Evaluating Business Presentations: A Six Point Presenter Skills Assessment Checklist

Posted by Belinda Huckle  |  On April 18, 2024  |  In Presentation Training, Tips & Advice

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For many business people, speaking in front of clients, customers, their bosses or even their own large team is not a skill that comes naturally. So it’s likely that within your organisation, and indeed within your own team, you’ll find varying levels of presenting ability. Without an objective way to assess the presenter skills needed to make a good presentation, convincing someone that presentation coaching could enhance their job performance (benefiting your business), boost their promotion prospects (benefiting their career) and significantly increase their self confidence (benefiting their broader life choices) becomes more challenging.

Businessman delivering a great presentation

So, how do you evaluate the presenting skills of your people to find out, objectively, where the skill gaps lie? Well, you work out your presentation skills evaluation criteria and then measure/assess your people against them. 

To help you, in this article we’re sharing the six crucial questions we believe you need to ask to not only make a professional assessment of your people’s presenting skills, but to showcase what makes a great presentation. We use them in our six-point Presenter Skills Assessment checklist ( which we’re giving away as a free download at the end of this blog post ). The answers to these questions will allow you to identify the presenter skills strengths and weaknesses (i.e. skills development opportunities) of anyone in your team or organisation, from the Managing Director down. You can then put presenter skills training or coaching in place so that everyone who needs it can learn the skills to deliver business presentations face-to-face, or online with confidence, impact and purpose.

Read on to discover what makes a great presentation and how to evaluate a presenter using our six-point Presenter Skills Assessment criteria so you can make a professional judgement of your people’s presenting skills.

1. Ability to analyse an audience effectively and tailor the message accordingly

If you ask most people what makes a great presentation, they will likely comment on tangible things like structure, content, delivery and slides. While these are all critical aspects of a great presentation, a more fundamental and crucial part is often overlooked – understanding your audience .  So, when you watch people in your organisation or team present, look for clues to see whether they really understand their audience and the particular situation they are currently in, such as:

  • Is their content tight, tailored and relevant, or just generic?
  • Is the information pitched at the right level?
  • Is there a clear ‘What’s In It For Them’?
  • Are they using language and terminology that reflects how their audience talk?
  • Have they addressed all of the pain points adequately?
  • Is the audience focused and engaged, or do they seem distracted?

For your people, getting to know their audience, and more importantly, understanding them, should always be the first step in pulling together a presentation. Comprehending the challenges, existing knowledge and level of detail the audience expects lays the foundation of a winning presentation. From there, the content can be structured to get the presenter’s message across in the most persuasive way, and the delivery tuned to best engage those listening.

2. Ability to develop a clear, well-structured presentation/pitch that is compelling and persuasive

Businesswoman making a great presentation

Flow and structure are both important elements in a presentation as both impact the effectiveness of the message and are essential components in understanding what makes a good presentation and what makes a good speech. When analysing this aspect of your people’s presentations look for a clear, easy to follow agenda, and related narrative, which is logical and persuasive.

Things to look for include:

  • Did the presentation ‘tell a story’ with a clear purpose at the start, defined chapters throughout and a strong close?
  • Were transitions smooth between the ‘chapters’ of the presentation?
  • Were visual aids, handouts or audience involvement techniques used where needed?
  • Were the challenges, solutions and potential risks of any argument defined clearly for the audience?
  • Were the benefits and potential ROI quantified/explained thoroughly?
  • Did the presentation end with a clear destination/call to action or the next steps?

For the message to stick and the audience to walk away with relevant information they are willing to act on, the presentation should flow seamlessly through each part, building momentum and interest along the way. If not, the information can lose impact and the presentation its direction. Then the audience may not feel equipped, inspired or compelled to implement the takeaways.

3. Ability to connect with and maintain the engagement of the audience

Connecting with your audience and keeping them engaged throughout can really be the difference between giving a great presentation and one that falls flat. This is no easy feat but is certainly a skill that can be learned. To do it well, your team need a good understanding of the audience (as mentioned above) to ensure the content is on target. Ask yourself, did they cover what’s relevant and leave out what isn’t? 

Delivery is important here too. This includes being able to build a natural rapport with the audience, speaking in a confident, conversational tone, and using expressive vocals, body language and gestures to bring the message to life. On top of this, the slides need to be clear, engaging and add interest to the narrative. Which leads us to point 4…

4. Ability to prepare effective slides that support and strengthen the clarity of the message

Man making a great visual presentation

It’s not uncommon for slides to be used first and foremost as visual prompts for the speaker. While they can be used for this purpose, the first priority of a slide (or any visual aid) should always be to support and strengthen the clarity of the message. For example, in the case of complex topics, slides should be used to visualise data , reinforcing and amplifying your message. This ensures that your slides are used to aid understanding, rather than merely prompting the speaker.

The main problem we see with people’s slides is that they are bloated with information, hard to read, distracting or unclear in their meaning. 

The best slides are visually impactful, with graphics, graphs or images instead of lines and lines of text or bullet points. The last thing you want is your audience to be focused on deciphering the multiple lines of text. Instead your slides should be clear in their message and add reinforcement to the argument or story that is being shared. How true is this of your people’s slides?

5. Ability to appear confident, natural and in control

Most people find speaking in front of an audience (both small and large) at least a little confronting. However, for some, the nerves and anxiety they feel can distract from their presentation and the impact of their message. If members of your team lack confidence, both in their ideas and in themselves, it will create awkwardness and undermine their credibility and authority. This can crush a presenter and their reputation. 

This is something that you will very easily pick up on, but the good news is that it is definitely an area that can be improved through training and practice. Giving your team the tools and training they need to become more confident and influential presenters can deliver amazing results, which is really rewarding for both the individual and the organisation.

6. Ability to summarise and close a presentation to achieve the required/desired outcome

Audience applauding a great presentation

No matter how well a presentation goes, the closing statement can still make or break it. It’s a good idea to include a recap on the main points as well as a clear call to action which outlines what is required to achieve the desired outcome.

In assessing your people’s ability to do this, you can ask the following questions:

  • Did they summarise the key points clearly and concisely?
  • Were the next steps outlined in a way that seems achievable?
  • What was the feeling in the room at the close? Were people inspired, motivated, convinced? Or were they flat, disinterested, not persuaded? 

Closing a presentation with a well-rounded overview and achievable action plan should leave the audience with a sense that they have gained something out of the presentation and have all that they need to take the next steps to overcome their problem or make something happen.

Effective Presentation Skills are Essential to Growth

It’s widely accepted that effective communication is a critical skill in business today. On top of this, if you can develop a team of confident presenters, you and they will experience countless opportunities for growth and success.

Once you’ve identified where the skill gaps lie, you can provide targeted training to address it. Whether it’s feeling confident presenting to your leadership team or answering unfielded questions , understanding their strengths and weaknesses in presenting will only boost their presenting skills. This then creates an ideal environment for collaboration and innovation, as each individual is confident to share their ideas. They can also clearly and persuasively share the key messaging of the business on a wider scale – and they and the business will experience dramatic results.

Tailored Training to Fill Your Presentation Skill Gaps

If you’re looking to build the presentation skills of your team through personalised training or coaching that is tailored to your business, we can help. For nearly 20 years we have been Australia’s Business Presentation Skills Experts , training & coaching thousands of people in an A-Z of global blue-chip organisations. All our programs incorporate personalised feedback, advice and guidance to take business presenters further. To find out more, click on one of the buttons below:

Check out our In-Person Programs AU

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Don’t Forget To Download Our Presenter Skills Assessment Form

Presenter Skills Assessment Form

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Belinda Huckle

Written By Belinda Huckle

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Belinda is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of SecondNature International. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training both In-Person and Online, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.

Belinda believes that people don’t have to change who they are to be the presenter they want to be. So she developed a coaching approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.

She has helped to transform the presentation skills of people around the world in an A-Z of organisations including Amazon, BBC, Brother, BT, CocaCola, DHL, EE, ESRI, IpsosMORI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Moonpig, Nationwide, Pfizer, Publicis Groupe, Roche, Savills, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.

A total commitment to quality, service, your people and you.

Blog > Effective Feedback for Presentations - digital with PowerPoint or with printable sheets

Effective Feedback for Presentations - digital with PowerPoint or with printable sheets

10.26.20   •  #powerpoint #feedback #presentation.

Do you know whether you are a good presenter or not? If you do, chances are it's because people have told you so - they've given you feedback. Getting other's opinions about your performance is something that's important for most aspects in life, especially professionally. However, today we're focusing on a specific aspect, which is (as you may have guessed from the title): presentations.


The importance of feedback

Take a minute to think about the first presentation you've given: what was it like? Was it perfect? Probably not. Practise makes perfect, and nobody does everything right in the beginning. Even if you're a natural at speaking and presenting, there is usually something to improve and to work on. And this is where feedback comes in - because how are you going to know what it is that you should improve? You can and should of course assess yourself after each and every presentation you give, as that is an important part of learning and improvement. The problem is that you yourself are not aware of all the things that you do well (or wrong) during your presentation. But your audience is! And that's why you should get audience feedback.

Qualities of good Feedback

Before we get into the different ways of how you can get feedback from your audience, let's briefly discuss what makes good feedback. P.S.: These do not just apply for presentations, but for any kind of feedback.

  • Good feedback is constructive, not destructive. The person receiving feedback should feel empowered and inspired to work on their skills, not discouraged. You can of course criticize on an objective level, but mean and insulting comments have to be kept to yourself.
  • Good feedback involves saying bot what has to be improved (if there is anything) and what is already good (there is almost always something!)
  • After receiving good feedback, the recipient is aware of the steps he can and should take in order to improve.

Ways of receiving / giving Feedback after a Presentation

1. print a feedback form.


Let's start with a classic: the feedback / evaluation sheet. It contains several questions, these can be either open (aka "What did you like about the presentation?") or answered on a scale (e.g. from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree"). The second question format makes a lot of sense if you have a large audience, and it also makes it easy to get an overview of the results. That's why in our feedback forms (which you can download at the end of this post), you'll find mainly statements with scales. This has been a proven way for getting and giving valuable feedback efficiently for years. We do like the feedback form a lot, though you have to be aware that you'll need to invest some time to prepare, count up and analyse.

  • ask specifically what you want to ask
  • good overview of the results
  • anonymous (people are likely to be more honest)
  • easy to access: you can just download a feedback sheet online (ours, for example, which you'll find at the end of this blog post!)
  • analysing the results can be time-consuming
  • you have to print out the sheets, it takes preparation

2. Online: Get digital Feedback


In the year 2020, there's got to be a better way of giving feedback, right? There is, and you should definitely try it out! SlideLizard is a free PowerPoint extension that allows you to get your audience's feedback in the quickest and easiest way possible. You can of course customize the feedback question form to your specific needs and make sure you get exactly the kind of feedback you need. Click here to download SlideLizard right now, or scroll down to read some more about the tool.

  • quick and easy to access
  • easy and fast export, analysis and overview of feedback
  • save feedback directly on your computer
  • Participants need a working Internet connection (but that usually isn't a problem nowadays)

3. Verbal Feedback


"So, how did you like the presentation?", asks the lecturer. A few people in the audience nod friendly, one or two might even say something about how the slides were nice and the content interesting. Getting verbal feedback is hard, especially in big groups. If you really want to analyse and improve your presentation habits and skills, we recommend using one of the other methods. However, if you have no internet connection and forgot to bring your feedback sheets, asking for verbal feedback is still better than nothing.

