Guidelines for Effective Presentations

Organizing your presentation
The introduction captures the attention of the audience, connects the topic to the audience, clearly states
what the speech is about, and previews the main points.
About 1—15% of total speaking time.
• Get the attention: surprising or interesting, facts, rhetorical question, quotation, an example, and
anecdote regarding the project.
• Tell the audience how the information will benefit them.
• Tell ‘em” What you are Going to Tell ‘em. Briefly state what the speech is about.
• Preview the main points.
The body of the speech explains, develop, clarifies, proves the main points.
• Limit your main points (3 or 4).
• Cluster information logically.
Chronological – discuss events in the order of occurrence
Topical – Divide subject into topic
Problem/Solution – discuss the problem, then the solution
The conclusion presents a summary of the main points and a final thought. Keep it short. End with a strong
statement. About 5-10% of total speaking time.
Transitions keep the audience on track. Plan transitions from the introduction to the body, between each
main point, and between the body and the conclusion. (“Now that we have examined the problem, lets look
carefully…,” “So what have we learned? Let’s review..”)
Developing your points
• Provide at least one piece of supporting material for each point: definition, examples (use a lot of
examples), questions, statistics, anecdotes, descriptions, factual information, comparison and
• Use a variety of support for your interest.
• Use visual aids to clarify abstract ideas to present statistics, to explain a process, to reinforce a
• Emphasize fresh, new perspectives; novelty holds attention.
• Explain significance of statistics and factual information.
• Point out relevance of information to your listeners.
• Use concrete language; avoid abstractions. Keep it simple.
Delivering your presentation
• Walk confidently to the front. Arrange note. Gather your thoughts. Look at the audience. Smile
(at least look friendly). Pause. Begin speaking without looking down.
• Deliver the introduction and conclusion without looking at notes.
• Pause between introduction and each main point, and conclusion.
• Look at each individual member of the audience (3-5 seconds).
• Balance weight evenly.
• Speak at a normal rate. Pause instead of filling with “uh” “um” “and” etc.
• Let your gestures be natural. Avoid putting hands behind your back.
UNCG Speaking Center, 256-1346, speakingcenter.uncg.edu