Learning presentation skills.

Part of this course is to be able to develop presentation skills with intentions of being able to carry out speaking in front of others confidently. This will help also in later life when it comes to facing more challenging situations.
We were given a lecture all about how presentations can be made more enjoyable for the audience,  what makes a good presentation and what skills will be useful when presenting.
One example of a good speaker is Steve Jobs. As a very successful and well known man, he has to do a lot of talks in front of thousands of people. This requires a lot of confidence. This is a skill which seems to come naturally to Steve Jobs.

There are many ways to put across a good presentation. I found the following tips really useful and am going to focus on these to help with my presentation skills throughout this degree.

  • Introduce Yourself – Begin by introducing yourself and the topic of the presentation. e.g ‘The first thing I am going to talk to you about etc…’
  • Quotes – Include quotes from inspired people. This can include quotes that are relevant to the presentation or quotes from the person who you are doing the presentation about
  • Powerpoint – Using Microsoft Powerpoint can be a great way to show visuals when presenting. When using a powerpoint, it is always key to make sure the colours don’t clash. This can cause distraction. The titles should be bold and clear and easy to read.
    Use bullet points instead of filling the slide with paragraphs of writing. The bullet points will allow the audience an insight into what you are talking about, you as the presenter can then go into detail further. Try not to read directly from the slides. This can be boring for the audience and people will lose interest. When presenting with a Powerpoint, it is good to stand next to the screen as if you stand infront of the screen, it will block the visuals from being seen by the audience.
  • Pauses and breathing – Don’t rush from one thing to another. When changing topic, take a slight pause else the presentation will seem rushed with not much thought gone into it. If nervous, take deep  breaths as this will help when speaking and feel more confident.
  • Back up plan – It is always a good idea to have a back up plan. This is useful when technology may fail. If your file corrupts, or there is a connection error. The way to get round this is by having notes on paper and maybe some large prints to talk about.
  • Humour – It is always good to include a couple of relevant jokes. This will engage the audience and keep them entertained.
  • Practise, Practise, Practise – You can never practise your presentation enough. There a different methods you can use to practise your presentation. You can video yourself and watch back to see what you need to improve on. You can also practise in small groups of people you know well as this is usually easier. People can then give you good feedback and constructive criticism.


First Group Presentation

To help practise our presentation skills, we were put in groups of 7 with a list of 7 photographers and together we had to produce a powerpoint presentation with information and examples of work by the given photographers. I was in a group where we had to focus on:-

  • Elenor Carucci
  • Larry Clark
  • Nan Goldin
  • Martin Parr
  • Gregory Crewdson
  • Simon Norfolk
  • Robert Adams

I chose to work on Larry Clark. I looked at a selection of his work and focused on his ‘Tulsa’ series. This really interested me and his work had a few stories behind it. This is the image that struck my attention.

I feel like the presentation went well considering the time we had to prepare in. If I was to do this again, I would be more thorough and talk slower so that the audience could engage with what I was saying.


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