  • no prerequisites
  • open format
  • okay for small audiences
  • not anonymous (people might not be honest)
  • time consuming
  • no detailed evaluation
  • no way to save the feedback (except for your memory)
  • not suitable for big audiences

Feedback to yourself - Self Assessment


I've mentioned before that it is incredibly important to not only let others tell you what went well and what didn't in your presentation. Your own impressions are of huge value, too. After each presentation you give, ask yourself the following questions (or better yet, write your answers down!):

  • What went wrong (in my opinion)? What can I do in order to avoid this from happening next time?
  • What went well? What was well received by the audience? What should I do more of?
  • How was I feeling during this presentation? (Nervous? Confident? ...)

Tip: If you really want to actively work on your presentation skills, filming yourself while presenting and analysing the video after is a great way to go. You'll get a different view on the way you talk, move, and come across.

presentation skills evaluation checklist

Digital Feedback with SlideLizard

Were you intrigued by the idea of easy Online-feedback? With SlideLizard your attendees can easily give you feedback directly with their Smartphone. After the presentation you can analyze the result in detail.

  • type in your own feedback questions
  • choose your rating scale: 1-5 points, 1-6 points, 1-5 stars or 1-6 stars;
  • show your attendees an open text field and let them enter any text they want


Note: SlideLizard is amazing for giving and receiving feedback, but it's definitely not the only thing it's great for. Once you download the extension, you get access to the most amazing tools - most importantly, live polls and quizzes, live Q&A sessions, attendee note taking, content and slide sharing, and presentation analytics. And the best thing about all this? You can get it for free, and it is really easy to use, as it is directly integrated in PowerPoint! Click here to discover more about SlideLizard.

Free Download: Printable Feedback Sheets for Business or School Presentations

If you'd rather stick with the good old paper-and-pen method, that's okay, too. You can choose between one of our two feedback sheet templates: there is one tailored to business presentations and seminars, and one that is created specifically for teachers assessing their students. Both forms can be downloaded as a Word, Excel, or pdf file. A lot of thought has gone into both of the forms, so you can benefit as much as possible; however, if you feel like you need to change some questions in order to better suit your needs, feel free to do so!

Feedback form for business

presentation skills evaluation checklist

Template as PDF, Word & Excel - perfect for seminars, trainings,...

Feedback form for teachers (school or university)

presentation skills evaluation checklist

Template as PDF, Word & Excel - perfect for school or university,...

Where can I find a free feedback form for presentations?

There are many templates available online. We designed two exclusive, free-to-download feedback sheets, which you can get in our blog article

What's the best way to get feedback for presentations?

You can get feedback on your presentations by using feedback sheets, asking for feedback verbally, or, the easiest and fastest option: get digital feedback with an online tool

Related articles

About the author.

presentation skills evaluation checklist

Pia Lehner-Mittermaier

Pia works in Marketing as a graphic designer and writer at SlideLizard. She uses her vivid imagination and creativity to produce good content.

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Co-located Audience means that the speaker talks to the audience in person. It is used verbal and non-verbal methods to communicate a message. The speaker makes gestures with their hands, changes their face expression and shows images.

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presentation skills evaluation checklist

Giving Effective Presentations: 50 Things to Consider (with evaluation rubric)

Effective presentations require that you put a good deal of thought into how your audience will react to every component of your presentation. While an engaging personality or an intriguing subject matter will help, you can make any topic work well if you follow several key guidelines, divided into nine areas: Audience Adaptation ; Opening ; Organization ; Content & Ethos ; Storytelling ; Visual Display ; Delivery ; Team Interplay ; and Conclusion .

Review this evaluation checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the important areas for giving an effective presentation. Descriptions of each of the 50 components are listed below.

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Audience Adaptation

Adapting to your audience is, above all else, the most important thing you must consider. Make sure you think about what they care about (not what you find interesting), what they’ll expect to hear, what they don’t already understand (and what they do), and so forth. If you don’t know your audience before going into a presentation, research them. Ask questions. The more you know about them, the better you can prepare for them.

Use appropriate tone:  Just like you speak differently with your friends than you likely do with your mother, you’ll want to change the way you speak to one audience over another. Ask yourself: What level of formality is appropriate? Should I attempt humor? (In most cases, unless you  know  you’re funny, you may want to avoid attempting to be in order to steer clear of awkwardness if a joke doesn’t go well.) Will my audience be relaxed, tense, or bored? How can I adapt to that?

Use appropriate jargon & acronyms:  Every audience will have a certain level of understanding of your subject matter prior to seeing you present. It’s critically important that you understand what specific terms they know and don’t know so that you don’t use words or acronyms that are confusing to them. If you use industry-specific jargon or acronyms, make sure your audience knows them in advance. If they don’t, define the terms for them.

Make topic relevant to audience:  Make sure that your audience will care about your topic. Sometimes you’ll present information to your boss because he asked you to. In this case, the topic will probably automatically be relevant. But in other cases, your audience may be there because they have to be for work, or they may be there to learn more information but may not fully understand what they’re about to learn. Make sure, regardless of what the situation is, that you tailor the message to the audience’s situation and make them care about the topic.

Knowledge of subject matter appropriate for audience:  Present depth of knowledge at the level your audience can understand. If you’re a chemistry professor speaking about nutrition to pharmaceutical researchers, your depth of explanation will be quite different than if you’re speaking to college freshmen about nutrition. Two things are important here: if your audience knows a lot about your topic going in, don’t patronize or bore them by telling them things they already know. If they don’t know much about the topic, be clear and detailed to make sure they’re on the same page as you and start from a common ground they can relate to.

Your opening is key to engaging your audience right from the beginning. If you bore them up front, you may have lost them for good.

Start with Strong attention-grabber:  Attention grabbers can come in may forms. Some of the most common include telling stories; sharing fascinating quotes; giving alarming or surprising statistics; asking your audience a question; telling a joke (but only if it’s both relevant  and  funny); creating an imaginary scenario (“imagine you’re stuck on an island…”); surprising your audience; or giving a demonstration or object lesson. Regardless of what you choose, make it relevant, make it pithy, and make it work for your audience. Do the attention-grabber well, and you’ll be on pace to keep you audience engaged the entire time.

Make Your Topic Clear:  There should be no question in your audience’s mind, even just a couple minutes into it, where you are headed with the presentation. State your topic, address the issues, and make it relevant.

Make Your Topic Interesting:  Interest comes with relevancy and what we call “exigency.” Make your audience care by letting them know how your topic affects them. Give the facts, stories, anecdotes, issues, etc. that will intrigue and interest them.

Forecast a clear direction for presentation:  At the end of your opening, tell the audience what to expect. What are you going to cover? Create a clear road map so that they know what to expect and so that they know where you’re at in the middle of the presentation.

Organization is key to keeping your audience fully engaged for the entire presentation. As soon as you veer off track somewhere, you begin to lose the attention of your audience.

Follow the Road Map:  In your introduction, you gave your audience the road map. Now be sure that you follow it in the order that you said you would. Stick to the plan from start to finish.

Include Frequent Transitions & Signposts:  Transitions are statements that connect a previous section or idea of your presentation to the next section or idea. Use words and phrases that link the two so that there is a clear connection between ideas and so that audiences can sense a progression. A “signpost” is a kind of transition. It’s a word or phrase that reminds the audience where you are in the presentation. You might connect a dot, remind the audience where you are, or let them know what’s coming next.

Progress towards Finish:  Just like in any good movie, there needs to be a sort of plot building at all times. You’ll want to always be building towards a finish, with each piece of your presentation moving you towards some kind of conclusion. Remember that all good communications should have a beginning, middle, and end. Be sure that each component of the middle progresses towards a clear and meaningful end.

Provide Summary(ies) of Main Points:  If your presentation goes beyond 10 or 15 minutes, it may be helpful to occasionally remind your audience what’s been said. Help your audience understand, at every step along the way, what is happening and what the information or data means.

Connect Loose Dots:  If you begin a story or anecdote, be sure to tell the ending at some point. If you provide interesting data, make sure you let the audience know what it means. If you’re leading towards a recommendation, be sure that the recommendation is based on research or evidence you just suggested. Don’t leave your audience hanging in any capacity.

Content & Ethos

Ethos refers to your credibility. In order for an audience to fully appreciate and follow your arguments and positions, you must show that you are knowledgeable of the subject matter and that the information you are presenting is founded on something that your audience can agree is good supporting evidence.

Use Only Persuasive Argumentation:  Avoid presenting an argument with gaps or holes. You may wish to study the  logical fallacies for more insight on where arguments can go wrong. When you make a statement, make sure you qualify it and provide appropriate support.

Conduct Sound Research:  As you know and understand your audience, you should know what they will consider valuable and worthwhile research for your type of presentation. Generally speaking, you want to build your argument based on a variety of sources. You might provide case studies, survey data, secondary research (information from books, journals, etc.), observations, testimonials, expert endorsement, or something else. Regardless, you must convince your audience that you’ve done your due diligence.

Include Only Relevant Material:  While this may seem obvious, don’t present material that isn’t directly relevant to your key points. Don’t get distracted and stick to your organizational plan. Make sure all content has a purpose and that it leads towards that strong conclusion.

Provide Convincing Analyses and Conclusions:  Show your audience how much you know about the subject matter by giving them clear, logical analyses of your data and draw conclusions that come directly from your data. Avoid drawing conclusions that come from personal opinion, but rather focus on what your research and data suggest.

Pertinent Data and Evidence:  Be sure that all of you data and evidence is directly related to your overall message. Don’t pull in facts simply because you find them interesting. Again, all content needs to build or progress towards something. Don’t get sidetracked with tangentially related data.


All good presentations–no matter for business, school, clubs, or church–are better when stories are told. Human beings have a natural inclination for stories. People want to know how stories end. Make stories work for your presentation by describing people (characters), situations (settings), problems, climaxes, and resolutions. All presentations should have at least one story, but you may incorporate many more.

Read: How to Organize a Paper: The Narrative Format

Tell Stories with Purpose:  Don’t tell stories just to tell stories, but make connections between what you are telling your audience with a real example.

Tell Realistic Stories:  You don’t want your audience to think you made the story up or that it’s exaggerated. Provide enough appropriate detail so that your audience can believe what you’re telling them is not only true, but its possible, likely, or directly relevant to them.

Tell Stories with   Cl early Described Characters:  Make sure your audience knows who the people are and why they matter to the story.

Be Sure to Have a Conflict:  Stories don’t need to be complicated or extraordinary to be good. But they should have a conflict (which leads to the purpose for telling the story.) There must always be some issue that needs to be resolved.

Don’t Forget the Resolution:  When you start a story of any kind, make sure that you let your audience know how it turned out.

Tell Only Relevant Stories:  Avoid getting sidetracked or on a tangent. All stories should have a clear purpose and should lead the audience towards your conclusions and arguments.

Perhaps the single greatest complaint in the history of presentations is that PowerPoint slides have too much text. Use your slide deck platform to create visually stunning, supportive visuals. Visuals should always complement (not distract or supersede) a presentation’s message. But images are almost always better than text when on the screen.

