7 Ways to Prepare to Give a Good Presentation

Prepare to Give a Good Presentation: Photo by Mitchell Bryant image

Prepare to Give a Good Presentation:
Photo by Mitchell Bryant

You may try to skate through your presentation without much preparation. Maybe you plan to  rely on your PowerPoint slides, notecards, or good old-fashioned charm. But there is no way around the fact that to prepare to give a good presentation requires practice.

7 Ways to Prepare to Give a Good Presentation

1. Prepare for audience questions. Anticipate questions and practice your response. Write down every question you can think of and your response or a set of “talking points.” Do allow the audience time to ask questions, and let them know you appreciate their questions. Listen carefully to the whole question before answering. Sometimes you may need to read between the lines.

2. Over prepare your introduction. Begin by introducing yourself. Don’t forget to smile. Rehearse your introduction until you can say it without concentrating on the words. Instead, concentrate on your audience. The first seconds of your presentation are critical. If your introduction is boring and without enthusiasm, you will lose your audience from the start.

3. Practice in real location. Rehearse in a place that is as similar as possible to the real place. If at all possible, run through your presentation in the real location. Practice in the voice that you will actually use. Practice decreasing and increasing your volume and changing your pitch to call attention to your most important words and phrases.

4. Practice with the audio visual equipment. Many presentations have flopped because the presenter fumbled around with the audio visual equipment that never worked properly. Be sure that you rehearse with the audio visual equipment that you will be using. Use your own laptop if possible. You will look awkward (pr worse) if you try to use technology that you are not familiar with.

5. Practice your posture. Much has been said about the posture to use during a presentation. The primary goal is that your posture demonstrates confidence. Stand tall and hold your shoulders back. Keep moving comfortably but not pacing. Practice using hand and arm gestures until you look natural.

6. Practice making eye contact. Practice giving your presentation without relying on your notes or PowerPoint. Make a real connection with your audience. Focus on one person long enough to complete a phrase. Making eye contact helps your audience to feel involved in your presentation. When practicing your presentation in front of the mirror, look at your own eyes as much as possible.

7. Practice using the Power Pause. A pause before an important point can be very effective. It takes practice because a pause to the speaker can sometimes feel like an eternity. A long pause can help command attention and generate audience anticipation. Use the power pause to draw the attention of your audience.You can read more about the power pause here.

Attempting to skate through your presentation will not make you a successful presenter.

Practice until you feel confident. The more you practice, the more confident and natural your presentation will be.

What tips can you give us to prepare a good presentation? Please add to the comment section.

You would also benefit by reading:
The Only Way to Prepare to Give a Presentation (Bill Rosenthal)
How to Be Better Prepared for Your Next Presentation (Michael Hyatt)
8 Presentation Tips to Make Your Eye Contact More Powerful (Olivia Mitchell)
8 Steps to Practicing a Presentation (Dr. Mitchelle Mazur)
The Importance of a Good Introduction (Cesar Gomez).

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle

7 Habits of Highly Effective People (New York: RosettaBooks, 2013), 45.

Photoshop for Beginners | Understand Layers in Photoshop

It is very important that you understand layers in Photoshop. Layers are what give Photoshop its power. Understanding layers is basic to everything else in Photoshop.

Understanding layers in Photoshop is key.

This tutorial will help you to understand layers in Photoshop

What are layers?

A layer is a fundamental Photoshop unit. Layers can be stacked one on top of another to form a composite image. Every composition in Photoshop is the result of several layers combined. Knowing this will help you to understand layers in Photoshop.

Let’s work an easy example to help you understand layers in Photoshop.

Create a new document in Photoshop (File > New) or use the shortcut command (command + N).

Understand Layers: Open new document in Photoshop image

New Document in Photoshop

In the bottom right you will see the Layers Window. If not, click Layers > Windows on the menu bar.

At this moment, you will see a single white-filled layer in the Layers Window that says Background. Notice that the Background layer is locked.

Understand Layers: Layers Window - notice the background layer is loved image

Layers Window – notice the background layer is locked.

Create a new layer by clicking on the new layer icon (bottom right hand side next to the trash can in the layers palette).

There are two other ways to add a layer:

* Go to Layer > New > Layer or
* Use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + N.

Understand Layers: New Layer Icon image

New Layer Icon

Notice that you now have a locked background layer and another layer called layer 1 in your Layers panel. Nothing has changed in your Canvas. Studying what changes on each of these steps will help you to understand layers in Photoshop.

