Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Creating Presentations

Effective Presentations 

  • Know your message. To plan, reduce your focus to one key sentence. This practice creates direction.  

  • Plan without tech. Organize your message using a pen and paper or Word document BEFORE creating a PowerPoint or other digital presentation tool.  

  • Keep attention on you. Do you need PowerPoint? If you do use a visual aid, keep text minimal. 

Consider narrative structure. Use narrative structure to make memorable presentations. 

  • What is / what could be. Contrast our ordinary world with an idealized, improved vision. Use multiple, specific examples and identify steps to achieve positive change. 

  • The Hero’s Journey. Show how we learn and grow by facing trials and challenges. 

  • False start. Create a false impression of what the story will be, then change the narrative. Use this approach for stories of problem-solving, innovation, and flexibility. 

  • Petal structure. Highlight relationships among ideas. Cluster related stories around a central concept. In a group presentation, assign each member a story. 

  • In medias res. Put audience members into main action, then explain how you got there. 

  • Nested loops. Your first story is also your last story; your second story is your second-to-last story, etc. Maintain audience interest as you loop back to your central idea. 

Building Confidence 

  • Practice! Confirm pronunciations; eliminate odd transitions, wordy slides, and fuzzy graphics. 

  • Acknowledge emotions. It’s okay if you’re nervous. The audience wants you to succeed! 

  • Build confidence through knowledge. The more you know, the easier it will be to share. 

  • Anticipate questions, but if you don’t know an answer, don’t panic: acknowledge and move on. 

  • Understand body language. Stand straight, walk around, use gestures, and smile! 

  • Fake it until you make it. Acting confident often helps us feel more confident! 

Managing Group Work 

  • Take time to understand. Discuss opinions, personal commitments, strengths, and weaknesses. 

  • Assign responsibility. Agree on consequences for missed deadlines or low-quality work. 

  • Recognize contributions. Be accepting of other viewpoints. Value each team member’s work. 


Improve your writing and study skills! Book an appointment with a writing advisor and/or academic coach on OSCARplus.  Questions? Email


Sparkol. 8 classic storytelling techniques for engaging presentations. (2018, March 30). 

Ask Chat is Offline - Send an Email