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The 10 Best Universities in the U.S.

what is university presentation

Every year, millions of students in the United States graduate high school and set off on their next big adventure. For many of them, that adventure is attending college at one of the country’s many universities. If you’re preparing to go to college in the next year or two and you only want the best in the U.S., these 10 universities consistently earn high rankings for academics, program options and other factors.

Located in New Jersey, Princeton is one of the oldest schools in the country. It’s the alma mater of plenty of famous people, from presidents to movie stars, and the school’s top programs include degrees in international affairs and engineering. Princeton is also known for its extracurricular activities, and even undergrads have to write a senior thesis.

what is university presentation

Harvard consistently ranks as one of the top colleges in the nation. Founded in 1636 just outside of Boston, the school boasts business and medical schools that are consistently considered the best of the best. Eight presidents have graduated from Harvard, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy.

what is university presentation

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University consistently ranks in the top 10 for both undergraduate and graduate students. Some of its top programs include nursing, business, public policy and engineering. The school is home to highly-ranked medical and law schools and has a strong sports program, particularly in men’s basketball. Notable Duke alumni include Melinda Gates, Elizabeth Dole and Tim Cook.

what is university presentation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is known around the world for its math, science, technology and engineering programs. Buzz Aldrin, Kofi Annan and actor James Woods all attended the school. MIT is also a recognized leader in scientific research and often spends more than $700 million each year on various groundbreaking projects.

what is university presentation

If you prefer a school on the West Coast, Stanford is in sunny California, just outside of San Francisco. Its education, engineering, medicine, law and business schools are highly ranked, and the school has a prominent sports program and ample Greek life opportunities. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, NFL star John Elway and entrepreneur Elon Musk all attended Stanford.

what is university presentation

Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale is another school that always ranks near the top of the list of best universities in the U.S. Founded in 1701, the university has top-ranked medical, law, art and nursing schools and has popular drama and music programs as well as extracurricular activities. Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper all attended Yale.

what is university presentation

University of Chicago

One appeal of the University of Chicago is its big city setting. It’s located in Hyde Park, so there’s plenty to do if you get bored with the school’s 400 organizations and 15 sports teams. The university’s law, medical, public policy and business schools are all highly ranked. Notable alumni include economists Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and writer Kurt Vonnegut.

what is university presentation

Located in New York City, Columbia is another school that sits in the heart of a big city. Its business school, law school, dental school, journalism school, teacher’s college and school of surgeons and physicians are all highly ranked and in demand. Warren Buffett, Amelia Earhart, Eric Holder and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch are all notable alumni.

what is university presentation

University of Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1740. Today, it sits on 299 acres, has 12 unique schools and colleges and is popular for students seeking extracurriculars, like sports, Greek life and religious organizations. Education, engineering, design, business, medicine and dentistry are all highly-ranked programs. Presidents WIlliam Henry Harrison and Donald Trump, Noam Chomsky and fashion designer Tory Burch are all notable alumni.

what is university presentation

California Institute of Technology

Another West Coast option, the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) has graduated leaders in fields like the arts, aerospace, government and business, including 17 Nobel Prize-winning scientists and several important entrepreneurs. The science and engineering school is located just north of Los Angeles in Pasadena and features highly-ranked physics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, biology, chemistry and earth science programs.

what is university presentation


what is university presentation

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Akshay Sahay and Anbarasu Thangavelu

Man speaking in front of class


Presentations are a common form of assessment at university. You will likely at some point during your program be required to deliver information via a presentation. This chapter provides you with the foundational knowledge, skills and tips to prepare and present your work effectively.

Types of Presentations

There are various types of presentations you may come across at university. Being aware of each type of presentation can be beneficial for you as a student. At university, most presentations will either be formal, informal or group presentations.

Regardless of the type of presentation you are asked to do, understanding the standard forms of presentations will assist with your preparation.


Like other assessments or tasks, preparation is key to successfully delivering a presentation as it will help to ensure that you are heading in the right direction from the start. It will also likely increase your confidence in completing the presentation. Irrespective of the type of the presentation, you can use the steps shown in Figure 16.2 for your preparation.

Diagram on preparing presentation which includes reading assessment instruction, deconstructing question and doing research, understanding the audience, planning a structure and knowing the topic

The steps shown in Figure 16.2 will essentially allow you to create tailored presentations which have directed content addressing a specific topic or task. This will allow you to engage your audience and deliver effectively the message that you are trying to communicate. Specific tips and tricks on how to present effectively are discussed later in this chapter.

