5. Presentations, posters and infographics

Presentations can be in person or online, live or recorded or a mixture of all of these. Check your Subject Outline for assignment details or marking criteria, so you know exactly what is required.

Types of presentations

Consider the audience, purpose, context and format when planning your presentation.

  • Will your presentation be face-to-face, online, or both? You might do your presentation to a “live” audience but have it recorded for others to watch later.
  • What format or medium will you use? A visual presentation may take the form of a slideshow, a poster or an infographic. An oral presentation could be with or without extra visual elements.
  • An interactive presentation or workshop will involve you presenting your knowledge and ideas but should also provide opportunities for activities and interaction, including debate, questions or role play.

Regardless of the format, a clear structure and compelling content are essential to keep your audience interested. The preparing for oral presentations and creating presentation slides videos from the Academic Skills Team gives an overview of things to be aware of when presenting, like using effective eye contact and gestures.

Techniques for keeping your audience engaged

Practise your presentation — record yourself to check the timing. Are you speaking too fast or too slowly? Are you changing your tone of voice? A monotone can be very boring. Practise again to improve your pace and tone.

Know your topic well — if you barely understand what you are talking about it will be difficult to speak well. Find out as much as you can to inform your presentation. Think about how much your audience knows on the topic so you know what needs to be explained. Examples or anecdotes help make a presentation more interesting and relevant.

Use notes or an outline as a prompt — when you are nervous it is easy to forget the brilliant things you had planned to say. Notes can act as a reminder of the key points. However, if you have the whole speech written out, you will be tempted to read it as is and that can ruin the conversational tone or spontaneity of your presentation.

Use strategic pauses — pause before and after important points to provide emphasis and to grab your audience’s attention.

Ask questions  — this is a good way to keep your audience interested and involved. Prepare some questions to ask your audience. Questions about their own experiences or thoughts are easier and less scary for your audience to answer than questions that require a “correct” response.

Repeat audience questions — if a participant asks a question it is always a good idea to repeat the question to ensure that everyone hears it. This is crucial for online attendees who often can’t hear anything not spoken into the microphone.

Decorative The secret structure of great talks (TED Talk, 16m)

Watch this video in the How to make a great presentation playlist for tips on how to make a lasting impression on your audience.

Tools for online presenting


Zoom is video conferencing software that can be used for presentations and meetings. Charles Sturt University provides access to Zoom for students and staff. You can send a link to participants to join your presentation. The web browser client will download automatically when the participants join their first Zoom meeting, and is also available for manual download.  You can share your screen and record the session. Make sure you get your participants’ permission before you start recording.

Interactivity for online presentations

These tools and features can help make your online presentation more interactive:

Chat — turn chat on so your audience can type their questions and respond to your questions. If possible, have a helper to monitor chat for you. Alternatively, you could use another communication tool such as X (formerly known as Twitter) to involve your audience and allow them to give feedback.

The ability to mute or unmute participants — allow individuals in your audience to ask questions and respond without having the constant noise of the whole audience unmuted in the background. Establish some guidelines at the start of your session about how participants can indicate that they want to ask a question. Some tools allow participants to use a raised hand icon or they can send a message via the chat function.

Whiteboard tool — the whiteboard will usually allow text, drawing, highlighting etc. You and your audience can share concepts and ideas.

Shared document — this could be a Word document or spreadsheet on OneDrive. Set the access so others can comment or edit the shared document. Writing and referencing tools has information on accessing and using these tools.

Mind mapping and brainstorming tools — tools like Coggle and Bubbl.us are good for brainstorming and mapping out complex concepts. Download the Academic Skills Brainstorming, mind mapping and concept mapping learning resource for information about Miro and Mural mind mapping and brainstorming tools. Or try Padlet free version with 20MB upload.

Poll tool — you can post a question or idea and your audience can vote on it or provide feedback or comments:

  • Zoom has a poll tool. To learn more about using the poll tool read Conducting polls in meetings.
  • Slido has a free basic plan that requires registration. Slido allows audience members to comment or ask questions during a presentation
  • Tricider is a free polling tool that doesn’t require registration, just a link to the question.

Presentation slides

If your design skills aren’t great, follow these design tips to create appealing presentations:

  • Be consistent with your headings, fonts, colours, layout, and themes (shapes, symbols, icons etc)
  • Only have one idea or point per slide
  • Have no more than six bullets per slide
  • Use words as cues rather than having complete sentences
  • Only use one chart or graphic per slide.

