Presentation skills: How to rock your presentation

Written by: Kerstin Lakits, May 12, 2022

What started as a short talk in school is now a full-on presentation at university. In addition to interesting and well-prepared topics, your presentation skills are crucial. These include visual media, body language, intonation and much more. No matter whether speaking in public is easy for you or not, nothing can go wrong with these tips and information.

The right medium

Which medium is right for you mainly depends on the context and topic of your presentation. And of course, your personal preferences. Here is an overview with all the advantages and disadvantages that will help you decide.

Self-made posters are almost vintage. Even though you have to put a lot of work into making them, they add a personal touch to your presentation. However, you cannot change anything visually during your presentation.

PowerPoint is definitely a classic. The advantages are:

  • the easy set-up,
  • dynamic elements and
  • endless design possibilities.

Make sure that you do not overload your slides with information or make them too distracting.

There is also the online software Prezi, which is:

  • very creative and aesthetically pleasing,
  • compatible with all operating systems and
  • cloud-based.

The only disadvantage is that Prezi is not free, but you can try it with a free version.

What do I need for a good presentation?

Now we will show you exactly how your presentation will be perfect.

Student sitzt am Tisch


Good preparation already starts with choosing your topic, which should be clear and limited. Adapt the extent of your topic to the available length of your presentation, so that you can present all the important facts without time pressure.

After choosing the topic, you can start doing extensive research. With the collected data, you create the overall structure. Make sure to have a continual and logical structure.

Now you can fill the slides with the most important facts. Humans can only process 7 +/-2 information units (e.g. as 5-9 bullet points). Use this theory for your presentation. Per slide, you can list 5-9 pieces of information as support for your oral presentation. You should fill your slides with names, dates, numbers, pictures, etc.

Student sitzt am Tisch


An old piece of advice is: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you’ve told them.” In the beginning tell your audience what you are going to talk about. In the main part you present your content and in the end you sum up what you’ve just said.

Voice and language

Your voice is the backbone of your presentation. Therefore, speak loudly, clearly and at a comfortable speed, so that the audience can follow you. Principally make sure that you are using appropriate language (no dialects or slang).

Studentin präsentiert, lächelt, schaut ins Publikum und deutet mit ihrer Hand

Body language and eye contact

You convey confidence and competence with your appearance, especially with your body language. The basics are: Puff your chest, suck in your stomach and keep your head high. Keep your hands at stomach height. But most importantly: Stay relaxed!

Your facial expressions and gestures make your presentation livelier and emphasise your content. Take short glances at your notes and then let your glance wander through the audience.

Good presentation skills: 10 tips for a successful presentation

  1. Start early: The more time you have to do research, prepare your presentation and practice, the better your results.
  2. Structure and clarity: Your presentation needs an introduction, main part and ending. Everything needs to be logical and tied together.
  3. Pictures, videos, etc.: Use all kinds of material to convey your content clearly and easily. Using pictures or videos in your presentations can enhance engagement and provide visual support for your ideas. Using a video joiner tool, you can seamlessly merge multiple video clips to create a cohesive and dynamic presentation that effectively communicates your message, captures attention, and promotes a deeper understanding of the topic.
  4. Practice presentations: Preparation is key. Not only researching, making the slides and writing the text, but also practicing the whole presentation in front of a mirror or STUWO flatmate is important.
  5. Chest voice: When we’re nervous, our voice is higher than usual. We lose our volume, resonance and confident appearance. Make a “hm” sound (as if you’re agreeing with someone) before your presentation.
  6. Eye contact with your audience: When you look at your audience and let your glance wander through them, everybody feels spoken to and will pay attention.
  7. Conscious (breathing) pauses: Taking breathing, emphasise and thinking pauses, is not only good for your voice, breathing and nervousness, but also allows your audience to take in what you say.
  8. Humour and anecdotes: Create an interesting presentation and add some funny or fascinating facts.
  9. Confident appearance: During this presentation, you are the expert and you should behave like one. Remember: Everybody is nervous!
  10. Smile: Smiling calms your nerves, creates a positive atmosphere and shows that you are enjoying yourself.
A tip from Lara from Vienna:

When I walk in front of the class for my presentation, I calculate something easy in my head. That keeps my brain occupied and supresses my nervousness. While I am starting the PowerPoint presentation, I quietly hum my favourite song. This warms up my voice and makes me happy. I also force myself to swallow and take a slow breath after every paragraph/slide. But most importantly: I pretend to be confident. This way nobody notices how nervous I actually am.

Don’t do: What to avoid

  • Overloaded slides: Your visual media should be supportive of your oral presentation. You can add numbers, illustrations, dates, names and important terms, but never whole sentences or a complete text.
  • Learning by heart: It is horrible for your audience to listen to a text that was learned by heart because you lose all liveliness and spontaneity. You know all the facts, so tell them what you know.
  • Reading a text: Reading a written text aloud is just as uninteresting and monotonous. Language is spontaneous, so formulate sentences while you’re speaking.
  • Talking into your notes: When we’re nervous, we tend to seek shelter in our notes. But this way you lose contact with your audience.
  • Fillers: “Ehm”, “Hm”, “So”, etc. are disturbing for your audience. End your sentences, take a breath and then start a new sentence.
  • Talking without breaks: If your presentation sounds like one long sentence, then it’s hard to follow you. End your sentences acoustically by dropping your voice at the end and waiting a second.

With these tips and don’t dos your next presentation will be amazing. Good preparation and a confident appearance are key. If you get nervous, then pretend: Fake it until you make it! Here are some tips for nervousness before exams and oral exams!

Good luck!


We are happy to help!