Presentation Structure

Similar to written assignments, creating a structure is crucial to delivering your presentation. The benefits of having a structure are that your presentation will flow in logical manner and your audience will be able to follow and understand the information you are delivering. While presentation structures may vary, depending on whether you are presenting in a group, presenting informally, or presenting a poster, using some form of structure will likely be beneficial to both you and your audience. When structuring a presentation, also consider the platform, technology and setting. For example, if you are presenting informally, you may not require the use of any form of technology or visual equipment. You may just rely on hand written notes. In contrast, if you are presenting in a more formal setting, you may prefer to use technology to assist you, such as PowerPoint. Figure 16.3 offers a sample you can use to create your structure. Be sure to check any task sheet given to you by your lecturer. They may have a particular structure they wish you to use for a specific task.

A sample structure of presentation

Tips and Tricks

There are certain strategies you can use to help deliver a good presentation. Not every strategy is going to be applicable to all presentations and every individual. You will need to choose the strategies that work for you and meet the objectives of your presentation, relate to your audience and importantly address the overall task. Delivering your work is one of the hardest aspects of a presentation but it is achievable. Therefore, it is essential that you have the appropriate approach in your delivery. This includes prior planning, practise, and being confident.

The tips and tricks in this section will guide you in preparing and delivering effective presentations. Please note that some of these tips and tricks may be more relevant to oral than visual presentations.

Tip 1: Improve your delivery

Figure 16.4 presents five simple ways to lift the standard of your delivery.

Tips on improving delivery

Tip 2: Stay on track with your presentation

Figure 16.5 presents reminders about your audience, structure and focus of your presentation to keep you on track.

Presentation flowchart

Tip 3: Consider your voice and body

When giving an oral presentation, you should pay special attention to your voice and body. Voice is more than the sum of the noises you make as you speak. Pay attention to inflection, which is the change in pitch or loudness of your voice. You can deliberately use inflection to make a point, to get people’s attention, or to make it very obvious that what you are saying right now is important. You can also change the volume of your voice. Speak too softly, and people will think you are shy or unwilling to share your ideas; speak too loudly, and people will think you are shouting at them. Control your volume to fit the audience and the size of the venue. If you use these tips, you should do a good job of conveying your ideas to an audience.

Man delivering presentation

Some people have a tendency to rush through their presentations because they are feeling nervous. This means they speed up their speech, and the audience has a difficult time following along. Take care to control the speed at which you give a presentation so that everyone can listen comfortably. You can achieve this by timing yourself when preparing and practising your talk. If you are exceeding the time limit, you may either be speaking too quickly, or have too much content to cover.

Also, to add to the comfort of the listeners, it is always nice to use a conversational tone in a presentation. This includes such components as stance, gesture, and eye contact—in other words, overall body language. How do you stand when you are giving a presentation? Do you move around and fidget? Do you look down at the ground or stare at your note cards? Are you chewing gum or sticking your hands in and out of your pockets nervously? Obviously, you don’t want to do any of these things. Make eye contact with your audience as often as possible. Stand in a comfortable manner, but don’t fidget. Use gestures sparingly to make certain points. Most importantly, try to be as comfortable as you can knowing that you have practised the presentation beforehand and you know your topic well which will help to calm nerves.

Tip 4: Consider your attitude

Attitude is everything. Your enthusiasm for your presentation will prime the audience. If you are bored by your own words, the audience will be yawning. If you are enthused by what you have to offer, they will sit up in their seats and listen intently. Also, be interested in your audience. Let them know that you are excited to share your ideas with them because they are worth your effort.

Tip 5: Consider the visuals

You might also think about using technology to deliver your presentation. Perhaps you will deliver a slide presentation in addition to orally communicating your ideas to your audience. Keep in mind that the best presentations are those with minimal words or pictures on the screen, just enough to illustrate the information conveyed in your oral presentation. Do a search on lecture slides or presentation slides to find a myriad suggestions on how to create them effectively. You may also create videos to communicate what you found in your research. Today, there are many different ways to take the information you found and create something memorable through which to share your knowledge. When you are making a presentation that includes a visual component, pay attention to three elements: design, method, and function. The design includes such elements as size, shape, colour, scale, and contrast. You have a vast array of options for designing a background or structuring the visual part of your presentation, whether online or offline.

Woman presenting a Powerpoint presentation

Consider which method to use when visually presenting your ideas. Will it be better to show your ideas by drawing a picture, including a photograph, using clip art, or showing a video? Or will it be more powerful to depict your ideas through a range of colours or shapes? These decisions you make will alter the impact of your presentation. Will you present your ideas literally, as with a photograph, or in the abstract, as in some artistic rendition of an idea? For instance, if you decide to introduce your ideas symbolically, a picture of a pond surrounded by tall trees may be the best way to present the concept of a calm person. Consider also the purpose of the visuals used in your presentation. Are you telling a story? Communicating a message? Creating movement for the audience to follow? Summarising an idea? Motivating people to agree with an idea? Supporting and confirming what you are telling your audience? Knowing the purpose of including the visual element of your presentation will make your decisions about design and method more meaningful and successful.

