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Creating Presentations

Technical Presentations

A technical presentation is a medium that informs or persuades a specific audience. It often engages with its audience, and it is not peer-reviewed. 

When beginning to create your presentation, be sure to review the requirements and rubric. Create an outline that addresses the following:

  • What is your purpose? How will you inform/persuade the audience?
  • What is your presentation method?
  • What are the audience’s takeaways? 

Choose a layout that will meet your criteria:

  • Academic Journal: introduction, hypothesis, methodologies, discussion, conclusion
  • Harvard Layout: beginning, middle, end
  • Problem/Big picture – Causes – Solution – Summary
  • Chronological
  • Order of importance

Format your slides in a clear way to enhance audience comprehension:

  • Font: Calibri or Arial, 40 point title, 28 point heading, 24 point subheading
  • Text: less is more, and proofread carefully
  • Colour and Effects: use sparingly
  • Graphics: use to increase understanding, convey more information than text, and/or to make a point memorable. Keep graphics relevant (ex. charts, tables, graphs, images). 
  • Timing: general rule is one minute per slide

Share an agenda in your introduction and refer to it during the presentation, including your main objective. Other helpful tips for technical presentations:

  • Introduce speakers and their role in the project in your introduction
  • Decide how much time you will spend on each section (ex. 2 minute introduction, 10 minute body, 3 minute conclusion)
  • Don’t rely on too much technical jargon; present to the least knowledgeable and build upon this during the presentation
  • Try different presentation modes (ex. whiteboards, Prezi, Google Slides, Visme)

 

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

References

“How to make Technical presentation.” YouTube, uploaded by Introduction to Research – I, 3 Feb. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQrj_7xkeNI.

Ernst, Michael. “How to give a technical presentation.” Advice for researchers and students, 1 Dec. 2020, https://homes.cs.washington.edu/~mernst/advice/giving-talk.html.

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