The small gray and white pixels in its icon indicate that it is transparent, meaning there is nothing on this layer (like a glass sheet) whereas there is a white fill on the background layer.

Understand Layers: New Layer image

New Layer

Change the Foreground Color

  • Change the foreground color to black by clicking on the foreground color thumbnail (left hand side)
  • This brings up your color picker. Change the color to black (#000000)
  • Grab the paint bucket tool (G) and click on the canvas to change it to black.

Notice that Layer 1 changes to black in the Layer panel but the background layer remains white.

Important: what we do affects only the layer that is selected. Since the blank one, layer 1, is on top, it is displayed in the Canvas. Understand? This is layer hierarchy. Knowing about layer hierarchy will help you to understand layers in Photoshop.

Understand Layers: Change Foreground Color image

Understand Layers: Change Foreground Color

Change the foreground color to yellow (ffff00) and select the horizontal type tool (T) to type text.

Change your font to Sapfino or another font of your choice. Use the Move Tool (V) to place the text in the center of the Canvas.

Did you notice that you now have another layer in the layer window? The text layer is now the top layer.

Understand Layers: Horizontal Text Tool

Understand Layers: Horizontal Text Tool

Best Practice

It is good practice to give each layer a title. This will become increasingly important as your work with more complex compositions. Double click on the layers title in the layers window to rename it. I renamed Layer 1 to Black.

Understand Layers in Photoshop

Let’s take this a little further to make sure you understand layers in Photoshop. Select the background layer in the Layer Window and click new layer. You should see a new layer just above the background layer (if it is not located there, drag it there). Change the layer name to Orange. Remember you just double click on the layer name and type Orange.

Change the foreground color to orange (#eb6e08). Like we did before, select the paint bucket tool (G) and click on the canvas to change it to orange. Make sure that the Orange layer is selected in the Layer Window. Notice that the layer in the Layer Window changes to Orange but nothing changed in the Canvas. Do you remember why? Hierarchy. Again, this is important to make sure that you understand layers in Photoshop. Until you get the basics of layers in Photoshop, you will be a frustrated learner. After you understand layers in Photoshop, you are ready to move on to more advanced topics.

Understand Layers in Photoshop: Add an Orange Layer image

Understand Layers in Photoshop: Add an Orange Layer

Understand Layers in Photoshop

Now you will see how this works.

  • Select the Black Layer in the Layer Window. Choose the Eraser tool (E) and choose a round 400 pixel brush.
  • Click once in the center of the Canvas. What happens? Once you erase the center of the black layer, the orange appears. Do you understand? Think hierarchy .
Understand Layers: Eraser Tool image

Understand Layers:Eraser Tool

Right click on the layers thumbnail and select blending options. Drag the box to the side so that you can see the effects as your work. Experiment with the different styles. Select drop shadow.

Understanding Layers: Blending Options image

Understanding Layers: Blending Options

This little exercised has been designed to help you understand layers in Photoshop. You can see why understanding layers is crucial to using Photoshop.

1. Get in the habit of naming your layers.
2. Remember the hierarchy affect.
3. When you get a lot of layers you can organize them in groups. We will discuss this in a later lesson.
4. You can delete layers that you no longer need. Right-click the layer and choose delete layer.

Did this help? Do you understand more about layers in Photoshop and why they are important? Add your thoughts or questions to the Comment Section.

You may also be interested in these tutorials.

Customize the Photoshop Workspace
How to Add a YouTube Video to a PowerPoint Presentation
Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: Quick Selection Tool and Refine Edge

Using Links on a Web Page

Using Links on a Web Page image

Using Links on a Web Page

This tutorial, Using Links on a Web Page, demonstrates four basic types of links.


  1. Link from one Web page to another in the same Web site.
  2. Link to a Web page on a different Web site.
  3. Link within one Web page.
  4. E-mail link.

You will typically use all four of these types of links for your Web site.

Using Links on a Web Page

As you probably know, many Web page elements can serve as links.

  • Text
  • Images
  • Animation

When using text links on your Web page, use descriptive text as your “hotspot” (clickable word or phrase). For example, don’t use the words “Click here” as your clickable phrase because these words do not explain the purpose of the link. By contrast, the phrase “Shop for Shoe Sales” indicates that the link connects to a Web page with discounted shoes.

The Anchor Tag <a>

The anchor tag is used to create anchors for the four basic types of links: 1) links to another page in the same Web site, 2) links to a Web pages in external Web sites, 3) links within the same Web page, and 4) links to an e-mail address.