Delivering a presentation may be daunting, especially if you are new to university but as we have discussed in this chapter, there are several approaches you can use to help you prepare and deliver your presentation effectively. While each individual may have their own approach, preparing, planning, structuring and practising your presentation will go a long way to help you achieve success. Following the steps and considering the ideas in this chapter places you in a good position to deliver presentations effectively. The approaches are beneficial but ensure you are adhering to any specific requirements included in the assignment task sheet. Following the task sheet closely and applying these presentation skills will increase your likelihood of academic success.

Academic Success by Akshay Sahay and Anbarasu Thangavelu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Tips for effective presentation

The role of an engineer is both varied and multifaceted, and whilst technical expertise is undoubtedly important, today's engineers need to be able to communicate this knowledge effectively. Oral presentations are a useful communication tool and allow information to be delivered to an audience in order to share knowledge or to stimulate a discussion. This is a learned skill and one that is frequently called upon in the workplace.

Giving a presentation is not one of the easiest things to do. For many it can be both nerve-wracking and stressful. However, with practice the nerves will ease and it may even become enjoyable. Being able to express yourself clearly and convincingly is a skill needed in all kinds of situations. This is why gaining practice at university is so important and will also help you prepare for the workplace. Below are some suggested tips and guidelines to help prepare an effective presentation.


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6 steps to a successful presentation

If you feel nervous at the thought of having to stand up in front of your peers and deliver a presentation you're not alone, but you're unlikely to get through university without having to do it. Follow these six steps to ensure success

Your tutor or lecturer mentions the word 'presentation' and the first thing you do is panic but there's no need.

Depending on your subject, you might be expected to summarise your reading in a seminar, deliver the results of a scientific experiment, or provide feedback from a group task. Whatever the topic, you'll usually be presenting to your tutor and fellow students.

While   getting up and making your case in front of an audience isn't easy, especially when you're not used to it, it really is good practice as many graduate employers use presentations as part of the recruitment process.

To help ensure that your presentation stands out for the right reasons, Graham Philpott, head of careers consultancy at the University of Reading provides some advice.

Prepare carefully

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare thoroughly, as a last-minute rush will leave you flustered when it comes to delivering your presentation.

'There are two important things to think about when preparing for a presentation,' says Graham. 'What do you want the audience to do once you have finished, and who are the audience? If you know these two things, preparation becomes so much easier.'

Plan out the structure and format of your presentation. 'A simple and successful way to structure your presentation is - agenda, message, summary - or to explain it a different way, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you've just told them,' advises Graham.

To help plan your content, Graham explains that 'there are only two purposes to a presentation, one is to inform, the other is to persuade. So, your content will either tell the audience what they need to know or convince them.' To make sure you stay on track ask yourself what you're hoping to achieve.

You can make detailed notes as part of your planning, but don't rely on these on the day, as reading from a prepared text sounds unnatural. If you want to take a memory aid with you use small index cards, as referring to A4 sheets of paper during your presentation can be distracting and highlight your nerves if your hands shake.

At the planning stage also consider the timings of your presentation. Time limits are set for a reason - falling short or going over this limit will likely result in a loss of marks, especially if it's part of an assessment or exam.

Don't forget to also devise answers to common questions you may be asked at the end of your presentation. You might think this adds to your workload, but it actually prevents you from being caught off guard on the day.

If you have to give a group presentation, discover  three tips for successful group work .

Use visuals wisely

'A presentation doesn't necessarily need a visual aid,' says Graham. 'However, if you decide to use them, they can help the audience understand what you're saying, and give you a framework to talk around.'

Bear in mind that visual aids should complement your oral presentation, not repeat it, nor deliver the presentation for you. While your slides should offer a summary of points, or illustrate the concept you're discussing, you need to remember that you are the main focus.

When putting together your slides and visual aids:

Don't fall into the trap of merely reading aloud what is written on your slides - instead use them as a starting point from which you can expand and develop your narrative.

It's also worth pointing out that a presentation is only as good as its content. Your presentation could look visually beautiful, but if it lacks knowledge or substance your audience is unlikely to be fooled. 

Consider your audience

Speaking of your audience, it's essential that you keep them in mind at every stage - from the preparation of your presentation right through to the delivery.

To show that you have thought about the audience consider how much background information they will need. Do they already have some knowledge of the topic you're presenting?

Spending the first half of your presentation telling an audience what they already know will be frustrating for them. Equally, if you go straight into the detail, they may get lost. It's vital you get the balance right.

The tone of your presentation will also depend on your audience - if its purpose is to demonstrate to your seminar group that you've understood a certain topic you could strike a light-hearted tone. If it's an assessed piece of work on the other hand, you'll need to be more serious.

