Preparing for Your Presentation

Presentation Resources
A narrated presentation is for a specific audience to which you would ideally present in
person or online in real time, but for practical reasons, you need to record for later
While Microsoft PowerPoint is considered the default presentation tool for presentations,
you may consider using other presentation platforms or tools. Just be sure the tool
supports prerecorded narration.
Preparing for Your Presentation
As with any project, it is good to begin by creating an outline. This will help you
determine how many slides you will need to develop and how much information you will
need to present on each slide. It should also help determine a logical order in which to
present material.
Be sure to dedicate enough time to the narrated presentation to get the timing for
transitions right, and ensure that the sound is clear and the narration is at the right
Creating Slides
A good recorded presentation shares most of the same traits as a good live
presentation. Your presentation should not be an academic paper cut into text-filled
slides. You are giving a talk to an audience, so the narrative should provide most of your
ideas and argumentation. Be sure the themes either flow or transition appropriately from
slide to slide.
Here are some recommendations:
Keep slides uncluttered by using brief bullet points—only a few key words each.
Course Resource
An easy way to make your presentation look more appealing is to use one of the
designs provided within PowerPoint.
Adding images and/or clip art is another good way to add visual interest to your
presentation, but don’t overuse slide transitions or animations, as these can be
When you are citing sources of information on a slide, use a small font size so the
citations don’t detract from the primary points.
Be sure to proofread carefully: Any errors on a slide will be particularly noticeable
because of the relatively small number of words.
When you record audio for each slide, a loudspeaker icon will appear in the middle
of the slide. You can drag this icon to a better position (often the bottom right
corner of the slide) so it doesn’t interfere with the text.
Writing the Script
The script for your presentation can be a complete word-for-word documentation of
what you intend to say as each slide is displayed, or it can be a much briefer set of notes
to use as a reminder while you are recording to ensure that you cover all the points. The
latter approach is preferable, because this makes it less likely that you will sound rushed
or overly scripted when speaking. Keep in mind that if you were making the presentation
in person, you would not want to be reading your comments; instead, you would want to
make eye contact with the audience.
Here are some additional recommendations for your script:
Try to keep the amount of narration to less than two minutes per slide. If you need
to say more than that, create another slide so the audience doesn’t get bored.
Make sure the script and what appears on the slide are closely related so the
audience can easily follow what you have to say.
Don’t simply read the material on the slide—add value by providing additional
Recording the Narration
At this point, you have created and saved slides as a PowerPoint presentation, and you
have the script ready. Now it’s time to record the audio.
Here are a few general recommendations before you record:
If you are using a computer to record, use a headset/microphone combination rather
than using the computer’s built-in speakers and microphone for better audio quality.
It isn’t necessary to spend a lot on a headset/mic (typically $20 or less), and you will
be rewarded with better sound quality and less background noise.
Make sure the headset/mic is installed and working. There are simple programs on
both Macs and PCs that allow you to test whether recording is occurring and
whether the sound quality is acceptable.
Choose a quiet location to record so that background noise is minimal.
When you begin recording, speak clearly and conversationally without rushing.
Remember that it’s easy to redo the audio for a slide. If you’re not happy with the
way it sounds, you can do it again.
Once you have completed and narrated the presentation, it is a good idea to email
the file to another computer. If you are able to watch and listen to the slide show
successfully on the second computer, you will know that the audio files have been
successfully embedded in the presentation.
For Technical Support
Below are specific recording instructions for some common tools for presentations:
Record a Slide Show With Narration and Slide Timings in PowerPoint
Getting Started With Microsoft Sway (
If you have technical difficulties with using PowerPoint, contact the UMGC 360 Help
Desk, available 24/7 Phone: 1-888-360-UMUC (8682).
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All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity
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