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To plan a presentation with a strong focus, you need to be clear about your purpose. This gives you direction for your planning, and prevents you from wandering off the topic.

Focusing your presentation

Write your purpose down in a simple sentence. For example:

my objective is to:

  • inform my audience about my progress in my research.

or ...

  • explain how the cost of products is influenced by economic factors such as ...

or ...

  • explain the advantages and disadvantages of ...
  • describe the main features of ...

This then forms a framework for your planning and will help you address your task.

Knowing your audience

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Be aware of your audience. The style of delivery of the presentation is shaped by your audience's characteristics. Consider:

  • their values and needs,
  • their level of knowledge on the subject, and
  • their expectations for your presentation.

Your audience's characteristics determine the amount and the depth of the material you present. For instance, for an informed audience, you can skim over the basic material. If they don't know much about your topic, you need to provide enough background information so they can understand the presentation.

At university, you should use a 'fairly formal' tone in your presentation. Colloquial language and slang is generally not appropriate, but neither is the stuffy, formal language you would use to write a report.


Are they...

  • experts or non-experts?
  • first-years, postgraduates, or lecturers?
  • general public or academic staff?
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