    • Use index cards (maybe different colored cards for different types of interaction with audience)
    • Use mind-maps/mind-mapping techniques
    • Create an outline
    • Write an article
    • Jot down ideas in your presentation software (don’t create slides, use slides to map and store ideas)
    • Write out presentation word for word
  • Identify 3-5 Key points
    • Don’t include too much info
    • Support each key point with 1 or more of:
      • Examples
      • Case Studies
      • Statistics
      • Research Finding
    • Revise and Reorganize
      • Rework your material
      • Edit, edit, edit
    • Delete everything that is no in support of your objective
      • No side-bars. STAY ON TOPIC!
      • Do practice presentations of your material to make sure the flow is good and you don’t need to change words or flow


Creating / Showing Slides

  • Set clear expectations (what is your presentation on, what will the result be?)
  • Use minimal text and animation.
  • Limited fancy effects
  • Less is MORE
  • Appropriate color contrast (no yellow text on white background, etc)
  • Show one bullet point at a time, and only bring up the next as you talk about it
  • If you feel you would need to say “I know you can’t see this, but…” about something on a slide, DON’T SHOW IT!
  • Have some text, don’t just use visuals. Some people take in information better when it’s in text form than when it’s only in graphical format.
  • General Rule of Thumb: No more than 5 bullet points per slide, roughly 5 words per bullet point (the 5×5 rule)
  • You can Google free clip art to find tons of decent clip art to use. Some you can then edit in an image editor.
  • Consider changing the slide look and feel when moving between sections of your presentation that present different ideas. This makes the change readily apparent to those attending.



  • Practice your presentation out loud
  • Repeat #1
  • Repeat #1
  • Make sure you know your opening. It is when you are most likely to be nervous.
  • Identify what makes you nervous and plan accordingly.



  • Review your A/V requirements
  • Confirm the location and how to get there.
  • If presenting formally, meet all due dates (for content delivery, outlines, etc. If you can beat it, even better)
  • Create a backup plan (what if your computer fails, etc. Have extra copies of your presentation on a USB stick, email, web server, etc.)
  • Know your ending time. You generally have an obligation to end on time, make sure you can deliver you content in the time you have been allotted.
  • Get there early
  • Check out the room
  • Make sure everything you need is there:
    • Projector/Screen
    • Microphone
    • Flip chart AND markers (is there enough paper left? Do you have appropriate color markers to show well on the paper you have)
    • Enough handouts
    • Timer



  • Know your slides. If you have to read them, you don’t know them.
  • Don’t read your presentation. If you are going to read, you might as well just send the deck and stay home.
  • Start strong (you will sound confident & if you sound confident you will feel confident)
  • Speak in your natural voice (keep your normal tone and don’t fall into lecture mode in your speech)
    • If you feel nervous, slow down and speak louder (but don’t yell)
  • Use notes judiciously (but don’t become dependent on them)
  • Monitor your pace (don’t rush, maybe pretend you are speaking to people for whom your language is not their native tongue)
  • Make eye contact with your audience (front and back, don’t stare at one person)
  • Involve the audience in your presentation (polling, activities, Q&A, activities, etc)
  • Don’t dismiss, ignore, or belittle comments or feedback from the audience
  • Face your audience.
  • Pause when you first show an information-dense slide so that your audience has time to take it in before paying attention to you.
  • Use a remote to control your slides, so that you can move around and engage with audience more





  1. A large chunk of this page (originally) came from notes I took while attending Naomi Karten’s ITMPI webinar “Developing Career Enhancing Presentation Skills”.

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