Do’s and Don’ts of Slide Show Presentations

When students share a slide show presentation they have created with the class, prepare them for success with a discussion of effective public speaking strategies. A few basic guidelines can turn a presentation into an engaging, interesting, and compelling learning experience for both the speaker and the audience.


  • Rehearse by yourself, to a friend, or in front of a small group and ask for helpful suggestions.
  • Prearrange for a friend to signal if you are talking too fast or using distracting gestures.
  • Take a breath to relax before beginning.
  • Greet the audience and smile.
  • Use a clear voice.
  • Speak loudly enough for others to hear.
  • Change the pace and vary your tone.
  • Speak in an upbeat and energetic manner, indicating your enthusiasm in the topic.
  • Let the audience know they can ask questions at the end to encourage them to listen carefully.
  • Add information that is not on the slide: extra details, personal anecdotes, or examples.
  • Make eye contact with a variety of people in the audience.
  • Pause occasionally.
  • Be confident! You are the expert on the topic!


  • Read the information on the slide or speaker notes to the audience.
  • Use distracting gestures such as twirling hair, pacing, or fidgeting.
  • Turn your back to the audience and look at the screen.
  • Maintain focus on only one member of the audience or at the back of the room.
  • Speak in a dull voice or monotone.
  • Talk for too long – try to fit in the time limit you are given.
  • Start sentences with “So…” or repeatedly say “You know” and “Like”.

Competence in public speaking is a valuable asset. It can contribute to success in relationships, school, and careers. Give your students a head start by helping them build this essential skill.

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