Be Simple:  Make slide designs simple. As Leonardo da Vinci famously said: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. White background with black text is a great choice. Avoid fancy or distracting backgrounds or other visual noise. Keep the design simple, giving focus to the key elements.

Be Clear:  Be sure that your images or graphics have a clear purpose. If you’re showing data in chart or graph, explain the graph. Don’t talk about something else while hoping your audience will read all the numbers and draw conclusions. Point them to what they should learn from the graph.

Use Minimal (if any) Text:  People don’t remember text very well and they don’t remember what they hear very well…unless there’s a picture attached to what they hear. Use pictures to supplement and enhance what you are saying. Avoid as much text as is possible. Oftentimes, it’s better on a slide to not use any text at all–just give the audience a picture that supports what you are saying.

Only Use Relevant of Images:  While this may seem obvious, may novice presenters like to include clipart or other non-essential images simply to “pretty up” the presentation. Inserting images just to insert images is not only distracting, it’s tacky. Make all images worthwhile to your audience. If there is absolutely nothing interesting to show your audience when talking about something (that would be rare), use a blank slide. But don’t put in louse images.

Create Effective Charts, Graphs, and Animations:  Make sure the graphs are readable for everyone in the audience. Use large text and clearly understandable colors, sizes, and so forth. Always be sure to talk about visualized data on the screen. Don’t expect your audience to have the patience (especially while you are speaking about something else) to read or interpret the data on their own.

Make Visuals Readable:  Whatever your visual is, be sure it’s big enough for your audience to interpret it without trouble. No small data points, no pixelated graphics or photos, no tiny lines on graphs.

Color Scheme:  Keep colors simple and minimal. Use black text in most cases on a white background. Make sure contrast is always high. Be careful of yellows and oranges as they are often hard to read and they don’t project well on a screen.

Choose Good Typefaces:  The font you choose matters. It gives the entire document a personality. Make sure all fonts are readable (no script or crazy decorative fonts) and big. Avoid default fonts like Calibri or Times New Roman and definitely avoid cliche fonts like Comic Sans and Papyrus.

Delivery is about the way you look as an individual to an audience. It’s about you being articulate, clear, confident, approachable, and everything else. If you content is awesome but your delivery is bad, the presentation won’t have the effect you want.

Make Eye Contact:  Look at people in the eyes. Look all around the room–don’t get stuck looking at the same person or group of people more than everyone else in the room.

Smile and Show Enthusiasm:  Practice so that you’re less nervous and present with a smile and/or enthusiasm about what you’re talking about. No monotone voices, no bored expressions.

Move Naturally:  Avoid unnatural nervous ticks, like swaying, shifting hips, playing with hair, pacing, playing with clothing, etc. Most people have some weird habit when presenting in front of people. Learn what yours is and stop doing it.

Project a Loud, Articulate Voice:  Make sure everyone in the audience can hear you. No quiet talking or trailing off. Avoid filler words like “um” or “like” or “uh.”

Change Vocal Intonation:  Move your voice higher and lower. Act as if you would talking to a friend. Be excited, engaged, and change the sound of your voice so that it does become monotonous.

Have Good Posture:  Show confidence and professionalism by stranding straight, facing the audience. Don’t look at the computer screen, don’t lean on a table, don’t slouch, don’t put your hands in your pocket.

Exhibit Confidence:  Easier said than done, right? Just be sure to talk slowly (so you don’t seem nervous), smile, take deep breaths, and be passionate. When you look nervous, your credibility drops.

Speak Slowly:  Many nervous or excited speakers get going to fast. Speak at a slow pace so that your audience can process what you are saying, especially when you’re talking about complex subjects or you’re explaining research or data.

Dress Appropriately:  Know what your audience will be wearing and dress at a level just up from them. Know if the situation requires formality or not. Avoid distracting or revealing clothing. Women, you must be especially careful with this as revealing or low-cut clothing can be more distracting on an audience than typical business clothing for men.

Show Poise:  Things don’t always go well. You might forget something or your PowerPoint may not work or you may trip on a cord. Just relax and show poise. If you’re calm, your audience will be calm with you. If you freak out, your audience will get really uncomfortable and your credibility will be shot.

Team Interplay

If you’re presenting with a team of people, there are a few extra delivery considerations.

Introduce All Presenters:  Make sure the audience knows everyone participating in the presentation. Describe their role to the audience so that there’s no confusion.   Interact and Engage with Each Other:  While presenting, talk about each other and let the audience know throughout that you worked together. Don’t hesitate to use each other’s names and say things like “Thanks, Mike, for the details on….” and “As Tiffany just mentioned…” Avoid just dividing up the time of the presentation by presenters (don’t just say, “you take the first five minutes, I’ll do the next five, and you conclude.”) Rather, go back and forth between the content of the presentation.

Have Clear Roles & Responsibilities:  Make sure you each have a valuable part to play in the presentation. If it’s awkward or your have too many people, consider removing people without clear roles from the presentation. When you’re not speaking, be sure to be out of the way of other speakers.

Utilize Each Other’s Strengths:  Know what each person is good at or most knowledgeable in and let them present that. Sometimes, if a person on a team isn’t great at presenting, but they’re good at designing or organizing, they may play a different role in the team presentation.

Always have a conclusion. There’s an old mantra in public speaking: Tell them what you’re going to tell them (introduction forecast). Then tell them (middle). Then tell them what you just told them (conclusion summary). Summarize Presentation:  Remind your audience of the key points and conclusions drawn. Wrap up any loose ends and make your point clear.

Have a Clear and Obvious End:  There’s nothing more awkward for you or your audience than them not knowing when to clap. Be sure you lead towards an end with a clear finishing statement. Avoid just stopping and saying things like, “K, that’s it. Any questions?”

Finish Strong:  Leave the audience with something to think about. Maybe tell a final story or give a powerful statistic or quote. Regardless, don’t just end without thinking through a really strong, pithy statement to leave your audience with.

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Preparation and Design

  • Purpose of the presentation – inform, persuade, entertain, honor, educate, etc.
  • Presentation has an outline
  • Presentation has a beginning, middle and end
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  • Color contrast between background and bullet points is appropriate
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Home Blog Education Presentation Skills 101: A Guide to Presentation Success

Presentation Skills 101: A Guide to Presentation Success

Getting the perfect presentation design is just a step toward a successful presentation. For the experienced user, building presentation skills is the answer to elevating the power of your message and showing expertise on any subject. Still, one can ask: is it the same set of skills, or are they dependable on the type of presentation?

In this article, we will introduce the different types of presentations accompanied by the skillset required to master them. The purpose, as always, is to retain the audience’s interest for a long-lasting and convincing message.

cover for presentation skills guide

Table of Contents

The Importance of Presentation Skills

Persuasive presentations, instructional presentations, informative presentations, inspirational presentations, basic presentation skills, what are the main difficulties when giving a presentation, recommendations to improve your presentation skills, closing statement.

Effective communication is the answer to reaching business and academic goals. The scenarios in which we can be required to deliver a presentation are as diverse as one can imagine. Still, some core concepts apply to all presentations.

 We define presentation skills as a compendium of soft skills that directly affect your presentation performance and contribute to creating a great presentation. These are not qualities acquired by birth but skills you ought to train and master to delve into professional environments.

You may ask: is it really that evident when a presenter is not prepared? Here are some common signs people can experience during presentations:

  • Evasive body language: Not making eye contact with the audience, arms closed tightly to the body, hands in pockets all the time.
  • Lack of interest in the presenter’s voice: dull tone, not putting an effort to articulate the topics.
  • Doubting when asked to answer a question
  • Irksome mood

The list can go on about common presenter mistakes , and most certainly, it will affect the performance of any presented data if the lack of interest by the presenter is blatantly obvious.  Another element to consider is anxiety, and according to research by the National Institute of Mental Health, 73% of the population in the USA is affected by glossophobia , which is the fear of public speaking, judgment, or negative evaluation by other people.

Therefore, presentation skills training is essential for any business professional who wants to achieve effective communication . It will remove the anxiety from presentation performance and help users effectively deliver their message and connect with the audience.

Archetypes of presentations

Persuasive presentations aim to convince the audience – often in short periods – to acquire a product or service, adhere to a cause, or invest in a company. For business entrepreneurs or politicians, persuasive presentations are their tool for the trade.

Unless you aim to be perceived as an imposter, a proper persuasive presentation has the elements of facts, empathy, and logic, balanced under a well-crafted narrative. The central pillar of these presentations is to identify the single factor that gathered your audience: it could be a market need, a social cause, or a revolutionary concept for today’s society. It has to be something with enough power to gather critiques – both good and bad.

That single factor has to be backed up by facts. Research that builds your hypothesis on how to solve that problem. A deep understanding of the target audience’s needs , concerns, and social position regarding the solution your means can offer. When those elements are in place, building a pitch becomes an easy task. 

Graphics can help you introduce information in a compelling format, lowering the need for lengthy presentations. Good presentation skills for persuasive presentations go by the hand of filtering relevant data and creating the visual cues that resonate with what your audience demands.

One powerful example of a persuasive presentation is the technique known as the elevator pitch . You must introduce your idea or product convincingly to the audience in a timeframe between 30 seconds and less than 2 minutes. You have to expose:

  • What do you do 
  • What’s the problem to solve
  • Why is your solution different from others 
  • Why should the audience care about your expertise

presentation skills an elevator pitch slide

For that very purpose, using engaging graphics with contrasting colors elevates the potential power of your message. It speaks professionalism, care for details, and out-of-the-box thinking. Knowing how to end a presentation is also critical, as your CTAs should be placed with care.

Therefore, let’s resume the requirements of persuasive presentations in terms of good presentation skills:

  • Identifying problems and needs
  • Elaborating “the hook” (the element that grabs the audience’s attention)
  • Knowing how to “tie” your audience (introducing a piece of information related to the hook that causes an emotional impact)
  • Broad knowledge of body language and hand gestures to quickly convey your message
  • Being prepared to argue a defense of your point of view
  • Handling rejection
  • Having a proactive attitude to convert opportunities into new projects
  • Using humor, surprise, or personal anecdotes as elements to sympathize with the audience
  • Having confidence
  • Be able to summarize facts and information in visually appealing ways

skills required for persuasive presentations

You can learn more about persuasive presentation techniques by clicking here .

In the case of instructional presentations, we ought to differentiate two distinctive types:

  • Lecture Presentations : Presentations being held at universities or any other educative institution. Those presentations cover, topic by topic, and the contents of a syllabus and are created by the team of teachers in charge of the course.
  • Training Presentations : These presentations take place during in-company training sessions and usually comprise a good amount of content that is resumed into easy-to-take solutions. They are aimed to coach employees over certain topics relevant to their work performance. The 70-20-10 Model is frequently used to address these training situations.

Lecture presentations appeal to the gradual introduction of complex concepts, following a structure set in the course’s syllabus. These presentations often have a similar aesthetic as a group of professors or researchers created to share their knowledge about a topic. Personal experience does tell that course presentations often rely on factual data, adequately documented, and on the theoretical side.

