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Planning a presentation

The what, why and where of giving a presentation.

Before you start developing any content, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Who is your audience?
  • Why are they there?
  • What is the subject of your speech?
  • What is the purpose of your speech?
  • How long will it be?
  • Where will it take place?
  • Will you use visual aids?

The key message

Simplicity is the key to a good presentation. What is the key message you want your audience to take away? Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on the most important points
  • Have one key message around which you base your presentation
  • Write down 3 things that you want the audience to take away with them

Develop an outline

An outline allows you to order your thoughts logically and establish a good structure for your presentation

Here are a few tips:

  • Don't open PowerPoint at this point
  • Work in a form (e.g. pen & paper) that allows you be creative
  • Establish the key points that you will focus on
  • Work out your key message
  • Develop the logical flow of your presentation - the order your points will come in


Good presentations have an engaging beginning, a more detailed middle and a final summary ending.


This includes a thesis statement or overview. Try to get the attention of the audience with an interesting fact, a question, something humorous or an eye-catching visual aid. The first few minutes are critical!


This part of your talk covers the main points (remember the Kiss principle, "Keep It Simple Stupid"). This is where you develop your position. Try to link your ideas coherently so the presentation flows and makes sense.


This is where you briefly sum up your talk by restating the main points and presenting your conclusions. Make sure to thank people and ask for comments/questions.

Useful resources

For a great range learning resources in a variety of formats, Click here to enrol the SLD Blackboard module.