Practice with a friend

Before the main event you should run through your presentation in full more than once. 'It's also a good idea to practice the presentation out loud. This will give you a much better idea of how long it takes, and whether there are any parts that don't flow very well,' adds Graham.

'It might feel cringey, but practicing to an audience - friends, coursemates, family, your careers consultant if it's for a job - will really help too. Their feedback will be especially important when it comes to checking that your main point is getting through, loud and clear.'

Ask your practice audience to sit at a distance to check that everyone attending can hear you speaking and that they can see the slides. If possible, try to do this practice run in the room you'll be giving your presentation in.

This level of preparation will enable you to work out whether your presentation is the right length when spoken aloud and give you the chance to get used to expressing yourself in front of others.

 While you practice make sure that you:

Another good tip is to record the practice run - you can do this on your phone or on Teams or Zoom. Play it back and reflect on it. Ask yourself if it's clear, concise, and if it makes sense. Pay particular attention to less obvious factors such as your facial expression and mannerisms. Do you come across well? Are you talking too fast or waffling? Are you smiling and personable?

Be positive

Leading up to the presentation try developing a positive attitude. This may seem easier said than done, especially if you're nervous but it will make a huge difference to how you perform.

Acknowledge your nervousness but don't let negative thoughts win. Instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong visualise a positive outcome and focus on what you can do to ensure it runs smoothly.

On the day nerves can conspire to make you think that the room is against you, but this isn't the case. Remember that your tutor and your coursemates want you to succeed. To set your presentation up for success make sure your introduction is strong. Start with a confident attitude and a smile.

Don't rely on technology

We've all witnessed the agony of a presenter struggling with a faulty USB stick, failing to connect to the internet or not being able to get the projector to work. However, with a little bit of planning, you can minimise the risk of technology tripping you up.

If possible, test your presentation beforehand with the same equipment that you'll be using during the main event. Otherwise, arrive early on the day and have a run through. Make sure you know how to link your laptop to the projector and if your presentation includes links to web pages or video clips make sure these lead to the right places and are working beforehand. Bring back-ups of your documents and print out a few copies of the slides to share if things go wrong.

And if a piece of technology does fail, don't panic. It will happen to everyone in the room at some point. If you prove yourself prepared in the face of a disaster and handle it with grace it could impress your tutor more than if everything went according to plan.

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Avoid these mistakes in University Presentation

University presentation: The 8 most common mistakes and how to avoid them!

It’s not unknown for the grade you get in a degree program to hinge on a single paper or presentation. This article aims to cover common mistakes (especially when you’re just starting out), and show you how to avoid them.

We want to reassure you that everyone can create a good university presentation, winning over both your fellow students and your professor!

From School to University

Many young people are inadequately prepared for creating and giving individual presentations during their school years. Presentations are generally given in groups, and students take turns presenting.

This means that students who’ve come from small-class environments are often hammered by stage fright when they suddenly have to give a university presentation alone and in front of a larger audience. 

Add to this the fact that it’s rare to be taught how to use PowerPoint efficiently in school, and it’s obvious that many will have difficulty creating and giving an excellent university presentation. This leads to unnecessary stress. To avoid this, just read on!

Common Errors When Presenting

university presentation: Avoid these mistakes

It’s so important to realize that a presentation is more than just a set of slides . The way those slides are presented is also an essential part of creating a good university presentation .

Many students, particularly at the beginning of their studies, focus narrowly on the content of the slides, failing to understand that they’re just one aspect of a presentation.

One of the basics for giving a good presentation – one that both your professor and your fellow students can actually enjoy – is being able to speak fluently and confidently . This only comes naturally to a lucky few, though – the rest of us need to put in a lot of preparation, especially at the start of our studies. Don’t panic, though – we’ll show you just what to do, and what mistakes to avoid!

Mistake #1: Failure to practise

Presenting topics needs to be practised ! Most students spend hours perfecting the content of their university presentation, but give little or no thought to how they’re going to deliver it. If you rehearse properly, you can avoid unnecessary slip-ups and hangs while presenting, and learn how to get the timing right (not rushing, but not dragging). It’s no good going to all the trouble of creating a great presentation (or product!) if you can’t sell it as well!

Just reading your presentation out loud two or three times before you have to get up and speak in public will hugely reduce the chances of slipping up. (You also often notice more mistakes in the content when you speak than when you read, which you can then fix.) If you have a time limit to stick to, you’ll also be able to see if you need to shorten (or lengthen) your presentation.

If you have problems delivering your presentation smoothly, PowerPoint Presenter View can be really helpful. Find out how to use Speaker View to make your presentation easier here .

Do be aware, though, that depending on where you are presenting, you may not necessarily have a clear view of your laptop. Many college seminar rooms don’t have a lecture podium. Without your laptop directly in front of you, it’s difficult to use Speaker View.