An example of a presentation that lies under this concept is a Syllabus Presentation, used by the teaching team to introduce the subject to new students, evaluation methods, concepts to be learned, and expectations to pass the course.

using a course syllabus presentation to boost your instructional presentation skills

On the other hand, training presentations are slide decks designed to meet an organization’s specific needs in the formal education of their personnel. Commonly known as “continuous education,” plenty of companies invest resources in coaching their employees to achieve higher performance results. These presentations have the trademark of being concise since their idea is to introduce the concepts that shall be applied in practice sessions. 

Ideally, the training presentations are introduced with little text and easy-to-recognize visual cues. Since the idea is to summarize as much as possible, these are visually appealing for the audience. They must be dynamic enough to allow the presenter to convey the message.

presentation skills example of a training presentation

Those key takeaways remind employees when they revisit their learning resources and allow them to ruminate on questions that fellow workers raise. 

To sum up this point, building presentation skills for instructional presentations requires:

  • Ability to put complex concepts into simpler words
  • Patience and a constant learning mindset
  • Voice training to deliver lengthy speeches without being too dense
  • Ability to summarize points and note the key takeaways
  • Empathizing with the audience to understand their challenges in the learning process

skill requirements for instructional presentations

The informative presentations take place in business situations, such as when to present project reports from different departments to the management. Another potential usage of these presentations is in SCRUM or other Agile methodologies, when a sprint is completed, to discuss the advance of the project with the Product Owner.

As they are presentations heavily dependent on data insights, it’s common to see the usage of infographics and charts to express usually dense data in simpler terms and easy to remember. 

a SCRUM process being shown in an informative slide

Informative presentations don’t just fall into the business category. Ph.D. Dissertation and Thesis presentations are topics that belong to the informative presentations category as they condense countless research hours into manageable reports for the academic jury. 

an example of a thesis dissertation template

Since these informational presentations can be perceived as lengthy and data-filled, it is important to learn the following professional presentation skills:

  • Attention to detail
  • Be able to explain complex information in simpler terms
  • Creative thinking
  • Powerful diction
  • Working on pauses and transitions
  • Pacing the presentation, so not too much information is divulged per slide

skill requirements for informational presentations

The leading inspirational platform, TEDx, comes to mind when talking about inspirational presentations. This presentation format has the peculiarity of maximizing the engagement with the audience to divulge a message, and due to that, it has specific requirements any presenter must meet.

This presentation format usually involves a speaker on a stage, either sitting or better standing, in which the presenter engages with the audience with a storytelling format about a life experience, a job done that provided a remarkable improvement for society, etc.

using a quote slide to boost inspirational presentation skills

Empathizing with the audience is the key ingredient for these inspirational presentations. Still, creativity is what shapes the outcome of your performance as people are constantly looking for different experiences – not the same recipe rephrased with personal touches. The human factor is what matters here, way above data and research. What has your experience to offer to others? How can it motivate another human being to pursue a similar path or discover their true calling?

To achieve success in terms of communication skills presentation, these inspirational presentations have the following requirements:

  • Focus on the audience (engage, consider their interests, and make them a part of your story)
  • Putting ego aside
  • Creative communication skills
  • Storytelling skills
  • Body language knowledge to apply the correct gestures to accompany your story
  • Voice training
  • Using powerful words

skills required for inspirational presentations

After discussing the different kinds of presentations we can come across at any stage of our lives, a group of presentation skills is standard in any type of presentation. See below what makes a good presentation and which skills you must count on to succeed as a presenter.


Punctuality is a crucial aspect of giving an effective presentation. Nothing says more about respect for your audience and the organization you represent than delivering the presentation on time . Arriving last minute puts pressure on the tech team behind audiovisuals, as they don’t have enough preparation to test microphones, stage lights, and projector settings, which can lead to a less powerful presentation Even when discussing presentations hosted in small rooms for a reduced audience, testing the equipment becomes essential for an effective presentation.

A solution for this is to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Ideally, one hour is a sweet spot since the AV crew has time to check the gear and requirements for your presentation. Another benefit of this, for example, in inspirational presentations, is measuring the previous presenter’s impact on the audience. This gives insights about how to resonate with the public, and their interest, and how to accommodate your presentation for maximum impact.

Body Language

Our bodies can make emotions transparent for others, even when we are unaware of such a fact. Proper training for body language skills reduces performance anxiety, giving the audience a sense of expertise about the presented topic. 

Give your presentation and the audience the respect they deserve by watching over these potential mistakes:

  • Turning your back to the audience for extended periods : It’s okay to do so when introducing an important piece of information or explaining a graph, but it is considered rude to give your back to the audience constantly.
  • Fidgeting : We are all nervous in the presence of strangers, even more, if we are the center of attention for that moment. Instead of playing with your hair or making weird hand gestures, take a deep breath to center yourself before the presentation and remember that everything you could do to prepare is already done. Trust your instincts and give your best.
  • Intense eye contact : Have you watched a video where the presenter stared at the camera the entire time? That’s the feeling you transmit to spectators through intense eye contact. It’s a practice often used by politicians to persuade.
  • Swearing : This is a no-brainer. Even when you see influencers swearing on camera or in podcasts or live presentations, it is considered an informal and lousy practice for business and academic situations. If you have a habit to break when it comes to this point, find the humor in these situations and replace your swear words with funny alternatives (if the presentation allows for it). 

Voice Tone plays a crucial role in delivering effective presentations and knowing how to give a good presentation. Your voice is a powerful tool for exposing your ideas and feelings . Your voice can articulate the message you are telling, briefing the audience if you feel excited about what you are sharing or, in contrast, if you feel the presentation is a burden you ought to complete.

Remember, passion is a primary ingredient in convincing people. Therefore, transmitting such passion with a vibrant voice may help gather potential business partners’ interest.  

But what if you feel sick prior to the presentation? If, by chance, your throat is sore minutes before setting foot on the stage, try this: when introducing yourself, mention that you are feeling a bit under the weather. This resonates with the audience to pay more attention to your efforts. In case you don’t feel comfortable about that, ask the organizers for a cup of tea, as it will settle your throat and relax your nerves.

Tech Skills

Believe it or not, people still feel challenged by technology these days. Maybe that’s the reason why presentation giants like Tony Robbins opt not to use PowerPoint presentations . The reality is that there are plenty of elements involved in a presentation that can go wrong from the tech side:

  • A PDF not opening
  • Saving your presentation in a too-recent PowerPoint version
  • A computer not booting up
  • Mac laptops and their never-ending compatibility nightmare
  • Not knowing how to change between slides
  • Not knowing how to use a laser pointer
  • Internet not working
  • Audio not working

We can come up with a pretty long list of potential tech pitfalls, and yet more than half of them fall in presenters not being knowledgeable about technology.

If computers aren’t your thing, let the organization know about this beforehand. There is always a crew member available to help presenters switch between slides or configure the presentation for streaming. This takes the pressure off your shoulders, allowing you to concentrate on the content to present. Remember, even Bill Gates can get a BSOD during a presentation .

Presentations, while valuable for conveying information and ideas, can be daunting for many individuals. Here are some common difficulties people encounter when giving presentations:

Public Speaking Anxiety

Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, affects a significant portion of the population. This anxiety can lead to nervousness, trembling, and forgetfulness during a presentation.

Lack of Confidence

Many presenters struggle with self-doubt, fearing that they may not be knowledgeable or skilled enough to engage their audience effectively.

Content Organization

Organizing information in a coherent and engaging manner can be challenging. Presenters often grapple with how to structure their content to make it easily digestible for the audience. Artificial Intelligence can help us significantly reduce the content arrangement time when you work with tools like our AI Presentation Maker (made for presenters by experts in presentation design). 

Audience Engagement

Keeping the audience’s attention and interest throughout the presentation can be difficult. Distractions, disengaged attendees, or lack of interaction can pose challenges.

Technical Issues

Technology glitches, such as malfunctioning equipment, incompatible file formats, or poor internet connectivity, can disrupt presentations and increase stress.

Time Management

Striking the right balance between providing enough information and staying within time limits is a common challenge. Going over or under the allotted time can affect the effectiveness of the presentation.

Handling Questions and Challenges

Responding to unexpected questions, criticism, or challenges from the audience can be difficult, especially when presenters are unprepared or lack confidence in their subject matter.

Visual Aids and Technology

Creating and effectively using visual aids like slides or multimedia can be a struggle for some presenters. Technical competence is essential in this aspect.

Language and Articulation

Poor language skills or unclear articulation can hinder effective communication. Presenters may worry about stumbling over words or failing to convey their message clearly.

Maintaining appropriate and confident body language can be challenging. Avoiding nervous habits, maintaining eye contact, and using gestures effectively requires practice.

Overcoming Impersonal Delivery

In virtual presentations, maintaining a personal connection with the audience can be difficult. The absence of face-to-face interaction can make it challenging to engage and read the audience.

Cultural and Diversity Awareness

Presenting to diverse audiences requires sensitivity to cultural differences and varying levels of familiarity with the topic.

In this section, we gathered some tips on how to improve presentation skills that can certainly make an impact if applied to your presentation skills. We believe these skills can be cultivated to transform into habits for your work routine.

Tip #1: Build a narrative

One memorable way to guarantee presentation success is by writing a story of all the points you desire to cover. This statement is based on the logic behind storytelling and its power to connect with people .

Don’t waste time memorizing slides or reading your presentation to the audience. It feels unnatural, and any question that diverts from the topic in discussion certainly puts you in jeopardy or, worse, exposes you as a fraud in the eyes of the audience. And before you ask, it is really evident when a presenter has a memorized speech. 

Build and rehearse the presentation as if telling a story to a group of interested people. Lower the language barrier by avoiding complex terms that maybe even you aren’t fully aware of their meaning. Consider the ramifications of that story, what it could lead to, and which are the opportunities to explore. Then, visualize yourself giving the presentation in a natural way.

Applying this technique makes the presentation feel like second nature to you. It broadens the spectrum in which you can show expertise over a topic or even build the basis for new interesting points of view about the project.

Tip #2: Don’t talk for more than 3 minutes per slide

It is a common practice of presenters to bombard the audience with facts and information whilst retaining the same slide on the screen. Why can this happen? It could be because the presenter condensed the talk into very few slides and preferred to talk. The reality is that your spectators won’t retain the information you are giving unless you give visual cues to help that process. 

Opt to prepare more slides and pace your speech to match the topics shown on each slide. Don’t spend more than 3 minutes per slide unless you have to introduce a complex piece of data. Use visual cues to direct the spectators about what you talk about, and summarize the principal concepts discussed at the end of each section.

Tip #3: Practice meditation daily

Anxiety is the number one enemy of professional presenters. It slowly builds without you being aware of your doubts and can hinder your performance in multiple ways: making you feel paralyzed, fidgeting, making you forget language skills or concepts, affecting your health, etc.

Meditation is an ancient practice taken from Buddhist teachings that train your mind to be here in the present. We often see the concepts of meditation and mindfulness as synonyms, whereas you should be aware that meditation is a practice that sets the blocks to reach a state of mindfulness. For presenters, being in the here and now is essential to retain focus, but meditation techniques also teach us to control our breathing and be in touch with our body signals when stress builds up. 

The customary practice of meditation has an impact on imagination and creativity but also helps to build patience – a skill much needed for connecting with your audience in instructional presentations.

Having the proper set of presentation skills can be quite subjective. It goes beyond presentation tips and deepens into how flexible we can be in our ability to communicate ideas.

