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Creating your presentation slides

An oral presentation requires both an auditory and a visual component. Your presentation slides will complement what you will be saying. The biggest mistakes most students make is to have too much text on each slide. A text-heavy slide is distracting and might take the attention of your audience away from what you are saying. 

Use your slides to:

- Show the sequence of your presentation via a summary page

- Highlight important aspects of each section of your presentation as you go along

- Show visual data such as graphs, charts, experimental set-ups, flowcharts, etc.

Note:Powerpoint is not the only software suitable for presentations today. There are many other options available. See the resources below for tips and ideas on creating effective slides, alternate software choices and how to use Prezi.

Presenting and public speaking

An oral presentation requires a strong auditory component. What you say and how you say it may be more important than what is on your slide. People are there to listen to what you have to say not to read what is on your slide.

In developing your presentation, start by thinking about how you might finish this sentence, At the end of my presentation, my audience will...(for example: know that sulfur affects the uptake properties of compound xyz in this specific reaction because...). Then make sure every part of your presentation helps make that happen.

Tips for public speaking and presenting (graciously provided by Anne Scrimger) 

  1. Pause before you start, find people around the room (not just in the first row) that you can make eye contact with throughout your presentation.

  2. Plan your transitions. As you move from slide to slide, plan how you will segue to the next section. If there is no flow in your presentation, people will have a hard time putting it all together into one big story.

  3. Take time to pause and breathe. You don’t have to talk every second of your allocated time. Pausing gives you a chance to collect your thoughts and your audience time to process the information.

Tip: Use the pause time to ask your audience to think about any questions they may have so that you can address them during the Q & A period.

  1. People might hesitate if  at the end of your presentation, you ask  “any questions?”. Instead, ask them if they would like to know more about anything you presented.

Tips to help you prepare for your presentation and get over your nerves.

  1. Time your presentation. It is important to stick to the time limit assigned for your presentation and allow for some time at the end for questions from the audience.
  2. Practice, practice and practice. In order to be confident that you will not exceed your allowed time, practice your presentation. 
  3. Ask for feedback. Run through your presentation in front of a friend or family member and ask them for feedback. They will let you know if they could hear you clearly and understand you well.

Remember that every person has a first time and it does get easier with practice.

Library resources


We would like to acknowledge the work of Zahra Premji, who created the inaugural version of this guide in 2016

Copyright - Do you have permission to reuse an image?

In-class presentations and public presentations off campus have different copyright rules. While it may be OK to use an image you found on the Internet and cite it for an in-class presentation, presentations shared publicly online or off campus should only use images where the copyright holder has given permission for their reuse (for example, the image is licensed CC-BY).  Visit the Copyright Guide or reach out to the MRU Copyright Advisor at for more information. 

Need assistance?

If you need assistance with your research project, please reach out to your subject librarian. They would be happy to help.

If you are not sure who to chat with, please contact Brian Jackson.