Delivering presentations - checklist

Man in a white shirt delivering a presentation to a group of people sat around a table

This checklist will help you to deliver a presentation, and includes advice on body language, covering the key points and dealing with questions

  • Arrive in plenty of time.
  • Prepare yourself. Remind yourself that you have a good presentation. Take deep breaths to relax if you are nervous.
  • Familiarise yourself with the room, if possible. How many will attend the presentation, where will they sit in relation to you, where is the presentation equipment positioned?
  • Check your preparations. Ensure your notes and visual aids are in order and any equipment is working.
  • Introduce yourself and explain your role.
  • Ask questions - about their particular areas of interest, for example - and adjust your presentation in light of the responses.
  • Start your presentation with an overview of its structure and the key points you intend to make.
  • Encourage questions. Explain that you will try to answer them as they arise. Postpone complex answers until the end of the presentation. If you can't answer a question there and then, say so and follow up after the presentation.
  • Cover the key points in turn. Show visual aids only when relevant.
  • Speak clearly. Concentrate on speaking slowly if you are nervous and use pauses for emphasis.
  • Project positive body language with a confident, open posture. Smile naturally - there is nothing more off-putting than a forced grin.
  • When using a screen or projector, talk to the audience, not the images behind you. Turn equipment off when not in use so the audience is not distracted.
  • Continually scan the audience, maintaining eye contact. Watch for inattention, fidgeting and other signs of boredom.
  • Use questions and names to recapture attention and involve people.
  • Respond to the audience. Be ready to change your approach to address their areas of interest, if appropriate.
  • Finish the presentation with a summary of the key points. Stress the benefits of taking action.
  • Provide any handouts after the presentation, when they can no longer distract the audience. They can reinforce your message.
  • Deal with any remaining questions and ask for feedback.
  • Establish the next step, and note any follow-up action required from you.

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