Skip main navigation

6 top tips to get started as a presenter

After analysing your current style and thought about what makes a good presenter, here are 6 tips to put it all together.
Presenters at a conference workshop
© Royal Observatory Greenwich

These pointers can be used whether or not you are given a script or creating something from scratch – it doesn’t matter. As a presenter, it is helpful to ask yourself these questions to make sure you are delivering the right presentation.

Here are 6 top tips for getting started and things to think about.

6 top tips to get started as a presenter

1. Purpose

What is the purpose of this presentation? Is it to educate? To entertain? To pitch for work? To report on projects?

Have it clear in your mind what you want and need to get out of the presentation before you begin as something that is designed as a pitch for work and an educational programme for 5-year-olds for example will require a different approach.

2. Structure

How are you going to get from A to B in this presentation? Using a narrative is incredibly helpful here as it not only adds some interest but it also helps you as the presenter to follow your train of thought. Jon Spooner will be chatting to us more about this in week 2.

3. Who?

You need to think about your audience from the outset as it will affect every aspect of your presentation. This can further be split out into the following subsections:

3.1 Formal or informal?

Think about the context carefully to help you pitch. Is this for children or is it a formal board meeting – each scenario would require a very different approach.

3.2 Age range and pitch?

This is particularly relevant if you are presenting to children as the sorts of potentially sensitive subjects they might come into contact with at different ages can really vary.

For example, just talking about a subject like black holes can raise lots of questions about death which depending on their age can be a frightening subject to broach.

It doesn’t matter whether you are presenting to a group of school children all roughly the same age, a mixed family audience or a group of academics – thinking about the age range of your audience is always helpful.

3.3 Preconceived knowledge?

Are you speaking to your team who all work on the same project and know the acronyms you use or are you talking to people who you haven’t met before?

4. Duration?
Find out how long you have to work with it and stick to it. If your presentation is taking too long it is possible you have included things that are unnecessary. Be brutal and objective and only include what you really need.

5. Method?

Will you be presenting digitally or in person? The approach for each is similar but you need to know in advance to eliminate the element of surprise.

6. Supporting materials?
Things like slides, handouts and props can be useful to help you frame your thoughts initially but try not to use them as a crutch.

Occasionally, tech can let you down, so it is always a good idea to not necessarily be reliant on slides but just use them as a prompt or to show something of particular interest.

Once you have thought about these aspects you are ready to get cracking!

© Royal Observatory Greenwich
This article is from the free online

Become a Better Presenter: Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education