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While you are at University you will probably be asked either individually or as a group, to make a presentation of some kind.

These can be either quite informal:

  • to introduce yourself to other members of your class
  • to give you experience of working and communicating as a group

Or more formal with either rules or guidance applied:

  • assessed multimedia presentation using PowerPoint or similar tools
  • assessed verbal presentation
  • assessed poster presentation
  • conference paper or poster

These presentations may be delivered face to face or online.

On this page you will find clear guidance and links to resources which will support the presentation of your ideas and findings. In addition look at our reading list of books about presentations.

The latest version of PowerPoint and Publisher are available as part of the Free Microsoft Office download for students and staff. Also see PowerPoint 365 - Tutorials and Guides.


  • Presenting Online

    If you are asked to present your assignment online then check out our top tips here to help you with various aspects.

    Presenting Online TopTips



  • Creating a narrated PowerPoint

    The process of creating a narrated PowerPoint works best in the Office 365 version of PowerPoint. This can be done in either the desktop or web version - these instructions are for the desktop version.

    If you need the desktop version of PowerPoint 365 for your own device, University of Cumbria students and staff can download it for free using the following instructions: FREE Microsoft Office Pro

    Creating your narrated presentation

    1. Open the PowerPoint presentation in which you would like to record a voiceover narration. Head over to the “Slide Show” tab and, in the “Set Up” group, select “Record Slide Show.” Once selected, a drop-down menu will appear. Here, you can choose to start the narration from the beginning or from the current slide. If you choose to start recording from the current slide, make sure that you’re on the slide you’d like to start recording from.

    In this example, we’ll choose “Record from Beginning.”


    2. Now, you’ll be in full-screen mode. You’ll notice a few extra tools appear, including a record button at the top-left corner of the screen. When you’re ready to start recording, click this button.


    3. When you select the record button, a countdown timer will appear, giving you a three-second delay between clicking the button and starting your recording.


    4. You can now start recording your voiceover narration! Continue through the presentation by clicking the right arrow to go to the next slide.


    5. You can pause the recording at any time by pressing the pause button in the top-left corner of the window. The recording will automatically end when you make it to the last slide. Alternatively, you can press the stop button, also located at the top-left corner of the screen.


    6. If you want to play your narration back, you can select the replay button.


    7. A speaker icon will appear at the bottom-right corner of each slide that has a recorded narration. You can also play your narration back on each slide by hovering over the icon and pressing the play button.


    8. If you’re not satisfied with the narration, simply repeat these steps to re-record.

    9. You can (optionally) save your recorded presentation as a video: Save a presentation as a video​ in PowerPoint - PowerPoint (


    The content in this section was created by How To GeekHow to Record Voiceover Narration in PowerPoint (

  • Effective Presentations [Video series]

    View our 3 videos on how to prepare, structure and present your presentation.

    Remember to follow your assignment brief when creating presentations.  There may also be some examples on your module site to guide you but for others, particularly for tips on style and impact, look at ones on the Slideshare website.

    Effective Presentations Part 1: Preparation

    Download our printable guide to Effective Presentations Part 1.

    Effective Presentations Part 2: Structure

    Download our printable guide to Effective Presentations Part 2.

    Effective Presentations Part 3: Presenting

    Download our printable guide to Effective Presentations Part 3.

  • Referencing

    Sources used in presentations need referencing correctly just like any other assignment. Ensure you include references both within your text and on a reference list. 

    For general guidance see our Quick Guide to Referencing for books, articles and online resources.  

    As images, tables, charts and videos are often seen or referred to on presentations details of these formats can be found in CitethemRightOnline

  • Dealing with Nerves: Public Speaking

    Positive Presentations

    Watch this video for tips and guidance on being a positive and confident presenter.  This pdf version provides links to content signposted in the video:   Positive Presentations

    Direct link to video: 

    Note: You may need to login to Microsoft Stream to view this video on some devices.


    • The more you practise and become familiar with your presentation content, the more comfortable you will feel on the day.
    • Understand the core concepts of what you are delivering.
    • Prep any additional visual aids, handouts or prompt cards well in advance. 
    • Use cards as prompts, rather than as a script to memorise.
    • Anticipate what questions you might be asked and prepare answers in advance.
    • Have a reference list so that if you forget an author's name, a specific title, you can signpost audience to your reference list.