Mistake #2: Making your slides the entire presentation

A really easy error to make is to put everything – all the relevant and interesting information you want to get across – on your slides. This means that your audience can quickly scan the info and then mentally switch off – you’re not adding any value.

To avoid this, while you’re preparing the presentation, think which parts you need to show on your slides, and which you can deliver while speaking , as part of the presentation. Core information and important figures should obviously be on the slides as well as in your talk, but otherwise your slides should underscore what you’re saying, rather than just repeating it.

Slides which include pictures or diagrams , without a lot of text, are particularly good for this. In general, it’s best to restrict what goes on your slides to core points and keywords , rather than writing in complete sentences.

Mistake #3: Not interacting with the audience

Many students focus so hard on the content of their university presentation that they forget the importance of actually interacting with the audience . This results in never-ending monologues and a bored audience!

Introducing interactive elements not only keeps your audience interested, but can get you kudos from your professor. Videos or interactive graphics, for example, help to lighten up the presentation, and questions encourage your fellow students to actively participate.

We’ve gone into how to do this well here and here .

Once you’ve finished speaking, a question-and-answer session is great for involving your audience. We would recommend, though, that you think this through properly and provide a structure for the discussion. Asking questions about personal experiences with the topic can help, for example – otherwise no one may speak up!

For more helpful tips on how to engage your audience and keep their attention, take a look here .

Mistake #4: Missing eye contact

Eye contact is a really important part of giving a good presentation. It signals that you’re actually interested in the audience and are addressing them directly.

However, it’s quite normal to get overtaken by nerves, especially as a freshman, meaning you stare fixedly at your slides or index cards, avoiding looking at your audience. Unfortunately, this can come across not only as being unsure of your subject, but as not actually caring what your audience thinks.

At the beginning of your university presentation, before starting to speak, pick someone in the audience who seems interested in the talk ( or just a friend!). Whenever you start to feel nervous, look at that person. Don’t just keep your focus there, though; let your gaze wander around the room.

Try dividing the audience mentally into four sections and letting your gaze rest on each section for about five seconds. This way, each section of the audience feels like they’re being directly addressed and paid attention to. For more tips and tricks on eye contact and body language, take a look at our blog here .

Mistake #5: Too much content and too long a presentation

University Presentation

Many students are afraid of missing out important content, so running the risk of crowding too much information into their presentation . Their presentations end up being overlong, often running over the time limit and boring the audience.

Less is more when it comes to presentations . Concentrate on the essentials and don’t get lost in the details. As we said above, a few test runs are absolutely necessary to find out how long your university presentation will actually take. You can then make any alterations needed, and feel confident about presenting it. 

Mistake #6: Overloaded slides

Even though it’s a great idea to add some eye-catching effects, the same rule applies here: less is more . If your slides are too cluttered, your audience might get distracted, lose track, or switch off, rather than focus on your presentation.

The text on your slides should be limited to bullet points and keywords, as these are easier for your audience to digest. Choose a consistent color scheme and font and stick with it on all your slides. Too much color and changing fonts will distract your audience.

To learn how to get the most out of your PowerPoint presentation with fonts and colors, check out our blog here .

Using a master slide can be really helpful, too – it helps keep your layout neat and consistent. We go through how to create and properly use a master slide in this post.

Mistake #7: Getting caught out by the technical stuff

Technical problems have a nasty habit of cropping up just at the worst possible moment whatever you’re wanting to do, and giving a presentation is no exception! You can do your best to avoid them by doing a test run on site , if possible (or at least somewhere that’s not your own room, if not).

This means you can make sure you have everything you need sorted for your actual presentation, and know how the various pieces of equipment work.

It’s also a really good idea to have a plan B up your sleeve. Copy your presentation onto a spare USB stick, and you can use it on another laptop in case of emergency! Watch out for which version of PowerPoint is installed though, particularly with university laptops!

Different versions can cause headings or tables to shift and effects to disappear. You can get around this by saving your presentation as a PDF as well. This guarantees that your slides will look the same, but means any PowerPoint effects will be lost.

If you have time, do a test run on your alternative, so you can check if you need to make any adjustments.

Mistake #8: Poorly designed handouts

Extra tip: a handout can be the icing on the cake of a good presentation! To find out how to create a good handout and add that extra value, check out our blog here .

Also, check to see if your college provides students with design templates and style guides for presentations. This means you know that your slides will meet the requirements, and can save yourself some work!

To sum up: Practise makes perfect!

Practise good for your university presentation

Even if just the thought of giving your first university presentation is enough to send you into a flat spin, it doesn’t automatically mean that your presentation has to be a disaster! Armed with the above tips, you’ll be really well prepared to give an excellent university presentation, avoiding boring either fellow students or your professor! Good luck!

If you have any questions about university presentations, or PowerPoint in general, please do get in touch with us at [email protected] . We’re always more than happy to help!

