Presentation Guidelines

For many of us, presentations are an important job skill. Business and industry constantly require it, but so do non-profit corporations, government, and many others. You would hate to give up a possible career path just because you wanted to avoid public speaking.

Some people are very confident and comfortable speaking in public. Most are not. One study showed that 40% of people said they were more afraid of speaking in public than dying! What happens when you're afraid?

  • Your muscles tighten up
  • Your heart races
  • Your palms sweat
  • You might even faint!

The way to get better is to practice! Pretend to be confident! Socrates said Seem what you would be.

PLTC Public Speaking Tutors

To help you prepare for and practice your presentations, we have arranged for PLTC public speaking tutors to help you before the presentation day.The PLTC tutors have set up a Doodle poll so that you can choose a time to meet with them. Be sure to confer with your partner first to ensure that you can both be there, then grab your desired time slot.

Here's the link to the Doodle poll

The locations and times are noted in the spreadsheet. Respect the time of everyone involved and come prepared to give a real presentation, for which you'll get feedback by the tutors.

Extra Credit

We expect that all first-year students will take advantange of this opportunity. However, to incentivize everyone to participate, we are offering 10 points of extra credit for all teams who participate in tutoring. (These points will be added to the total of the presentation score).

Your Presentation

Your presentation will have two components:

  1. A set of five slides.
  2. Website Demo

Content of Slides

Your slides should have the following content:

  1. First slide will have the title of your website, a particularly appealing screenshot of your website and your names.
  2. Second slide will have the purpose, goals, and audience of the website. No need to write long sentences, you can use bullet points here.
  3. Third slide will have one of your mockups from the design document and you'll explain your design decisions and how they were informed by the goals and audience. These decisions need not be written on the slide.
  4. Fourth slide will summarize what you have completed so far: how many HTML pages, artwork, galleries, Javascript applications or other content. On this slide you'll pause and start demoing these accomplishments on the live website (see next section for more details).
  5. Fifth slide will summarize your achievements (what is that you're most proud of in designing and implementing this website) and what you might want to improve after the semester is over. After this slide, you thank the audience and ask if there are any questions.

You can certainly use more than five slides, if, for example, you cannot cover all your design decisions with only one mockup, or want an extra slide to show some interesting jQuery/Javascript code that you are really proud of. Simply keep in mind that you have about 6-7 minutes for the slides and the website demo.

How You Will Be Graded

In this phase of the project, the grading will be different from other phases. It is composed of the following parts:

  • 45% for content — what you say
  • 35% for manner — how you say it
  • 10% for coordination — how smoothly do you work as a team
  • 10% for technical stuff — does your website work?

Content (45%)

  • Explain the client's goals, the target audience and why that mattered.
  • Explain how your design and implementation decisions fulfill the client's goals to attract and convince the intended target audience.
  • Have a script for demoing the website. Instead of going over each page in order, think of one or two real scenarios involving a member of the target audience. For example, you could say: Kelly, a first-year student is looking for volunteering opportunities. A friend has mentioned the Wellesley's Girls in STEM org and she wants to check them out. In the homepage, she is greeted by a slideshow of pictures from recent events of the org, featuring its members working on science projects with middle-school girls. An eye-catching button titled "Join Us" leads her to a page where it's explained how someone like Kelly can impact the choices of young girls to participate in STEM fields. And so on.

Manner (35%)

  1. Eye Contact
  2. Voice
  3. Mannerisms
  4. Pace

These all interact to give an impression of confidence, candor, and competence.

Eye Contact

In order of increasing quality:

  • Reading from a prepared text with your eyes glued to the paper
  • Reading from a prepared text with occasional furtive glances at the audience
  • Talking to the back wall
  • Glancing around the room, moving rapidly from face to face
  • Looking at the people in one part of the room
  • Looking at people, and moving your eyes around the room
  • Direct the audience's attention with your eyes. When you want them to look at the screen, look at the screen. When you want them to look at you, look at them. Partners should support this.


When you get nervous, your muscles tighten, and this usually affects your voice. It gets smaller, higher, squeakier.

  • Take full breaths.
  • Try to speak louder, so that even the people in the back can hear you clearly.
  • Stand up straight and look out at the audience. This helps fill your lungs and stretches your abs.
  • Support your voice using your abs. Project to the back.
  • Use pauses instead of um or like.


When we get nervous, we all tend to adopt soothing tics. Try to avoid them, or at least keep them invisible.

  • Don't fiddle with the mouse or the laser pointer.
  • Keep your weight stable, but don't lock your knees.
  • Think about what to do with your hands. Ask a friend if it seems natural.
  • Avoid, if possible, verbal mannerisms, like particular phrases.


  • Time your talk so that it's not too long or too short. Too long is discourteous to other speakers and may annoy the audience. Too short makes it seem like you don't have much to say.
  • Try not to rush if you get behind. If possible, plan on optional material that can be skipped. Try not to make this obvious.
  • If you get ahead, you can take longer on topics, explaining more.
  • Try to make your glances at the clock unobtrusive.
  • For this class, aim for 6-7 minutes.

Coordination (10%)

  • Take turns speaking. Usually, the non-speaking person will operate the mouse. Share equally.
  • Find good transitions in the material.
  • Know what your partner will say, so that you can begin the transition.
  • Practice!

Technical Stuff (10%)

  • Make sure you don't have any obvious mistakes on your slides or website.
  • Avoid land mines. If some link doesn't work, don't use it. If some rollover has issues, don't show the audience. The site doesn't have to be perfect for you to avoid showing any flaws. This is why having a script in demoing the site can help you show the best of it.
  • Test on the computer you will use. Clear the history so that all links appear unused.


You are required to attend the entire lab in which you are presenting. If you are presenting in your partner's lab (rather than your usual lab), you only have to attend that lab.

Other Advice

  • Avoid apologizing. Do it if you must, but projecting confidence is important.
  • Don't be a perfectionist. In particular, don't make any changes to the site right before you present, because what if something goes wrong?
  • Think carefully about where you'll stand when you are speaking (not huddled behind the computer), and position yourself to work appropriately with the large projection screen.
  • In general, one partner should speak while one navigates the computer, and vice versa.


Here are some important slide tips:

  • Use simple backgrounds.
  • Use fonts with good contrast and size.
  • Avoid distracting special effects.
  • Do not put too much text on any slide.
  • Pictures should be meaningful.