Business Certificate Presentation Tips and Tricks


Mackenzie Madden ’22 pursuing the Business Fundamentals Certificate through the Ciocca Center for Business, ethics, and Society at the College, shares how her workshop experience has provided her with countless opportunities to practice presenting in front of an audience. Read on to learn her tricks to a successful presentation! 

From the Fullbridge Program to Marketing Communications & Sales to the Global Supply Chain workshop, I’ve had different audiences and presentation goals, worked with different teams, and created a variety of different presentations, all while keeping the same tips in mind. 

Presentations can range from informative to analytical to persuasive, and it is important to identify the goal of the presentation before getting started. Something that has been consistent throughout is the support of the alumni and staff during the workshop. When giving a presentation, whether it be in one of these workshops, in class, or at work, it’s important to utilize the support you have and make sure the presentation expectations are clear among the entire cohort.

    • Have a goal for your presentation and stick to it
      • Tell a story throughout the presentation and let your slides be the guide
    • Know the length of time you have:
      • Divide the amount of time you have to present by the number of slides you plan to have so that you don’t have more content than time to present. 
      • Don’t talk too fast or too slow
    • Know your audience:
      • Are you presenting to your peers, alumni, professionals, people who know nothing about your topic?

The quality of a presentation makes such a difference when presenting to an audience. We have all experienced a time when a presentation just could not hold our attention.  To prevent completely boring an audience, I’ve always tried to include visuals and sometimes short videos that allow the audience to take a break and look at something connected to the ideas presented.  In my experience, this has helped me to bridge the topics and better connect with the audience.

    • Content:
      • Limit the points per slide. Too much information on one slide is confusing to the audience.  You should say more than what’s on the slide. 
    • Use bullets, never paragraphs
      • Text on a slide should never be in paragraph form and will only distract the audience.  Instead, use bullet points and say more than what is on the slide.
    • Use basic font types
      • Don’t try to make your presentation prettier by using funky fonts – stick to the basics.   Font size should be no smaller than 18pt font.
    • Stay on brand
      • Don’t use too many colors, stick to colors that are related to the presentation/brand.
    • Use imagery whenever possible
      • An image says a  1,000 words! Use high-quality images.
    • Do not read directly from your slides
      • Practice and be as memorized as possible.  Bullet points will remind you of the topics and will help you feel confident when presenting.

When thinking about presentations for the  Ciocca Center workshops, it’s important to use examples of brands or companies that the audience will know. For example, my team presented a growth idea for Lululemon during Fullbridge, marketing ideas for PepsiCo during the Marketing Communications & Sales workshop, and the logistics of a local distribution company for Global Supply Chain.  For all three workshops, the presentation had to connect to the audience because people are more engaged when the topic is directly engaged to some aspect of what they know and experience. 

    • Body language:
      • The way you speak to your audience, the hand motions you use, the eye contact you maintain, are all ways that you can both win and lose the audience. Look at your audience and not just the slides.
      • Be enthusiastic about what you’re saying. If you don’t sound excited, the audience won’t be either
    • Dress appropriately 
      • Business professional or business casual is typically recommended. Your entire group is dressed in the same level of professional attire. 

I hope that these general guidelines help with your next presentation. Good luck and thanks for reading!