Why not take a look at our store , too? . We’ve loads of great-looking templates which could help you ace your university presentation!

You might also be interested in the following articles:

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Structuring your presentation

what is university presentation


Having worked out your key message and main points, the next stage is to structure the content of your presentation. Just like other forms of academic writing, a presentation can be divided into three parts: an introduction detailing the purpose and structure of the talk; a body covering the main points; and a conclusion summarising and highlighting the significance of your talk. A template for your talk is given in the Presentations structure document. 


You may wish to capture the audience's interest and attention with a story or commentary on a current development that raises an important question / problem / dilemma. Or, you may first wish to frame your talk with brief context / background, and then swiftly transition into a concise explantion of the issue / problem or debate that your key message addresses. In either case, the next step in your introduction is to clearly state the purpose or key message of the talk, for example using the following prompts.

If necessary, limit the scope of the presentation:

Signpost the structure/approach of the talk:

This part of the talk provides the support for your main message. You should discuss each of your main points in a clear and logical order. As you do, be sure to explain how these points relate to each other and your key message:

All necessary concepts and terms need to be defined and explained before being used. Examples can be used to effectively illustrate your points.

Signpost that you have reached the end of the talk:

Summarise the key points covered. In the process, remind the audience of the significance of the topic, the aims of your talk and demonstrate how you have met the aims. Thank the audience for their attention and invite them to comment or ask questions.

Acknowledging others ideas

As with all academic work, if you use other people's ideas, images, data etc, then you must appropriately acknowledge it in your presentation. You do this through your spoken words or supply references on your visual aids. In text references can be kept brief to enable the audience to read. You should also include a reference list slide at the end of your presentation. See referencing resources for more information.

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Structure of a presentation

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A presentation:


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Useful language for presentations

Staging the introduction.

The body of the presentation should meet the promises of purpose and information made in the introduction.

The structure of the presentation is crucial.

Whether you organise:

the body of your talk must proceed logically. The main points should be brought out one by one, with concise and relevant supportive evidence, statistics or examples and verbal ‘signposting’ of your progress through your argument or report.

You could present each important idea or point several times in different ways, because a listening audience needs several opportunities to fully absorb meaning.

You need to state clearly the links between your ideas and always signal when the next point is coming. If you think something is particularly important, say so and why.

If you don’t have a written assignment, it will help to think of your main points as paragraph topic sentences, each of which needs to be followed by supporting sentences and a conclusion.

Staging the body of your talk

Group presentations.

It may be that you are making a presentation as part of a group. Essentially the same information applies to group presentations as individual ones. It is important that they are logical and well structured as well as professional and meaningful. It is also doubly important that the group rehearse and practise together several times to ensure the presentation runs smoothly on the day.

Handing over to a co-presenter

Your talk may involve several speakers in your group presentation. You need to manage the handover smoothly and professionally, for example:

“I would like to conclude my discussion/report at this point and hand over to my partner/colleague XYZ who will examine/discuss/report the area/topic/perspective of…”

Similar to a written assignment, the conclusion again states your main points and what has been learned or shown but you also may raise implications inherent in the findings and offer creative recommendations.

Staging the conclusion

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UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.

what is university presentation

University of York Library

A practical guide to presentations

Presentations are a part of academic and professional life. Be you disseminating research, teaching, or applying for a job, chances are you'll be asked to deliver a presentation at some point. In this guide we'll take an in-depth look at the technological aspects of delivering a presentation, including software choice, slide design, accessibility, and online presentation methods.

Do you even need presentation materials at all?

Evidence-based presentations

PowerPoint vs Google Slides

Five golden rules

Making simple but elegant slides using the full-screen image method

Controlling layout using masters

Footers, Headers, Layouts, Page numbers, Slide Master

Font choice, Font size, Paragraph attributes, Reading order, Selection pane, Shape effects, Shape fill, Shape outline, Shapes, Text attributes, Text boxes, Text margins, Text positioning, WordArt


Gradient fill, Picture or texture fill, Solid fill

Artistic effects, Compression, Cropping, Inserting, Picture effects, Repositioning, Resizing, Resolution, Transparency

Sourcing images

Copyright, Creative Commons

Diagrams & charts

Diagram tool, Drawing tools, File types, Importing, SmartArt


Animation pane, Basic animation, Effects options, Morph transition, Re-ordering, Start conditions

Sound & vision

Inserting, Live captions, Playing, Screen recording, Slide narration, Subtitles

Presenting tips

Presenting your slides

Audience Q&A, Custom shows, Export options, Keyboard shortcuts, Live captions, Presenter view

Audience polling

Sharing your presentation

Presenting online

Screensharing accessibility

Google Meet


Exercises and associated files can be found at:

Google Drive folder

The Google Slides in that folder are shared as 'view only'. In each case you will need to make copies of the files in order to edit them. So long as you're signed into a Google account, just open each file and go to File > Make a copy


You can download the whole folder in Google Drive as a zip file: right click on the folder name in Google Drive and select Download . Once unzipped, the files in the downloaded folder will be in PowerPoint and Word format.

