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Presentation - ATK

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1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.

Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) - 

  • up to 1 hour with an Academic Skills Advisor

Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.  

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Body Language

When delivering a presentation, your body language serves as an equal component to the content you have prepared.  In addition to the information you share, and, whether you are aware or not, you will be communicating with your audience using body language which will help convey your message and effect the way they perceive your arguments.

There are numerous tips for improving upon and capitalising from effectively using body language, your voice and your eyes

Your body infograph
When done well, effective body language will boost confidence during presentations for both the speaker and audience.  Some tips to consider include:

  • Opening your ams and chest and keeping your back straight. 
    • You will breathe better in this position and will therefore feel more relaxed
    • Use intonation to keep from sounding monotonous
    • Relax your shoulders
    • Place your hands behind your back lightly if you are prone to fidgeting
    • Do not put your hands in your pockets
  • Smile at your audience
    • It will make them feel more comfortable
    • Unless your topic is particularly grim, smiling is your best weapon
  • Move away from the podium
    • It created a barrier between you and the audience
  • Face your audience
    • Resist the urge to face the projector
    • Do not turn your back on your audience- it makes it harder for them to hear you and causes disengagement
  • Gesture with your arms and hands in a natural way
    • It will engage your audience and they are more likely to pay attention to you
    • Varying your gestures (head, arms, hands) will also help keep the audience's attention
    • Be careful not to point directly at anyone, but use your entire hand, preferrably in an open gesture
    • If you point to a slide of particular importance, make sure you look at the slide simultaneously.  Your audience will follow your eyes and hand.
  • Use small and stiff gestures
    • This conveys authority and reinforces your audience's confidence in you as a speaker
  • Use the space
    • You do not have to stay in one spot for the entirety of your presentation
    • Moving around will help you feel more calm
    • It will allow you to engage with the audience more effectively
    • Do not move around too much- your movement should not distract the audience
  • Sell your story with gestures
    • Using positive gestures such as nodding, mirroring, using open gestures, etc. will help to win over your audience and convey your confidence.


Your voice
The tone of your voice has an important impact, so use it to your advantage.  Some things to consider with regard to speaking include:

  • Convey enthusiasm  speak
    • Regardless of the subject matter, you should speak with an appropriate level of enthusiasm
    • Use intonation to keep from sounding monotonous
  • Speak to everyone in the room
    • don’t just focus on one or two people, they will feel uncomfortable and others may feel left out
  • Be conscious of your speed
    • When we are nervous we tend to speak faster than our usual speed, so slow down, pause between statements giving your audience time to digest what you have said                                                                    Image by David Gallagher from Flickr ccl2
  • Be mindful of how you are speaking
    • Speak clearly and concisely
    • Speak from the heart
    • If your audience looks confused, take the opportunity to check-in with them to clarify any issues or misunderstandings

Your eyes
Where you are looking during your presentation reveals your level of confidence and ability to engage with your audience. 

  • Make eye contact
    • Actively engaging in eye contact will capture the attention of your audience and demonstrate your confidence in delivering the presentation
  • Scan around the room so that everyone feels included
    • Visually checking-in with your audience will allow you to recognise if their attention is dwindling
  • Do not spend too much time looking at the slides or your notes
    • This makes you appear unprepared for your presentation and disengaged with the audience