Slide and presentation tools

Tool Free access via Charles Sturt University Software Downloads Guides Training and tutorials
PowerPoint Yes with MS Office 365 PowerPoint help centre PowerPoint Essential Training (Microsoft 365) (LinkedIn Learning, 2h32m) Charles Sturt login required
Google Slides No Get started with Slides Google Slides Essential Training  (LinkedIn Learning, 1h8m) Charles Sturt login required

Find out about more presentation tools.


  • Fonts should be easy to read
  • Be consistent with your sizing for headings, subheadings and paragraphs
  • Make your heading font distinctive from your paragraph font
  • Don’t go smaller than an 18 point font for face-to-face presentations. It has to be large enough to be visible on the screen
  • Check your Subject Outline for task specific details.


  • Use a simple, clean design.
  • Grey is a good contrast colour or choose a lighter shade of the main colour.
  • Check your Subject Outline for task specific details.
Get tips on how to pick colours for your presentation.

Computer mouse icon Try the Adobe Color wheel. To pick different colour combinations:

  1. Try the Color Harmony options, such as Analogous, Complementary and Shades
  2. Drag the circles on the wheel to spin to different colours
  3. Change the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour value codes that set the hue, saturation and lightness.
  4. You could also click the Explore option to search for different colour combinations

Copy the code values to set the same colours in your presentation.

Other colour tools

  • w3schools.com has a colour picker tool to set different colour values
  • Colorbrewer2.org allows you to select a Colorblind safe option. It is designed for creating map colours but you can use the colour information in your presentations. You can change the number of colours and there are different export formats.

Images and icons

Using images or icons instead of text can make your presentation look more interesting. The Find and use media module lists sources of images. Remember to check the Creative Commons licence type to see how you should credit the author. Public domain images do not require an attribution.

High resolution images are better for print formats. Images you download from the web are often low resolution to reduce the file size. If you are creating a print document, look for the full resolution option, if available.

Find icons for reuse:


  • Take a screenshot.org — explains how to capture the full screen or a specific area on different devices
  • Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder — this Chrome extension lets you take a screenshot of the entire current page. It also has a screen recording function but it is limited in the free version. Other browsers should have similar tools.

Use GIMP, free image editing software, to resize or edit images. Find out about more tools for working with images.

Decorative  Watch How to avoid death by PowerPoint (YouTube, 20m, 31s) – Learn the art of making a good presentation.


Posters are often used at conferences or other events to share important research. You can use the same design tips for colour, fonts and themes for creating a research or abstract poster. Other design elements may include: (Check your Subject Outline for task specific details).

  • Use a 3 or 4 column format
  • Try to keep 40% of the poster as white space, with no text or images. It helps organise the flow of information and prevents cluttering
  • Keep a margin around the edge of the poster
  • Use a large heading for your title across the top and sub-headings on your columns
  • Text size recommendations —
    • Title heading — 85 point font
    • Subheadings — 36 point
    • Body text — 24 point

The CLIPS website has information on what to put in a science poster, a PowerPoint for posters video and PowerPoint templates, in different sizes, for download.

More PowerPoint instructions:

Layout and Composition: Grids (LinkedIn Learning, 1h1m) looks at how to use grids to create strong and consistent designs for posters. A Charles Sturt login is required.

Don’t forget to include references and attributions.

Print your poster

You can print up to A3 size, from the campus public access computers located in Charles Sturt libraries, computer labs and 24 hour zones. Or you can access myprint.csu.edu.au where all details of your printing can be managed directly from your personal devices to the university’s printing system. A Charles Sturt Student Card and PIN is required.

Other external specialised printing services may be available in your area, for larger sizes and high quality colour options.


Infographics and presentation software are excellent ways to present information and data in a visually appealing format. Online infographics can include interactive elements. Infographic examples:

Choose a tool that allows you to share a link to your infographic or presentation.

Tool Shareable link to infographic Download of infographic Training and tutorials Tips
Visme Yes Yes Visme 101: Learn how to quickly get started with Visme Visme Tips and tricks
Venngage Yes Not with the free version Video Guide to Creating Your First Design What is an infographic? Examples, templates and design tips
Canva Yes Yes Design School for Canva Presentation checklist
Piktochart Yes Yes Piktochart video tutorials Piktochart Blog

Get more information about infographic tools.


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Digital Skills: Assignment Essentials Copyright © 2024 by Charles Sturt University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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