Excel versions of the exercise files can also be found on university-managed machines at T:\IT Training\Essential Spreadsheets

Forthcoming training sessions

Forthcoming sessions on :

CITY College

Please ensure you sign up at least one working day before the start of the session to be sure of receiving joining instructions.

If you're based at CITY College you can book onto the following sessions by sending an email with the session details to your Academic Liaison Librarian:

[email protected]

There's more training events at:

what is university presentation

Colorado State University Online | Blog

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Presentation Tips for College Students

This spring semester, you may be asked to make a presentation on a final paper or project for a class. A course-based presentation is an excellent opportunity for practice and feedback before the stakes become higher as you advance in your professional and academic career. It’s better to go down in a ball of flames in front of your professor and classmates than, say, your boss, co-workers, or potential clients, right?

When the fall semester ended a few weeks ago, I did the math and found that I’d sat through roughly 180 presentations in the past three semesters as a graduate student and teaching assistant. I’ve also made several (dare I say successful) presentations myself. While I can’t claim to be an expert on public speaking, I can offer you some tips to make your presentation this spring a worthwhile learning experience and not a complete train wreck.

Review the rubric. Study the rubric prior to designing your presentation if one is given. Your professor gave you the cheat sheet. Use it.

Show up early. Be in your classroom at least 15 minutes prior to your talk. Bring a copy of your presentation on a USB drive. Your professor has to squeeze several talks into a short window, so you don’t want to be the cause of any delays.

Set an agenda. Offer an overview of what you’ll be discussing, possibly as an agenda slide. It lets your audience know where you’re going with your talk, and allows your professor to gauge how much you have left to cover as you approach your time limit.

Keep it simple. Don’t rehash your entire paper. Just give the highlights and keep it interesting. In his blog post, “ How to Create a Captivating Presentation ,” Mark McGuinness notes that a great presentation only needs “one big idea, three key points, one compelling story, one idea per slide, (and) one clear call to action.” All else may be fluff.

Cite your sources. Attribute key ideas and statistics to sources and include a reference page. Let your professor know where you’re getting your information.

Slow down. Avoid talking too fast and using “um” and “uh” as you gather your thoughts. This is much easier said than done, so practice until you’re fairly comfortable with the material. But don’t over prepare to the point you sound too robotic.

Address the audience. Talk to specific individuals in the room – not your slides or note cards. As you look around the room, don’t make too much eye contact with the professor. It gets uncomfortable, trust me. Check out professional presenter and trainer Olivia Mitchell’s discussion on Conversational Presenting for more advice on addressing the audience.

Edit your slides. Proofread your text. You don’t want glaring typos to harm your credibility. Poor design can also detract from your presentation. Check out Really Bad PowerPoint and PowerPoint Presentation Advice for tips on design.

Use technology sparingly. Employ videos and online presentation software, such as Prezi , with caution. While useful, technology can fail, cutting into valuable presentation time. I wish I had a nickel for every time a student has said, “But the video worked before when I practiced my talk.” Always test videos and online presentations in the room where you’ll be presenting prior to your talk.

Close your presentation. Give a brief overview and call to action to finish your talk, and then offer time for questions. Just like your final paper or project, you need a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Don’t leave your audience hanging.

While derived from experiences in a traditional classroom setting, these tips can also be useful for online presentations. The online environment, however, creates a host of other challenges. Here are a few good articles specific to online presentations:

Do you have any advice for either in-class or online presentations? If so, post a comment below.

This spring, try your hardest to shine in any course-based presentations you may have. Take advantage of the opportunity to present when only your grade – and not your job – is on the line.

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The University of Nottingham homepage

Studying at university

People who can help

Giving presentations.

During your time at Nottingham you will probably be asked to give a number of oral presentations, on aspects of your studies, to your tutor and peers. These may be individual presentations or they may be done as part of a group. Presentations could be integral to how your seminars are organised or it could be a way of sharing the findings of your individual or group project work.

Learning how to give clear and informative talks is a key academic skill and one which will also serve you well in your future employment. Academic staff at the University are themselves asked to give short presentations when they discuss their research work at academic conferences. So you are likely to find them very understanding of the fact that many students find giving a presentation a little daunting and nerve racking.

This section includes suggestions for how you can develop your skills, cope with your nerves and get the most out of giving presentations. It includes:

Students presenting

Further reading

Types of teaching

Practical strategies for managing presentations

more Academic Support study resources

Talk to someone in your school or a specialist support service

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Presentation tips.