Different presentations and different audiences shape the outcome of our efforts. Therefore, having a basic understanding of how to connect, raise awareness, and empathize with people can be key ingredients for your career as a presenter. A word of advice: success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication and patience to build communication skills . Don’t condition your work to believe you will be ready “someday”; it’s best to practice and experience failure as part of the learning process.

presentation skills evaluation checklist

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Presentation Skills Checklist

Presentation Skills Checklist

Before pilots take a plane off the ground, they always follow a written checklist. They don’t follow this process by memory. Instead, they check off each task one by one.

There is a reason why every pilot does this. The process takes a tremendous amount of risk out of the equation. The checklist also takes something very complex and makes it very simple.

Great presenters do the same thing. If you follow a simple presentation checklist, you make delivering the presentation less risky.

In my classes, I teach students how to design an entire presentation, from start to finish, in fifteen minutes or less. These class members are often shocked at how fast they can design their presentations. They finish in minutes what would have typically taken hours (or weeks) to complete.

Below is this simple presentation checklist that you can use when you design PowerPoint presentations. It will help you shorten your preparation time and also reduce your fear of public speaking .

#1: Start by Thinking About What Your Audience Really Wants or Needs to Know About the Topic.

Presentation Check List Step 1-Think About What Your Audience Really Wants or Needs

Instead, ask yourself this question. “What does my audience really need to know?” Or, “How can I help the audience understand this topic better?”

Put yourself in the shoes of the person sitting in your audience. What problems or challenges is this person facing that your knowledge will help him or she overcome? Before you design a slide or create any bullet points, make sure to follow step #1 in this presentation skills checklist. If you skip it, your presentation can go off the rails quickly.

Years ago, I was helping an engineering firm design a presentation for a potential client. Their goal was to get this big client to hire them. Before I started working with them, they had already created a rough draft of their talking points. They wanted to start by telling the potential customer about their experience. In fact, they designed the entire presentation around how great they were.

The problem, though, was that the content was great to stroke the ego of the presenters. It was not helpful to the audience, though. I suggested they focus more on the engineering challenges that the client was experiencing. Then, show the client how they could make those challenges go away. (The process created a much more effective presentation.)

For additional details see Make Your Presentation “Audience Focused” .

#2: Create a Compelling Title (Topic).

Create a Compelling Title or Topic When You Design Your Presentation

A compelling topic has two parts. Part one is a specific line of information that the audience needs or wants. Then, part two is a benefit to the audience if they understand this information.

A Compelling Title Contains Specific Information that the Audience Needs to Know.

For instance, let’s say that you are giving a project report. Most project managers will just give their presentation a generic title like… well… “Project Report.” However, that give the audience no information. It also gives the audience no reason to pay attention. (It is completely uninteresting.) So, the project manager is behind the eight ball before he or she even begins to speak.

Instead, this manager can think about what important things have happened since the last report. Then summarize that information in the first part of the title. For instance, perhaps in previous reports, materials may have been delayed. As a result, the project was behind schedule. However, this month, the team got back on schedule.

In this instance, the original title, “Project Report,” becomes “The Project Is Now Back on Schedule.”

If you think about it, you’d have a tough time delivering a presentation on the original topic. The project may have thousands of component parts. And most of the parts are of no interest to the audience. However, if we focus on just the fact that we got back on schedule, the presenter will have an easier time. He or she could just tell about the things we did to get back on schedule.

A Compelling Title Contains a Benefit to the Audience.

The second part of the title should have a benefit or advantage to the audience. For this part, pretend like you are in your audience. Why would you even care about what is going to be said? If the answer is, “I wouldn’t,” then skip the speech. You are wasting everyone’s time.

Going back to the project report example, getting back on schedule will likely keep us from incurring penalties.

Now you have both parts. The compelling title would be, “The Project Is Now Back on Schedule, So We Will Likely Not Incur Delay Penalties.”

This one is much more interesting than “Project Report.”

For additional details see Catchy Presentation Titles .

#3: Choose Three to Five Key Points to Expand Upon.

Step 3 in the Presentation Skills Checklist is to Create Just a Few Key Points

Speakers fall into the trap because we think that if we don’t tell the audience everything, we will have failed as a speaker. The opposite is more true, though. Most audience members don’t want you to waste their time telling them a bunch of crap they really don’t care about.

Instead, you want to design your bullet points by just identifying a few key, most important points.

Think about your new topic. List out just the most important things that the audience needs to know that will also help them get the benefit. Going back to the example, what were the most important things we did that got us back on schedule? Which of these things were most helpful in helping us not incur penalties?

Just make a list. Then, go back and rank each in the order of their importance. You may end up with a lengthy list or it might be very small. Either way, though, in a single sitting, the audience will only be able to retain three to five main points. So, if you are just delivering a single speech, just focus on the top five items. If you cover more points, the audience won’t remember them anyway, so focus on the most important points.

These items now become your bullet points.

For additional details see Design Better Bullet Points .

#4: Insert Proof for each Point.

The 5 Steps of Storytelling-How to Tell a Great Story in a Presentation

Step four in the Presentation Skills Checklist is to now prove that each of your bullet points is true. Pretend like you are an attorney, and you are making a case to the jury. Your bullet points are your accusations. Now, you have to prove these items are true.

Insert a few stories, examples, facts, analogies, demonstrations, or samples that prove that your key point is true.

The project manager telling about getting back on schedule could easily prove each point with just stories. All he or she has to do is just explain in a little detail how each of those things occurred.

One of the ways we got back on schedule was to order additional materials and store them on site. For instance, on past projects, when materials were in stock, we ordered them on an as-needed basis. This time, though, we had to wait four weeks to get flooring for building one. So, we just ordered enough flooring for all four buildings, and we are now storing the flooring in the completed building one.

If you prove each point along the way, then the group will very easily agree with your conclusion at the end of the presentation.

For additional details see Add Impact to Any Presentation .

$5: The Final Step in the Presentation Skills Checklist Is to Create Your Slideshow.

The Final Step in the Presentation Skills Checklist Is to Create Your Slideshow

The absolute biggest mistake that most presenters make is starting the process by designing their slideshow. They use the visual aid creation as a brainstorming session. The hope is that they will create a fantastic slideshow that will Wow! the audience. Then, the words will come much easier because the pressure is off.

This never happens, by the way. Instead, you will end up with a series of unconnected data points and thoughts. You’ll then spend a LOT of time trying to connect everything together into a cohesive message.

Eventually, though, these folks realize they have too many slides or too many points and start cutting content. So they end up with a Swiss-Cheese presentation. This will make your message even harder to deliver.

Once you have the speech designed, now go back and choose visual aids to better explain your content.

For additional details see 7 of the Best PowerPoint Tips .

Follow this checklist, and you will be able to create any presentation very quickly.

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Writing Center

Effective presentations checklist, create a shared meaning between the you, the speaker, and your audience.

Having the knowledge and skills to effectively design and deliver a dynamic presentation is essential in the academic and professional world, regardless of field. Most colleges and universities require students to complete a public speaking course. In addition, many large organizations send employees to training course to develop their skills in this area. Why is it so important for college students and employees to be effective in this context?

The bottom line is that presentations are used to create a  shared meaning  between the speaker and the audience. Whether it is to inform peers of the results of your course project, communicate changes in the organization, provide updates on projects to your boss and co-workers, persuade the organization to invest in new technology, convince the city council to reduce waste, or recognize the accomplishments of a valued employee, the goal of a presentation needs to be accomplished. By using strategic design and delivery techniques, you increase your chances of accomplishing your goal. In addition, your successful efforts will leave others with a positive impression of your communication and leadership skills.

While there are a tremendous number of resources available on the internet to assist individuals wanting to increase the effectiveness of their presentations, the following checklist provides the basic things you should consider. This checklist contains items that are included within UMN Crookston’s Public Speaking course (SPCH 1101).

1. What are the logistical considerations/constraints of the speaking event? 

If you don’t know the answers to the questions below, ask the person inviting you to speak. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, it may help you determine other questions you want to ask:

  • What is the occasion/event that I’ll be speaking at (purpose)?
  • Where is the presentation located?
  • How many people will be in the audience?
  • What is the start time for my presentation?
  • How much time do I have to speak? Does that include time for questions?
  • What should I wear?
  • What type of presentation aid would you recommend for this audience
  • What technology is available for me to use (screen, projector, computer, etc.)?
  • If I have handouts, how many copies should I make?
  • Will there be someone available to help if I need assistance with set-up, technology, etc.?

2. Know your audience. 

The more you know about your audience, the more you can tailor your presentation to them, thus making it more relevant and increasing your likelihood of accomplishing your goal. If you don’t know the answers to the questions below, ask the person inviting you to speak. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, it may help you determine other questions you want to ask:

  • Who will be in the audience (position, demographics, etc.)?
  • How much to the audience know about the presentation topic?
  • What is the audience’s overall attitude towards the topic?

3. What is the purpose of the presentation?

The answer to this question will help you determine how to organize your presentation as well as choose the appropriate content. If you don’t know the answers to the questions below, as the person inviting you to speak. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, it may help you determine other questions you want to ask:

  • Is the purpose to inform the audience?
  • Is the purpose to persuade the audience?
  • Is the purpose to deliver a presentation at a special occasion (toast, recognition, award, etc.)?
  • Do you have suggestions on what content the presentation should contain?

4. Create a speaking outline with appropriate content.

Creating an outline will help you gather your thoughts and put structure of the content you want to deliver. If your presentation is not organized your audience may have difficulty understanding your content, and you will be less likely to accomplish your goal. Remember that audience members will not have a written manuscript to refer to if they get lost during your presentation. Based on the purpose, constraints, and audience of your presentation, consider including the following items:


  • Attention catcher – get their attention with a statement, quote, startling statistic, story, etc.
  • Speaker credibility – tell the audience why you are credible to speak on this topic (education experience, interest, etc.).
  • Listener relevance statement – tell the audience why this topic is important to them.
  • Thesis statement – tell the audience what your presentation is about and what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Main points and sub-points – each main point should include information that supports the thesis.
  • You may want to include research to support your efforts. If you do include outside research, you need to orally cite it in order to enhance your credibility and give credit to the original sources.
  • Each main point should be balanced: i.e. you should spend roughly the same amount of time on each main point.
  • Between your main points, you should include transitions that help the listeners understand how the ideas relate to one another.


  • Thesis restatement – remind the audience of your presentation topic and purpose.
  • Main point review – remind the audience of your main points (in the order in which they appeared in your presentation).
  • Clincher statement – leave the audience with something to think about regarding your presentation.

5. Effectively deliver your presentation. 

Along with content and structure, delivery can either enhance or detract from achieving your goal. We have all attended presentations in which the presenter’s delivery style either enhanced our learning or was so distracting that we stopped listening. The following lists several basic things to consider when delivering your presentation:

  • Wear appropriate and comfortable clothing.
  • Maintain good eye contact with your audience during at least 90% of your presentation.
  • Use the space provided – don’t just stand in one spot.
  • Use hand gestures that are appropriate.
  • Use your voice and facial expressions.
  • Portray confidence.
  • Smile when appropriate.
  • Eliminate distracting behaviors (repetitive gestures, chewing gum, verbal tics, etc.).
  • Don’t just read your speech off of your paper, outline, or note cards; speak in a conversational style.
  • Face the audience and not the screen.
  • Don’t read off the screen.
  • Ensure that your slideshow is visually pleasing – easy to read with few distracting elements.
  • Ensure that your slideshow is free from errors.

