Presentation Tips

This is a list of Presentation tips that we have collected. Please contact us with any other tips that you have.


ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN!! We do everything in our power to make sure that problems do not arise, but sometimes things go wrong. Try to have an “alternate no AV” lecture planned, if the system should go down. We DO NOT supply whiteboard markers, instructors must bring their own. Chalk is furnished by custodial.

Practice. If you have a complex presentation planned with several different multimedia, go to the room ahead of time and practice your presentation. We would be happy to meet you at the room and assist with any preparations or extra instructions.

Invest in a laser pointer. They are inexpensive, and are extremely useful.

Use color to influence mood and emotion. The colors for type, illustrations and backgrounds influence the way they are perceived. Here is a basic guide to using color in your presentations:

  • Red – excitement, alert
  • Green – growth
  • Yellow – confidence, warmth, wisdom
  • Purple – dignity, sophistication
  • White – professionalism, new, innocence
  • Blue – truth, trust, justice
  • Black – authority, strength
  • Orange – action, optimism
  • Brown – friendliness, warmth
  • Grey – integrity, maturity

Include photographs to inject realism. The more true to life you make the issue you are presenting, the better your audience will understand and identify with it. Remember the impact you can add by using photos or video of people on location, using products or talking to the audience.

Check out the room ahead of time. Before your first lecture, check out the room, and make sure it has everything you need. This will avoid unwanted surprises the first day of class.

Experiment and try new things. These rooms often have capabilities other than what most people use them for. Something as simple as playing a CD while students enter and exit often adds to the class. We would be happy to assist you in experimenting.

Convert 35mm slides to computer files. Kodak has discontinued manufacturing slide projectors. You can still use slides in rooms that currently have slide projectors. However, when the slide projector fails, it is unlikely that we will be able to repair or replace it. New AV installations will not include slide projectors.

Apply appropriate typestyles for readability. For hand-outs or take-home material print the paragraph copy in a serif typestyle. This style has been proven to be 30% easier to read. Type that is projected on a screen, using a slide, overhead or multimedia projector, should be in sans serif type. That’s because in the projection process letters lose some of their sharpness, and serif type can look muddy when projected.

  • This is “Times Roman”. It is a serif type. Notice the tiny scrollwork on the ends of each letter.
  • This is “Arial”. It is a sans serif type. It does not have the tiny scrollwork on the ends of each letter.

Insert illustrations to clarify or emphasize. If your topic is complex, an illustration lets you simplify the way it looks. Also, illustrations allow you to show exploded views or views normally not seen, such as interiors.

Document Camera

The Document Camera is one of the most versatile and often used devices. Using it correctly can greatly enhance a lecture.

Create your documents with big, simple fonts. Use the biggest fonts possible. Larger fonts are easier to read. Fonts without “serifs”, like Ariel, are easier to read as well. 14 point or larger is recommended.

Move the paper around. Instead of zooming out so the entire paper is visible, zoom in to the current part, then move the paper as necessary.

Use the Zoom feature. Zoom in so the words are as big and well-framed as possible. Avoid unnecessary white space or unused paper.

Experiment. The document camera allows you to do many things that an overhead projector can’t. Try putting the textbook under the camera. Bring in 3-dimensional objects and put them under the document camera. Using a blank transparency sheet or sheet of regular paper, write under the document camera. You can even use the document camera to display slides!


Use the microphone! Even if you talk loudly enough, or it is a small room, use it! Students can’t hear when you turn to the chalkboard or away from them. A mic will insure that you will always be understandable.

Place the microphone correctly. The top of the microphone should directly face your mouth. Place the microphone about 4-6 inches below your mouth, in the center of your chest. Try to avoid wearing chains or necklaces that can hit the microphone.

Use other microphones. If you are having a guest speaker, or a panel discussion, bring in additional microphones. Contact Classroom Media Support for assistance.

Computer Presentations

Incorporate audio into computer presentations. All rooms have inputs for computer audio. Incorporate sound effects or audio clips into presentations.

Use large fonts. On your Power Point presentation, use the biggest fonts realistically possible. Small fonts are hard to read.

Use contrasting colors. A dark background with light text is easily readable.

Use drop shadows. Adding drop shadows to text makes it more legible.

Avoid busy backgrounds. Keep the background simple. Too much in the background makes the text hard to read.

Avoid using red text. Red text is often hard to read.

Try not to rely on the Internet. If you are displaying web pages, download them before class and save them to disk. Network connections can be slow and unreliable at times.

Invest in a wireless mouse. It is helpful to be able to advance pages from across the room.

Display information by Progressive Building. Students respond well to gradually adding information.

Include a good combination of words, pictures, and graphics. A variety keeps the presentation interesting.

Experiment! The computer is an extremely powerful and flexible tool. There’s no end to what it can do.

AVOID ALL CAPS! All caps look like you’re shouting.


Always use the highest quality version possible. VHS videotape does not stand the test of time very well, and does not hold up over several generations of copies. Use the newest tape or recording possible, and avoid several-generation copies (a copy of a copy of a copy…). If taping a program off television, use the fastest tape speed (SP), and use the original version, not a copy. If making your own tape using a camcorder, try to use an external microphone and not rely on the built-in camcorder mic.