This article has been published in Enabling Education 5
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Title: Presentation Skills Workshop
Author: EENET
Publisher: EENET
Date: 2001

Presentation Skills Workshop

“What do you need from us today to make your presentation more clear, accessible and lively, and to increase your confidence?”

EENET held a one-day workshop on July 24, just before the ISEC Congress. It was organised for the benefit of participants from the South who may have had no previous experience of travelling to the UK or attending large conferences. Good communication and presentation skills are essential to meaningful participation in meetings and seminars.

Needs Skills
  • How to write a good paper;
  • Personal introduction;
  • Key points;
  • Strong ending;
  • Dealing with unexpected questions;
  • Confidence;
  • Language interpretation;
  • Knowing & predicting audience.
  • Summary; structure and organisation;
  • Facilitation;
  • Focussed; Jargon-free;
  • Time management;
  • Logistical support (buddy);
  • Humour: jokes, anecdotes; eye contact;
  • Role Play;
  • Producing visual aids – eg OHP’s

The facilitators used participatory and inclusive methodology to ensure that individual needs were met and that everyone participated fully. Working in groups, participants made a list of their skills and their needs in order to answer the main question of the workshop: “What do you need from us today to make your presentation more clear, accessible and lively, and to increase your confidence?”


We spent some time considering the needs of members of the audience who may have hearing or visual problems. The brainstorm of ‘points to remember’ is just as relevant to all conference participants, especially when they have many different language backgrounds. In considering the needs of people with impairments, we can all learn to be better presenters.


We had to establish some ground rules about listening to each other’s presentations. Good chairing skills, time-keeping and assertiveness are all essential ingredients for successful presentation and feedback sessions.

“Practising in a bigger group was wonderful – it boosted my confidence”.

“People spoke from their hearts – with honest comments”.

“I seemed like a different person presenting by the end of the day”.

“In future it should be compulsory for all congress participants to attend a pre-congress presentation skills workshop.”

Points to remember when communicating with deaf or hearing-impaired people: Points to remember when communicating with blind or visually-impaired people:
  • Face your audience;
  • Do not cover your mouth, or any other part of your face;
  • Always give visual clues;
  • Always ensure that the speaker’s face is well lit, and not in shadow;
  • Never stand with your back to the source of light;
  • Eliminate background noise;
  • Speech should be slow and clear, but not exaggerated;
  • Do not shout;
  • No chewing gum
  • Be specific when describing diagrams eg right, left, top, bottom, corner;
  • Eliminate background noise (no chattering!);
  • Advance preparation of venue accessibility;
  • Embossed diagrams for braille users – if possible;
  • All overheads should be read out – never assume that everyone can read them!

Access for All is an excellent document produced by Save the Children following its CBR Review. It gives a comprehensive overview of accessibility issues before, during and after seminars. It is available in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic, audio cassette (English) and Braille.

Ingrid Lewis,
Policy Officer (Diversity)
Research and Development Unit
Save the Children-UK,
17 Grove Lane, London SE5 8RD

Tel: +44 (0)20 7703 5400 x2616
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 7630