6. Practice, practice, practice.

An important component of effective presentation delivery is practice. Determine the practice method that works best for you (in front of a mirror, in front of a friend, in the room where you will be delivering your presentation, etc.). Consider practicing several days before delivering your presentation. The more you practice, the more confident you will be with your content, organization, and delivery methods.

7. Dealing with speech anxiety.

Almost everyone experiences some level of speech anxiety when delivering a presentation. Effective presenters are those who use that energy to help them in their efforts. Consider the following when managing your speech anxiety before and/or during your presentation:

  • Practice helps lessen speech anxiety.
  • Don’t let negative self-talk undermine your efforts. Instead, turn those negative messages – like “I’m going to embarrass myself” or “I’m going to fall” – into positive messages – like “I’m going to be successful” and “I am poised and self-confident.
  • Visualize your success.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • Pretend you’re confident.
  • Remember that your audience wants you to be successful.
  • Drink water prior to delivering your presentation to avoid a dry mouth/throat.
  • Remember that the audience will likely not notice your anxiety.

Whether you are a college student or a working professional, this checklist outlines basic strategies you should consider when designing and delivering an effective presentation. In addition to this checklist, you are encouraged to investigate the many resources and tools in the library and on the internet that can aid you in your efforts. Similar to other skills (athletics, singing, acting, canoeing, etc.), the more experience you have delivering presentations, the more effective you will be.

By Kevin D. Thompson, Ph.D. Last updated October 2016 by Allison Haas, M.A.

Frantically Speaking

6 Ways You Can Evaluate Your Own Presentation

Hrideep barot.

  • Body Language & Delivery , Presentation , Public Speaking

presentation skills evaluation checklist

Naturally, giving a presentation is a skill that falls on the professional side of the spectrum. It involves a lot of formality along with practice to get good at it. 

But how do you decide what exactly it is that you need to work on? Read on to find out about six ways to evaluate your presentation skills.

Evaluating your presentation requires the ability to analyze your performance based on some very specific criteria related to delivery and content. More importantly, you must do it in an objective sense, without letting your self-bias come in the way.

Importance and benefits of evaluating your presentations yourself

Public speaking requires skills that are developed over time. Whether you’re a pro at it or a beginner, there is always room to grow because people have a varying set of abilities. 

Presentations are all about influence. You aim to create a dynamic with your audience so they buy into whatever it is that you’re trying to convey. 

And if you keep innovating your techniques and find your strength (which all comes with self-evaluating), you’ll essentially be enhancing your power to influence. 

In addition to that, it makes you a better presenter. The lack of being told what to do by someone else gives you a sense of self-confidence and patience. 

Additionally, you being a good presenter would mean more successful meetings, which in turn means you’d profit your business.

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Basically, the better your presentation, the more likely are your chances to successfully fulfill your agenda. So grab a paper and a pen and embark upon your journey of getting better!

What criteria do I need to follow for evaluation?

Let’s address the skills we need for pulling off a good presentation.

Quality of content

  • Engagement with audience
  • Visual aids
  • Focusing on strengths. 

Based on these categories, you need to form criteria to test yourself. Think of it like setting a frame of reference for yourself, placing yourself on a scale ranging between good and bad would help you track your progress. 

Following are the pointers you need to keep in mind while evaluating your presentation skills-

The two most things to keep in mind about structure is that you need to have a very intriguing start to your presentation, something that hooks the audience. (an anecdote, perhaps)

Secondly, make sure your ending is clear and in alignment with the purpose of the presentation. And include a call to action. For example, if your presentation is about mental health awareness, make sure one of your end slides has a comprehensive contact list of psychologists/therapists. 

Apart from that, the transitions between your pointers have to be smooth. Try adding segues (which is basically building context for your next point) In the previous example, a personal anecdote involving someone with depression can be a good segue to talk about the importance of mental health. 

If you’re new to structuring content or making presentations, here’s an article of ours that might help- The Ultimate Guide to Structuring a Speech

Delivery is everything. From gestures to hand movements, your body language must emphasize CONVEYING something. 

When you say something especially important, there must be some emphasis on part of your delivery. Like slowing your speech, or knocking the table, or repetition of the point, etc. 

There should be some sort of continuity to your narrative, the ‘flow’ must come naturally. This can be done using the smooth transition technique mentioned above. 

Adding a story-like quality to your speech might help. (having proper segregation between the beginning, middle, and end)

You cannot be providing generic content. Always remember, in presentations, quality surpasses quantity. 

Rambling about your topic on and on would not only bore your audience but also hinder the aforementioned flow and transitions that are so important. 

You need to make sure you’re adding something of value that is unique to you, and not general. You may refer to our article that might help further with this- Should a Presentation Have an Agenda?

Engagement with the audience

Your content must always be altered according to your audience. Knowing your audience is a very crucial step. You cannot say the same things in front of an MNC board meeting members as you would in front of a bunch of college students.

Having a welcoming demeanour towards your audience

Knowing your audience helps you decide your content, flow, transition, practically everything. 

Also, engagement with the audience means the interaction that takes place between you and them. You need to appear approachable for them to talk to you. 

But at the same time, you need to prepare yourself in advance to be able to answer the questions that might come your way. A little prediction here and there can save you a lot of anxiety. 

Visual Aids

Visual aids during a presentation include everything from the design and arrangement of content in your presentation to your appearance. (But mostly the former)

Now when it comes to visual aids in a PPT, there is no better advice than the 5 by 5 rule.

The Powerpoint 5×5 slide rule states that-

a. Each of your slides should have no more than 5 lines.

b. Each of those lines should have no more than 5 words.

It ensures keeping your content crisp and to the point. A tip to apply this rule would be to not focus on including the main content in the ppt. Instead, write only pointers and elaborate on them yourself.

This way, you prevent your audience from getting too caught up in reading the slides hence getting distracted from you. 

How exactly do I evaluate my presentation?

Here are the six-pointers that will guide you through it step-by-step.

Identify patterns

Keeping in mind the above-mentioned pointers, start looking for what you’re doing wrong.

Is there something that you repetitively keep doing wrong? Maybe the topics you choose aren’t relevant, maybe you use too much text in slides, maybe you don’t captivate your audience by raising vocals, maybe you don’t move enough. 

There are always patterns. You need to develop attention to detail. 

Focus on the audience

Focusing on the audience's reactions as you speak.

Your audience engagement can make or break the deal. While you’re presenting, make sure you make eye contact with as many people as you can. And keep an eye out for people’s reactions. It helps you get real-time feedback. 

Now there’s a chance this might not work and you get distracted or disheartened. In which case, drop this tactic. Nothing is worth blowing your confidence down during the presentation. 

Take feedback

Part of the reward for good audience engagement is honest feedback. If people like your content but find your delivery a little off, if you engage well with them, they will be a little more open to bringing it to your attention.

Maybe to make it a little more certain, announce at the end that you’re open to constructive criticism. It also adds to the impression you make. People find people who are willing to admit their flaws, admirable. 

Make sure you maintain a record of your progress, right from making those criteria scales to your speeches through successive presentations. You could do it on paper or a device, whatever is more comfortable. 

Make notes about what you need to work on right after presentations, and tick them off when you do in the next ones. It brings along a sense of accomplishment. 

In reference to keeping track of practicing, you may check out our 13 Tips For Rehearsing A Presentation

Objective set of eyes

Ask a friend or a colleague to give you honest advice. Truth is, no matter what, your clients would always be skeptical of telling you what’s wrong. And there’s only so much you would criticize about yourself.

Asking someone you trust can help you get a fresh perspective on your progress since we get a little over in our heads sometimes. 

Use your strengths and weaknesses

After having acquainted yourself with this whole system of evaluation, it is no doubt you’d be very aware of your strong and weak points. It is a good thing. 

Honestly, there could always be some little things here and there that we cannot wrap our heads around, and that’s okay. Because we also have our strengths to cover up for them.

For example, you could be a little off with a smooth transition between subpoints, but if you drop a super-strong call to action, in the end, it gets compensated. 

And the best part is, only you can use them to your benefit since you’re the only one who knows about them!

Additionally, watching content related to your topic can be of massive help too. For example, if your speech is on mental health , then maybe watching a TEDTalk by a mental health professional can add on to the authenticity of your content.

To go that extra mile, you could also record yourself while giving the speech in front of a camera and review the recording to see where exactly you went wrong. Sometimes, watching your presentation from the audience’s perspective gives you a peak into what they see, and consequently, allows you to have a bigger impact on them.

Here’s a checklist to keep in mind while self-evaluating:

Print the checklist out for easy accessibility, mark yes or no after every presentation to keep track of your progress.

Practical Tools to use for self-evaluation

Feedback forms.

Feedback from your audience is important, as stated before. However, you can’t store all of the verbal feedback in your brain, let alone use it for self-evaluation later. Moreover, sometimes the audience might be vague with how they respond and that is unhelpful.

What you can do, instead, is devise a feedback form enlisting specific questions, the answers to which would be relevant for your purpose. This not only lifts the burden of remembering all you heard after presenting, but also eliminates unnecessary jargon from the audience.


Self-reflection is the most important part of this process. Now, this does not only involve you going to the feedback forms but also reviewing specific areas that you need extra work on. You can make a categorized list or a scale of easily ‘fixable issues’ to issues that need relatively more practice and work.

If there is an issue that you don’t seem to be able to work around, another form of self-reflection you can do is record yourself. As mentioned before, use the camera and present as you would in the conference room. Looking at a tape of yourself after presenting(as opposed to while presenting in front of the mirror), can help you detect what’s wrong in a better way. Plus, it helps you check body language.

Presentation rubrics are one of the handiest tools you can use for evaluation. It is a specific set of criteria that sets qualitative standards for the things/skills you need to have in your presentation to qualify as a good one.

For example, For a college research paper, the categories of criteria would be creativity, research element, use of sources and references, innovative aspects, etc. These categories would then be assessed on a scale of good to excellent or 1 to 5 and be marked accordingly.

It provides a quantified version of assessment which helps tremendously to analyze where specifically, and how much do you need to work on.

Apart from this, if you’re a techno-savvy person who is not inclined to write with a journal to keep track or implicate any of the other tools, worry not! We happen to have just the thing to help you! In today’s technology and smart phone driven world where most things are online, we can do self-evaluation up there too!

Here is a detailed and comprehensive article about 34 Best Smartphone Apps for Presenters and Professional Speakers that will guide you through that process.

Well, with all these tools and techniques, you’re all set to begin your self-evaluation! Remember, different techniques work for different people. It’s all a matter of trial and error. Some patience and practice can take you a long way to become the presenter you aspire to be.

Hrideep Barot

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Presentation Checklist: What to do Before and After Delivery

October 27, 2017 - Dom Barnard

Before you give a presentation, you might want to work through this checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Purpose of the presentation

  • What is the purpose of your presentation?
  • What is the end goal?
  • What would you consider a successful outcome?