Later sections of these training materials provide options for delivering presentations that will help staff and administrators provide accessible student services. The Presentations section also contains case studies, evaluation instruments, and overhead templates to use in presentations. Once you select a presentation topic, consider incorporating some of the following suggestions to make your presentation more effective.

"The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you're born and never stops working until you get up to speak in public." (Unknown source)

The quality of your presentation is directly related to the quality of your preparation. Rarely will you have difficulties in your presentation as a result of being "overprepared."

Create a comfortable learning environment

"The worst human fears are speaking in front of a group of people, dying, and speaking and dying in front of a group of people." (Unknown source)

Manage your anxiety

"There are two kinds of public speakers-those who admit to their nervousness and liars." (Mark Twain)

Nervousness before a talk or workshop is healthy. It shows that your presentation is important to you and that you care about doing well. The best performers are nervous prior to stepping on stage. Below are suggestions for assuring that anxiety does not have a negative impact on your presentation.

Photo of two students working on a hands-on activity with an instructor.

Create a strong beginning 

"The greatest talent is meaningless without one other vital component: passion." (Selwyn Lager)

Most audiences give you only 30-60 seconds to convince them they want to listen to you. Keep your opening simple and exciting.

Incorporate universal design principles

"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best." (Oscar Wilde)

Model accessible teaching methods that your participants can use. Incorporate universal design principles to address the needs of participants with a wide range of knowledge, abilities, disabilities, interests, and learning styles. Examples are listed below.

Create a dynamic presentation

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." (Albert Einstein)

If your audience enjoys and remembers your information, it is because you presented it in a dynamic or compelling manner.

Photo of an instructor delivering information while surrounded by a group of students.

Make your presentation interactive 

"It is better to ask some questions than to know all the answers." (James Thurber)

Avoid simply lecturing to your audience. Engage your audience in active discussion.

Include a group activity

"Real prosperity can only come when everybody prospers." (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt)

Include a short activity that makes an important point and encourages participation and discussion. Here's one to try. Announce that you're going to have a five-minute activity, and then ask your participants to choose someone sitting near to them to share with each other two things:

Write and read aloud the instructions on an overhead projector, PowerPoint™ slide, or flip chart. Give them 3-4 minutes ( there will be a lot of laughter and lighthearted talk ), and then say you're not really interested in what they do well; ask people to share things that their partner does not do well. ( This usually ends up humorous-they enjoy telling things like he can't do math, he hates public speaking, she's not good at fixing things around the house. )

After the fun, make the point that "You have experienced, in a small way, what a person with an obvious disability experiences all the time-that people notice FIRST something they are not particularly good at (e.g., walking, seeing, hearing) and don't take the time to learn their strengths. A disability may impact 10% of his day/life, yet it is considered his defining characteristic by others. We need to pay attention to what everyone, including those with disabilities, CAN do, rather than accentuating what they can't do." To emphasize the point, ask them to reflect on how they felt when you said you weren't really interested in what they do well.

The benefits of this activity include that it is short, fun, and effective. It addresses the issue of attitudes yet does not have some of the negative elements of traditional simulations that leave people feeling like having a disability is impossible to deal with. This activity is also good to use when talking about internal and external barriers to success for students with disabilities, which can include lack of self-advocacy skills (internal barrier) and negative attitudes / low expectations on the part of individuals with whom they interact (external barrier).

For guidance on simulation activities consult Disability-related Simulations: If, When, and How to Use Them in The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (Burgstahler & Doe, 2004).

Incorporate case studies

"Adults remember 90% of what they say as they do a thing, 70% of what they say or write, 50% of what they hear and see, 30% of what they see, 20% of what they hear, and 10% of what they read." (Unknown source)

Have participants discuss case studies in small groups. In the Presentations section of this notebook are examples of case studies that can be used in your presentation. They are all based on real experiences at postsecondary institutions. Each case study is formatted as a handout that can be duplicated for small-group discussion. On the back of each activity sheet is the full case description, including the solution actually employed. This version can be used for your information only or distributed to the group after the initial brainstorming has occurred. Participants can compare their ideas with the resolution in the actual case. Using this format, consider creating case studies based on experiences on your campus.

Address key points

"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Be sure that your presentation covers the most important content for your audience.

Photo of an audience of students and staff responding positively to a presenter.

Provide resources for participants to keep 

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." (Karl Marx)

Make sure that you provide your audience with information they can follow up on after your presentation.

Conclude with a strong ending

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." (Benjamin Disraeli)

The most important and remembered words you speak are the last ones.

Improve each presentation

"What I hear, I forget; what I see, I remember; but what I do, I understand." (Confucius, 451 BC)

Take steps to gain feedback about your presentation that will lead to improvements.

"When you can do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." (George Washington Carver)

In summary, to give effective presentations in which the participants gain needed information in a dynamic way, make sure to:


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