Presentation Guide

Posted: October 17, 2016
Category: Conferences, Presentation Guide

Ken Wilson ELT



Tips for making a great presentation


Whether you are a seasoned professional who has been presenting for many years, or a nervous first-timer, the following tips are intended to act as a simple guide or reminder.

What to bring

Aside from yourself, and at the right time, bring along a copy of your presentation on a USB. We also recommend bringing a back-up or mailing yourself a copy in the case one fails. Some people will bring along copies of their papers for people who may be interested. We also recommend that you bring a stack of business cards.

What to wear

Professional attire is appreciated by fellow professionals, so we suggest erring on the smart side… although you don’t have to wear a tie!

Watch out for…

Make sure to rename your file under your name as many presenters name their presentation file ‘IAFOR’ or ‘UK’ and looking for the file cuts into presentation time!


Time is of vital importance in making a presentation, so please be aware of both the overall length of your presentation, as well as how the time is divided within your presentation, so you leave the appropriate amount of time for each point.

How long is the perfect presentation?

You have a 25-minute slot allocated for you, but your actual presentation should be no longer than twenty minutes. We would suggest aiming for around 15-18 minutes. This will allow ample time for directly engaging with the audience through discussion and questions. The session chair will hold up a yellow card 5 minutes from the end of your allotted 20 minutes, and a red card indicating that your time is up. Ideally, you should not be shown either of these.

Practice makes Perfect!

Practice ahead of time with your colleagues and friends. Invite feedback and incorporate their criticisms as you polish your presentation. Your presentation should be interesting and informative, well paced and lively. Show your passion for your subject: enthusiasm is infectious!


Long before the conference, make sure you spend ample time distilling and crafting your ideas into a presentation. Do NOT just read your paper. A great paper does not equal a great presentation. Practice delivery, timing and use of visuals a long while ahead of the event.

Content and Content Management

Make sure you know what you want to say, the points that you wish to cover, and keep your presentation clear, simple and concise. Your presentation should be clearly and logically structured so that both you and your audience know where you are going. Visuals and signposts will help along the way, especially if you are using PowerPoint. See below for PowerPoint tips.

PowerPoint Slide Guide

How many slides should I use? There is no perfect number for a PowerPoint presentation, but less is definitely more. We suggest around 10-15 slides for a 20-minute presentation.

How should I arrange my slides?

Your first slide should be the title of your presentation, with your name and affiliation. You should then outline the structure of your presentation in the following slide, with the themes or areas you will be addressing. Subsequent slides should follow the order outlined in this slide, with a separate slide introducing each new theme or area, followed by slides containing supplementary supporting text, images or statistics in-between. Your final slides should contain concluding points and further research questions, and your last slide should both thank the audience for their time and attention, as well as give them your contact details should they wish to follow up later by email or a form of social media.


  • CHECK your facts, figures and quotes are accurate.
  • CHECK your presentation for grammatical, syntactical and typographical errors.  This is particularly important if your native language is not English.
  • CHECK your time, ensuring that you are able to present what you need to in the time given, and that the presentation lasts for no longer than twenty minutes. Coming in under the 20 minute mark is better than running overtime.
  • CHECK your presentation is interesting and informative, and that you are delivering it with the enthusiasm that it deserves.
  • CHECK you have a few printed copies of your presentation for your colleagues.

Further help

Past IAFOR speaker, and presentation guru, Garr Reynolds has an excellent guide to preparing for presentations, designing slides, and delivery on his website.

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