Presentation preparation

  • Check how long your presentation slot is
  • Check that your presentation doesn’t overrun on time
  • Rehearse your presentation to friends or colleagues
  • Rehearse your presentation using  virtual reality  to reduce nerves
  • Prepare speaker notes or cue cards
  • Take a  presentations training course  to improve your skills
  • Think about where to breathe and pause
  • Number your notes in case you drop them
  • Ensure  your introduction  explains your objectives and grabs the audiences’ attention
  • Clearly define the points of the presentation
  • Check the main points are in  logical order  and flow well
  • The conclusion should be clear, concise and tie with the introduction
  • Make sure you are knowledgeable about the topic you are presenting

Presentation slides

  • Keep slide designs  simple and concise  – use minimal text and high quality pictures
  • Make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors on the presentation slides
  • Check and facts you display and make sure you can back them up
  • If appropriate, post slides to the web, include URL at end of talk
  • Saved your presentation onto two different formats (USB, cloud storage, etc.)
  • Confirmed that the audio-visual equipment you require will be in the room
  • Ensure you  practice with your presentation slides  to get the correct timings

Visual aids and handouts

  • Check the  visual aids  are easy to read and understand
  • Make sure they tie into the points you are trying to communicate
  • Ensure they can be easily seen from all areas of the room
  • Prepare any handouts  you want to give out and proof read them
  • Make sure you have sufficient handouts
  • Double check the visual aids are working (especially if it’s a demo)

Audience analysis

  • Think about  who will be in the audience
  • Determine if there will be decision makers
  • Think about their knowledge of the topic
  • Think about if their native language is the same language as the presentation
  • Check if the organiser can provide a rough demographic

Audience questions

  • Think about possible  questions you will be asked  and have spare slides to address them
  • Decide how long you will leave for questions at the end
  • Decide if you want to specify areas you are willing to answer questions on

Other speakers at the event

  • Found out who else will be speaking and what they will be speaking about
  • Check if other speaker topics are related to yours
  • Check if someone else will introduce you or if you need to do it yourself
  • Determine whether you will be presenting alone or as part of a group

Location and type of event

  • Check the floor, room and location of the event
  • Find a contact persons email or number in case you are running late
  • Get directions to the venue, including parking vouchers if required
  • Try to find last year’s programs to determine the style of the event
  • Check if there are reviews of the event on blogs or social media
  • Check the type of event – is it an industry event where you’re expected to address professionals? Is it a seminar for aspiring leaders looking for inspiration and motivation?
  • Check the style of presenting you’ll be doing (indoors, outdoors, standing, sitting, etc.)
  • Understand the size and layout of the room you will be presenting in

Your appearance

  • Make sure you are dressed and groomed appropriately and aligned with the audience’s expectations
  • First impressions  are very important for credibility, maintain a polished and professional look
  • Practice your speech paying close attention to your body language and posture, both of which will be assessed by the audience
  • Decided what to wear the day before
  • As a rule of thumb, dress slightly better than your audience members

On the morning of the event

  • Eat a good breakfast to give you energy on stage
  • Get some light exercise in
  • Check your laptop is charged
  • Check you have your slides ready on your laptop
  • Avoid unnecessary stress by getting to the venue early

Bring with you to the event

  • Bottle of water in case your throat goes dry
  • Your laptop and any necessary cables
  • Backup slides on a USB or hard drive
  • A remote to  control your slides  if required
  • Extension cord if required
  • Any physical demo, handouts, or other visual aids if required
  • Your presentation notes or cue cards

At the event

  • Register and let the organiser know you’ve arrived
  • Find your room and watch another speaker present
  • If time allows, mingle and  meet people  who might be in your audience
  • Return to the room before the speaker before you finishes, maximising your time to set up
  • Get your laptop hooked up to projector immediately – most problems occur here
  • Test your slides and any videos
  • Walk around on stage and get comfortable with the room
  • Run through the first couple of minutes of your presentation
  • Make sure you have a glass or bottle of water with you
  • Sit in the back row and make sure your text is readable
  • If you’re nervous, distract yourself by going for a walk
  • Turn your mobile on silent

After the event

  • Make yourself visible so people can find you to ask questions about your talk
  • Write questions from attendees on their business cards so you can answer in email later
  • Post slides online or to  SlideShare  if appropriate
  • Email people who gave you their cards, answering their questions
  • Thank the organiser and ask for any feedback
  • If your talk was filmed, ask for a copy so you can learn from it

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Presentation Preparation Checklist

  • File type PDF File size 291.29 KB

This checklist from the American Evaluation Association's Potent Presentations Initiative provides a set of guidelines for preparing a presentation. 

The guidelines are set up in the form of a checklist based on preparing your presentation over a period of time.  The first guidelines relate to planning and preparation three months before your presentation and the final guidelines relate to evaluating your performance and building networks.

American Evaluation Association (AEA), Potent Presentation Initiative. (2012).  Presentation preparation checklist . Retrieved from website:

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Presentation Evaluation Checklist

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How to give an informative speech, how to be a successful meeting minute taker.

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For most people, public speaking doesn't come naturally. However, every good presentation has common elements that make some speakers more effective than others. In evaluating a presenter's efforts, look for a well-paced, well-organized talk that's easy to follow. However, the best-written speech won't make any impact if the speaker seems ill-prepared, unenthusiastic, or disengaged from his audience. These factors also play a part in your final assessment of a speaker's abilities.

Clarity is a critical part of any effective speech. For evaluation purposes, you'll expect the speaker to grab the audience's attention right away, followed by the establishment of no more than four main points, according to tips posted by the University of Pittsburgh. The speech should contain clear transitions that move the listener from one point to the next. Alternatively, you'll expect subtle cues that make a speech easier to follow, such as the numbering of main points.

Verbal and nonverbal mannerisms, or delivery, are as important as the content of a speech. In your evaluation, you'll consider if the speaker makes consistent eye contact with the audience and avoids unnecessary motions that distract listeners from his message, according to the University of Pittsburgh's overview. You'll also make sure the presenter speaks loudly enough to be heard, and if he avoids lapsing into a monotone or talking too rapidly.


If a question and answer period is allowed, you'll watch how the speaker interacts with his audience. Good speakers allow the questioner to finish before offering an answer, according to Jeff Radel, an instructor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The only exception is a lengthy rambling inquiry, which you'll expect the speaker to cut off respectfully. In larger rooms, you'll expect a speaker to repeat each question so that everyone understands what's being asked.

Most audiences assess a speaker's credibility in the first two minutes, making it essential to establish an early rapport with them, according to speaking tips from the University of Hawaii. In your evaluation, you'll decide if the speaker seems enthusiastic about his material and if he uses humor or stories to engage the crowd. You'll also want to see if the speaker makes adjustments for material that's getting poor reactions.

Used properly, visual aids offer a powerful reinforcement to any speech. Boards, flip charts and transparencies work best in small groups, but large occasions require films and slides, North Carolina Wesleyan College's oral presentation checklist states. You'll also consider the presentation of written content -- which shouldn't exceed four lines, or six main points, per slide -- and whether all audiovisual aids work properly. A speaker who hasn't checked his equipment looks unprepared and, therefore, deserves a lesser grade.

  • University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo: Elements of a Good Presentation
  • University of Kansas Medical Center: Oral Presentations
  • University of Pittsburgh: Public Speaking: The Basics
  • Business Insider: Every Great Presentation Needs These 3 Elements
  • Forbes: A Quiet Person's Guide to Effective Public Speaking
  • University of Rhode Island; Environmental Data Center; Hints & Tips for Good Presentations
  • Winston Knoll Collegiate; Elements of a Good Presentation; How to Speak Effectively to People

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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A Presentation Skills Checklist

  • By: Kelly Allison

Delivering an excellent presentation is about a whole lot more than sharing an excellent message. If you actually want your message to be received and utilized, then you need to know how to deliver it in a compelling, persuasive way that moves and inspires your audience. Of course, that’s no easy feat; it requires a wide range of skills that must be honed and practiced to ensure you nail it every time.

If you master the following skills, you’ll be well on your way to presentation excellence.

Storytelling Mastering the art of storytelling is essential to delivering a good presentation. Not only do stories make your information more interesting and easier to recall, but more importantly, they inspire action—emotions, rather than logic, are what drive action. And, according to research , when we’re told a story, we experience the emotions and feelings of the characters as our own, which compels us to act far more than if we receive facts and figures alone.

Visual Design Your visual aids are hugely important to a successful presentation. For starters, they make your presentation much more engaging for the audience; a well-crafted visual will paint a clearer picture of your message and be compelling to look at. Additionally, visuals help your audience remember your presentation significantly more than if you didn’t include them at all. So, don’t let your visuals be an afterthought; they are just as important to your talk as the content itself.

Body Language Your body language has the power to make or break your presentation. If you step on stage with hunched shoulders and keep your eyes glued to your notes the whole time, it’ll be nearly impossible for your audience to pay attention and trust your message. On the other hand, if you hold your shoulders back, make eye contact with audience members, and flash a smile, you can bet your message will be much more well-received.

Persuasion Whether you’re trying to persuade someone to invest money or bring someone on board with a new idea, nearly all presentations require some form of persuasion. Therefore, you definitely want to have the art of persuasion in your presentation skills toolbox. That means knowing how to use your content and voice to not only convey your message, but to get others to trust and believe in it as well.

Focus In our social media-obsessed world, it seems like we face distractions more today than we ever have before. That means you have to fight even harder to find your focus, but that fight is definitely worth it. If you work on putting your phone down, shutting your door, and closing your browser tabs in favor of focused presentation prep, your final product is guaranteed to be more fluid, clear, structured, and overall better received.

Research Speaking of focus, you’ll need it to master the skill of research, which is crucial to effective presenting as well. Thorough research is what gives you the valuable nuggets of information and insight that others don’t have, which is what makes your presentation worth it for your audience. And thorough research means going well beyond the basics. To be an effective researcher, you must commit time, energy, and focus to finding the information that’s often overlooked by others.

Ready to elevate yourself to the next level of presenters? Then check out Ethos3’s Catapult Training .

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Table of Contents

Training delivery and facilitation competency rubric.

facilitator competency rubric

How can we help “part-time trainers” — people who may not have training in their job title nor do they have a background in instructional design or adult learning theory but who are asked to train others — how can we help them be more effective when they deliver training?

Some organizations offer a train-the-trainer program , but I’ve found that a lot of organizations leave their “part-time trainers” to fend for themselves. To their credit, many of these part-time trainers have deep subject matter expertise and stories and experiences to help them train others. Other part-time trainers blast their learners with lots of content.

If you’d like to help your part-time trainers (or perhaps if you’re a part-time trainer yourself), perhaps this Training Facilitator Evaluation Rubric, focused on basic training delivery and facilitation competencies, will help.

There are four essential competencies for anyone (whether you’re a part-time trainer or if this is the bulk of your work) who delivers and facilitates training, with descriptions of what it looks like to demonstrate each competency at a “developing facilitator” level, “proficient facilitator” level, and “master facilitator” level.

training facilitator evaluation rubric - sme and presentation skills

Subject-Matter Expertise

This competency revolves around how well you know the content. While complete mastery of the content isn’t necessary, Training Industry reported on a study by L&D Partners that concluded that there is actually a correlation between content mastery and overall training delivery, and that if trainers don’t master the content they are delivering, that weakness could overshadow their delivery skills.

