• Arrange your notes not in linear, but in hierarchical form: isolate the one central idea (there is hardly ever more than one), then make everything else subordinate to this idea > this will help you and the audience to come to terms with the topic
  • Put yourself in the audience's place: What would you yourself like to hear, how would you like things to be presented, what information would you need to understand the presentation?
  • Make sure you know exactly how to start
  • Give the presentation a trial run at home, speaking from your notes, and add notes at points where you get stuck > this helps you to combat nervousness
  • Make additional notes in the margin (different colour pen) to remind you what to do when (put on a transparency, for example) and where what is (transparency, handout etc.)


  • Make sure your talk is considerably shorter than the material you present > otherwise the audience might as well read the texts themselves
  • Do not read, speak from notes > the occasional repetition or slip is useful rather than obstructive, spoken language is easier to take in than written language
  • Do not make too much demand on the audience's attention > stress or repeat or write down important words or ideas
  • Speak to the whole audience (eye-contact), not to the lecturer only
  • Vary your talk as to voice, presentation techniques, speed etc.
  • Allow time for information to be taken in by the audience > when they read do not talk at the same time
  • Avoid hectic and uncontrolled movements and hectic and uncontrolled speech


  • Long handouts have a tendency to be filed rather than read > make them as short as possible or, if you prefer a handout to be a summary of the article, hand it out after the talk
  • Only use a handout if it is really useful (general structure of the argument, for example, or text passages that you refer to in your talk), not to show how hard you have worked
  • Avoid mistakes on handout: check thoroughly at home or get somebody else to check, use spellchecker


  • Make sure everyone in the audience can see the transparency > do not stand in front of it and cover it up
  • Make sure everyone can read the transparency > use large type size and bold types (PC) or enlargement (photocopies)
  • Use transparencies particularly for pictures/diagrams etc. or texts that you only uncover little by little