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Academy Resource Center

English as a Second Language(ESL)

Planning a Good Presentation

1.  Analyze your audience

  • Think about how you can make your presentation interesting and easy to understand.
  • Decide on how you will explain your main idea to the audience.
  • Consider what your audience probably knows or doesn't know about your topic.

2. Choose and research your topic

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in and familiar with.
    - If you are bored by your own topic, you can be sure that the other students will be too.
    - During your presentation, you become the teacher so you should choose a topic that you feel comfortable discussing.
  • Once you've chosen your topic, research it inside and out!
    - If you are discussing your own artwork, be sure to know the exact details (names of materials and/or technology used, which class the assignment was for, the name of your instructor)
    - If your presentation is about an historical or current topic, find out the facts (who? when? where? how? and why?)

3.  Limit your topic

  • Find out how much time you will have.
  • Decide what you can present within the allotted time that will be interesting and informative to your audience. 

4.  Organize your material

  • Make an outline and organize your main ideas.
  • Present clear ideas and be sure to support them with details and examples.
  • Read Organizing Your Presentation for more information on planning the different parts of your presentation.

5. Prepare your note cards 

You should not read your presentation.  You want to look at the audience and "talk" to them about your topic. 

  • Note cards will help you in case you forget what you were going to say next.
  • Include important details that you don't want to confuse or forget (names, dates, numbers, new or difficult words).
  • Use very few words on your note cards.
  • Use a very dark pen and write big and bold so that your words are easy to read.
  • You should be able to read your note cards easily if they are on the table in front of you.

6. Use visuals to illustrate your material (charts, graphs, film strips, videos, slides, mounted artwork, handouts)

  • About 85% of all we learn is through seeing! 
  • Your audience should be able to get the point of your visual immediately. 
  • Your visuals should be simple, clear and make an interesting or important point.
  • They should be clean, professional and attractive to look at. 
  • Make sure your visuals are large enough for your audience to see from their seats. 

7. Include examples and stories to support your ideas and keep your audience's attention.

  • Add jokes and anecdotes (short stories) to keep the audience awake and interested.
  • Use examples to support your ideas and opinions.

8. Practice your presentation

  • Practice out loud until you feel comfortable talking about the information, rather than reading.
  • Practice handling your visual aids.
  • Ask a friend to listen to your presentation and give you feedback.
  • Read Practicing Your Presentation for more information on planning the different parts of your presentation.
  • Make an appointment in the Speaking Lab with a tutor who will give you feedback on your content or pronunciation.