Content mastery is important, but as you can see, it’s only one of the four pillars to this competency rubric. Solely knowing the content well is not nearly enough to be considered a competent training facilitator.

Presentation Skills

Perhaps you think “presentation skills” and “training delivery” are synonymous, but for the purpose of this rubric, the concept of presentation skills specifically refers to the manner in which you deliver your words, respond to your learners, and present your body language.

training facilitator evaluation rubric - flexibility and results focused


Keep in mind that training isn’t just about what information you share or how closely you stick to the training materials (your facilitator guide or lesson plan, your slides, etc. – which are indeed important), but also how you read the room and meet the needs of your learners. The degree to which you can balance the goals of your training session with the needs of your learners will have a big impact on the outcome.


At the end of the day, you deliver training so that people can do something new or differently or better. This particular competency is what differentiates a trainer who says: “I plan to cover _____” from a trainer who says: “By the end of this session, my learners will be able to ____”. The former ensures that you say what you want to say. The latter creates an environment where relevant knowledge can be learned, new skills can be developed, and on-the-job behaviors can change.

You can download a pdf of the Facilitator Evaluation Rubric . Fill out the form below with your email.

If you’d like to know more about this Training Facilitator Evaluation Rubric , if you’d like to bring a train-the-trainer program to your team, and/or if you just want to talk about effective training design and delivery, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email: [email protected]  

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Brian has over 25 years of experience in Learning & Development including the last 7 as CEO of Endurance Learning.

Brian is always available to chat about learning & development and to talk about whether Endurance Learning can be your training team’s “extra set of hands”.

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A rubric is a way to assess performance with a standard set of evaluation criteria. The next time you need to assess the performance of someone delivering training (even if that someone is you), you may find this rubric helpful.

263 Training Activities to Boost Your Workshop

Get quick access to the training activities and workshop activities that help you generate ideas for your next training session.

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18 Instructor-led Training Activities

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As people who have designed and delivered effective training, Kassy Laborie and Zovig Garboushian know a thing or two about good learning experiences. So what nuggets have they gleaned from a 9-month course that they’re both attending, and that all of us should consider when designing our own programs? Today’s podcast answers that question.

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When it comes to your training participants, two of the dirtiest, or perhaps scariest, words you can say during a session may be: role play. In today’s podcast, John Crook, Head of Learning at Intersol Global, offers some thoughts on how to make role plays more authentic and robust.

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What can training designers learn from a popular keynote speaker?

What can anyone who designs training learn from the way a keynote speaker designs and refines their presentation? Renowned keynote speaker, Jessica Kriegel, answers that question and more in today’s podcast.

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Presentation skills checklist, what are presentation skills.

Good presentation skills are an extension of good communication skills. Communication is a two-way process: the message has to be delivered clearly but the process is only complete when you are confident that your message has been received successfully and understood well.

What separates good presentations from bad?

Giving a good presentation is easy... provided you know the characteristics that separate a good presentation from bad. Compare and contrast these characteristics using the table below:

What are the components of a good presentation?

A presentation can be divided into three parts, each with its own set of questions you should ask yourself and answer prior to the presentation date:

I.     Introduction

  • How will you create rapport with your audience?
  • How will you grab your audience's attention? Will you use a quote, picture, fact, or story?
  • What is the purpose of your presentation and how will you state this clearly at the beginning of your talk so your audience knows what’s in store for them?

II.    Main body of presentation

  • What is the logical sequence for the topics you want to cover and can you develop a road map or story to help the audience navigate the presentation with you?
  • What are the 3-5 key points you want to deliver and how will you use data or illustrations to support transmitting these points to your audience?
  • How will you recap your points? And then make the transition to the next section of the presentation?

II.   Summary

  • Summarize all key points.
  • Inspire the audience to act on the information you’ve provided them.

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  1. Giving Effective Presentations: 50 Things to Consider (with evaluation

    presentation skills evaluation checklist

  2. FREE 10+ Sample Presentation Evaluation Forms in PDF

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  3. FREE 9+ Sample Presentation Evaluation Forms in MS Word

    presentation skills evaluation checklist

  4. Presentation Evaluation Form Template

    presentation skills evaluation checklist

  5. Evaluation Form Templates Ad Explore Surveymonkey's 50+ Form Templates

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  6. Presentation Evaluation Template

    presentation skills evaluation checklist


  1. Quick Presentation Skills Tips That Everyone Can Use: Tip 4- Share Your Priorities

  2. Part 2: Managerial and leadership skills evaluation

  3. Presentation skills #Presentation skills #sem5_prentation_skills

  4. How to Evaluate a Presentation?

  5. Top 3 Tips To Improve Your Presentation Skills

  6. Effective Presentation Skills


  1. What Makes A Great Presentation Checklist

    1. Ability to analyse an audience effectively and tailor the message accordingly. If you ask most people what makes a great presentation, they will likely comment on tangible things like structure, content, delivery and slides. While these are all critical aspects of a great presentation, a more fundamental and crucial part is often overlooked ...

  2. The Presentation Planning Checklist

    Make sure you are dressed and groomed appropriately and in keeping with the audience's expectations. Practice your speech standing (or sitting, if applicable), paying close attention to your body language, even your posture, both of which will be assessed by the audience.

  3. PDF Oral Presentation Evaluation Criteria and Checklist

    ORAL PRESENTATION EVALUATION CRITERIA AND CHECKLIST. talk was well-prepared. topic clearly stated. structure & scope of talk clearly stated in introduction. topic was developed in order stated in introduction. speaker summed up main points in conclusion. speaker formulated conclusions and discussed implications. was in control of subject matter.

  4. PDF Improving your Presentation Skills

    At this first stage, study Checklists 1-3: Preparing a Presentation (pages 2-3); Using Visual Aids, Handouts and Notes (pages 4-5), and Signposts and Language Signals (pages 6-7). Rehearsal . Before you start rehearsing your talk, read through Checklist 4 on Non-verbal communication (pages 8-9) and think about the points mentioned there.

  5. Effective Presentation Feedback (digital & sheets)

    With SlideLizard your attendees can easily give you feedback directly with their Smartphone. After the presentation you can analyze the result in detail. type in your own feedback questions. choose your rating scale: 1-5 points, 1-6 points, 1-5 stars or 1-6 stars; show your attendees an open text field and let them enter any text they want.

  6. Presentation Skills

    Presentation Skills. 29 Resources. Giving presentations can be a daunting task for even the most experienced public speaker. Assess and develop your presentation skills using practical knowledge and tips, designed to help you prepare for, deliver and evaluate great presentations.

  7. What Are Effective Presentation Skills (and How to Improve Them)

    Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images. You'll make presentations at various ...

  8. Giving Effective Presentations: 50 Things to Consider (with evaluation

    Effective presentations require that you put a good deal of thought into how your audience will react to every component of your presentation. While an engaging personality or an intriguing subject matter will help, you can make any topic work well if you follow several key guidelines, divided into nine areas: ... Review this evaluation ...

  9. Presentation Preparation Checklist

    Time available for the presentation; Type of audience (faculty, students, client, etc.) Type of attire to wear; Impact of the presentation (e.g. evaluated for a grade) Location of the presentation; Delivery technologies available for the presentation; Present alone, or as part of a team or panel; Prepare handouts to distribute to audience ...

  10. Presentation Skills 101: A Guide to Presentation Success

    Tip #1: Build a narrative. One memorable way to guarantee presentation success is by writing a story of all the points you desire to cover. This statement is based on the logic behind storytelling and its power to connect with people. Don't waste time memorizing slides or reading your presentation to the audience.

  11. PDF Oral Presentation Evaluation Rubric

    Oral Presentation Evaluation Rubric, Formal Setting . PRESENTER: Non-verbal skills (Poise) 5 4 3 2 1 Comfort Relaxed, easy presentation with minimal hesitation Generally ... Verbal skills. 5 4 3 2 1 Clarity Clear, easy to understand Occasionally difficult to understand Audience must put forth effort to listen, poor pronunciation

  12. The Presentation Skills Checklist Makes Presenting Much Easier

    This presentation skills checklist can make designing and delivering a presentation easier and less risky. When folks go through our presentation skills classes, they are often surprised at how simple public speaking really is. That is if you have a great structure and follow a simple checklist. Before pilots take a plane off the ground, they ...

  13. How to Assess Your Team's Presentation Skills

    Analyze and compare. Be the first to add your personal experience. 5. Provide feedback. Be the first to add your personal experience. 6. Here's what else to consider. Be the first to add your ...

  14. Effective Presentations Checklist

    In addition to this checklist, you are encouraged to investigate the many resources and tools in the library and on the internet that can aid you in your efforts. Similar to other skills (athletics, singing, acting, canoeing, etc.), the more experience you have delivering presentations, the more effective you will be. By Kevin D. Thompson, Ph.D.

  15. PDF Presentation skills workbook

    Through engaging workbook activities and videos, this Presentation Skills session aims to walk students through the process of how to plan, prepare, practice, and present powerful presentations; students will utilize the information in this workbook every time they need to create a presentation. Self - Assessment. 1.

  16. 6 Ways You Can Evaluate Your Own Presentation

    Delivery. Quality of content. Engagement with audience. Visual aids. Focusing on strengths. Based on these categories, you need to form criteria to test yourself. Think of it like setting a frame of reference for yourself, placing yourself on a scale ranging between good and bad would help you track your progress.

  17. Presentation Checklist: What to do Before and After Delivery

    Prepare speaker notes or cue cards. Take a presentations training course to improve your skills. Think about where to breathe and pause. Number your notes in case you drop them. Ensure your introduction explains your objectives and grabs the audiences' attention. Clearly define the points of the presentation.

  18. Presentation Preparation Checklist

    291.29 KB. This checklist from the American Evaluation Association's Potent Presentations Initiative provides a set of guidelines for preparing a presentation. The guidelines are set up in the form of a checklist based on preparing your presentation over a period of time. The first guidelines relate to planning and preparation three months ...

  19. DOC Presentation Skills Checklist

    The purpose of the talk was clear. The talk was delivered with warmth and feeling. The talk was designed in a logical way from beginning to middle and end. The talk was delivered with personal conviction from both the speaker's mind and heart. The presentation was well-suited to the audience. The presentation seemed practiced.

  20. Presentation Evaluation Checklist

    Presentation Evaluation Checklist. For most people, public speaking doesn't come naturally. However, every good presentation has common elements that make some speakers more effective than others. In evaluating a presenter's efforts, look for a well-paced, well-organized talk that's easy to follow. However, the best-written speech won't make ...

  21. A Presentation Skills Checklist

    Body Language. Your body language has the power to make or break your presentation. If you step on stage with hunched shoulders and keep your eyes glued to your notes the whole time, it'll be nearly impossible for your audience to pay attention and trust your message. On the other hand, if you hold your shoulders back, make eye contact with ...

  22. Facilitator Evaluation Rubric for Instructor-led Training

    Presentation Skills. Perhaps you think "presentation skills" and "training delivery" are synonymous, but for the purpose of this rubric, the concept of presentation skills specifically refers to the manner in which you deliver your words, respond to your learners, and present your body language.

  23. Presentation skills checklist

    Good presentation skills are an extension of good communication skills. Communication is a two-way process: the message has to be delivered clearly but the process is only complete when you are confident that your message has been received successfully and understood well.

  24. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.