    • Go somewhere quiet and close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and visualise your whole presentation from start to finish. 
    • See yourself feeling happy in the situation, calm and in control.
    • Hear that you have a clear, evenly paced voice 
    • imagine your audience are listening and interested in what you are saying.
    • Understand that your audience want you to do well.
    • See yourself complete your presentation successfully where you end by dealing with any questions confidently. 


    Think positively about your presentation and it can improve your prospects, so tell yourself:

    • I am good at this
    • I enjoy sharing about practice via presentations
    • I want to do well! 

    Further resources on public speaking

    The University library holds a number of books on presentation skills and many of these include sections on dealing with nerves. Check out our readings list or use OneSearch to discover other available resources.

    LinkedIn Learning (university login required) includes short video-based courses on public speaking and presentations, including:

    Presentation Magazine includes a number of interesting sections including Public Speaking.

  • Presenting Top Tips

    Opening your presentation

    • Grabbing the audience’s attention right at the start is vital. You want them to sit up and listen and think you are worth listening to.
    • Get the full attention of your audience. Wait until everyone is quiet, is seated, has stopped talking, has found pen and paper and is listening.
    • Tell the audience who you are and why you are speaking to them. Build up your authority.
    • Explain to the audience ‘what is in it for them’. What is the benefit of listening to you?
    • Go through the structure of your presentation. Give them direction.

    Grabbing their attention


    Safer than a joke. Establishes a more personal contact between you and the audience. Helps to relax both you and the audience.

    Shock opening

    Can really make the audience sit and listen. You need to be confident about it however. If in doubt, try a safer option.


    Relating the topic to what happened in the past, showing progress made, etc…


    Can be a very effective way to open a presentation. Make sure it is not clichéd.

    Current affairs

    Referring to some relevant news item can be effective and the audience should be familiar with it as well. It helps give relevance to the presentation and its purpose.

    Statement or statistics

    Don’t use too many. One or two well chosen ones combine the shock element with brevity.


    Well chosen comparisons can be very dramatic.


    Direct a question to the audience to help them get involved.

    Closing your presentation

    The end of the presentation is very much like the opening. You want their full attention.

    • Signpost the conclusion: ‘in summary…’ or ‘in conclusion…’
    • The last few words said by the speaker are what tend to stay with the audience so try and make them memorable.
    • Use some of the suggested ways for opening your presentation when you close it.
    • Hold your position at the end of the presentation:
      • Don’t lose your energy
      • Do not appear to be in a rush to leave
      • Do come to a definite close
    • You might want to pose a question to the audience which they can consider after the presentation or by calling the audience to action.
    • Think of the close of the presentation as being the ‘take home message’ – the thought that your audience will take away with them.
  • Poster Presentations

    Poster presentations are a highly visual way to promote information. They are usually printed on large size paper (but increasingly are created for online presentation) and use a mix of text, images, charts and tables. They are a common form of assessment such as for presenting dissertation proposals and are often used for presenting research to peers at academic conferences and other events.

    If you want to see some examples of posters go to your preferred search engine and do an image search for "academic posters" or "academic poster examples" - look at the results with a critical eye. Check out these academic poster examples via Google for ideas.

    Create your academic poster 

    Check your assignment brief for specific guidelines such as the required size.

    For guidance on setting up poster sizing (including A0 and A1), orientation, fonts, printing and more click on our guides below depending on which software you prefer. The latest version of PowerPoint and Publisher are available as part of the Free Microsoft Office download for students and staff.

    Poster presentations - useful links

    Presenting your poster

    Once displayed you may be required to present your poster, talking to an audience and answering questions.

    See the Public Speaking and Top Tips sections (above) for guidance on these aspects.

  • Newscast Presentations

    You may be asked to make a newscast style presentation for your course. The easiest way to do this is to build an auto-playing PowerPoint presentation that holds your content. The following documents have been created to support this process.

    Newscast Presentation in PowerPoint - BBC style

    Newscast Presentation in PowerPoint - Guardian style

    Newscast Presentation in PowerPoint - instructions

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