Skip to main content

Oral presentations

Audiovisual aids

Audiovisual aids can support your message in a presentation. However, their use varies across disciplines. For example, while it’s unusual for a philosophy presentation to have visual support, in many science and design disciplines it is essential to use technology and/or visual support, such as digital or physical models.

Most assignments will allow you to use PowerPoint or other presentation software, such as Prezi or Google Slides. If you do use these, keep in mind their advantages and pitfalls.

If you use visual aids, make sure you’re using each one for a clear purpose and make reference to them in your presentation. For example, you may use them to:

  • present an outline
  • signal new information
  • add emphasis to a key point
  • present relevant visual material, such as photographs or drawings
  • present statistics, diagrams and tables.

Make sure the visuals are clear, legible and relevant to your point.


If you use PowerPoint or other presentation software, there are some standard tips to follow.

Text guidelines

  • Only put a few points on each slide (no more than six lines on a slide).
  • Use keywords instead of full sentences.
  • Use a larger font to indicate more important information.
  • Font size should be 20 to 24 point or higher.
  • Choose an easy-to-read sans serif font, for example Arial, Verdana, Century Gothic.
  • Contrast text with the background.
  • If a slide has a lot of information on it, such as a table or quotation, stop talking for a few moments to give your audience time to read and understand it.
  • Remember that too many slides, or too much information on a slide, can lose your audience.

Image guidelines

  • Images should balance text on the slide.
  • Images should enhance and complement the text, not overwhelm it.
  • Use no more than two graphics per slide.
  • Do not use distracting visuals, such as animated emojis or flashing text.


Paper handouts are useful for information that people may need to look at later, such as your contact details or a summary of the key points. You can also use them for dense information which won’t fit on slides, such as the list of references, extended data, tables or figures.

Try to give handouts at the end or limit the amount of information it contains, as this will take some attention away from what you’re saying.


If you’re using equipment for the first time, go to the location of your presentation beforehand and practise. For example, make sure you know how to operate the projector screens, visualiser and lights. Also find out if the projector will already be on, or if you’ll need to switch it on and wait for it to warm up.

The University’s ICT Helpdesk provides both telephone support and online help videos for using the audiovisual equipment on campus.


This material was developed by the Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning), which offers workshops, face-to-face consultations and resources to support your learning. Find out more about how they can help you develop your communication, research and study skills.

See the handout on Oral presentations (pdf, 3.2MB).

Last updated: 18 October 2022

Website feedback

Tell us if you’ve spotted a typo or something else wrong with this page.

Thank you

Your feedback has been sent.

Sorry there was a problem sending your feedback. Please try again

You should only use this form to send feedback about the content on this webpage – we will not respond to other enquiries made through this form. If you have an enquiry or need help with something else such as your enrolment, course etc you can contact the Student Centre.