Linking to Another Web Page Within the Same Web Site

<a href = “samplephotos.html”>sample photographs</a>

When the words “sample photographs” are clicked, the visitor links to the sample photos.html Web page–another web page on the same web site. Be sure that you have all of your files for this web page in the same folder.

Linking to a Web Page in Another Web Site

This is just like the previous example, but you must include the entire path name – the complete URL (http://www.nps.gov/state/hi/index.htm) when you link to an external web site.

<a href = “http://www.nps.gov/state/hi/index.htm”>one of our fabulous tour destinations</a>

Linking Within a Web Page

There are two steps to linking within the same web page.

1. Set a target
2. Create a link to that target

Name your target in a way that makes sense for the purpose of the link. For example, if you want a link that will take you from the bottom of the web page to the top of the web page, “To Top” would be a good target name.

<a id = “To Top”>

<a href = “#To Top”> To Top</a>

Notice that you are using the anchor tag just like you did for the previous two examples. Remember, that with this inner-page link, you insert the # before the target id to show that you want to link to the location of the target that you set–it is not necessarily the top of the page.

You will begin to understand as you practice using links on a web page.

Linking to an E-mail Address

Note: If your browser is not configured to send e-mail, the e-mail link will not work.

<a href=”mailto:nataliecbates@gmail.com”>nataliecbates@gmail.com</a>

Again, you are using the anchor tag . In the href attribute, notice that you use the mailto:e-mail address. You may wonder why the e-mail address is listed twice in the code. The first e-mail address is the link itself. The second time, the e-mail address is used as the clickable link. Understand?

Now it’s time to practice using links on a web page. If you have questions about the four basic types of links, let me know.

5 Gmail Shortcuts to Boost Efficiency

Online learning requires a lot of written communication. Email is the primary means instructors of online classes use to communicate with students.

These 5 Gmail shortcuts are easy and can be implemented quickly.

Gmail is a popular email service for higher education. Gmail has several features that can help the online instructor work smarter and save time. These are Gmail shortcuts that all users can take advantage of to increase efficiency and productivity.

5 Gmail Shortcuts to Boost Efficiency

These 5 Gmail shortcuts can help online instructors become even more efficient and effective in their online teaching.

Gmail Shortcut #1. Canned responses

Gmail More Options

Gmail More Options

Canned Response image

Canned Response

Online instructors send out many individualized emails to meet the needs of students. But there are times when a canned response will work just fine. For example, at the beginning of each semester, online students must email their instructors to let them know they are in the class. A canned response works well for the initial email response and saves an enormous amount of time.

Click the “More Options” button at the bottom right hand side of the New Message box. Choose “Canned Response” and then “New Canned Response.”

The next time you get ready to send the message, it will be right there waiting on you.

Gmail Shortcut #2. Unread Email Message Tab Icon

If you are like me, you keep multiple tabs open in your browser. You want to give your online students quick feedback, but it is annoying to click back and forth between tabs to check for emails.

Unread Message Icon image

Unread Message Icon

You can see how many unread emails are in your inbox at a glance.

Go to Settings and choose the Lab tab. Scroll down to “Unread message icon” and click “Enable.” Be sure to save changes.

Gmail Shortcut #3. Undo Send

Undo Send image

Undo Send

Maybe you shot that email off to your favorite student just a little too fast. As soon as you hit send you realized that the email did not have the right tone. You can stop the email if you act fast.

Again, go to Settings and the Lab tab.

Scroll down to “Undo Send” and choose “Enable.” Don’t forget to save changes. When you send your emails, you will now see a yellow bar appear at the top of your Gmail which says “Your message has been sent,” and will offer you the option to “undo” or “view message.” If you choose “undo,” your message turns back into a draft. But you have to be fast! The option will only be available for a few seconds.

If you were successful, you will get a message that says, “Sending has been undone.” Test this out first before you have to use it.

Gmail Shortcut #4. Star System

Star Function image

Star Function

You may already use the Star function of Gmail to mark important emails that need your attention at a later date. But you may not be aware that Gmail has a broader star system with more star colors and a wider range of symbols.

You can use Gmails Superstars in Google’s Advanced Search so you can use queries like:

has:red-bang (that’s the exclamation point. If you don’t know what the symbol is called, point to it and the tool tip will tell you).
You get the idea.

Google Star Search image

Google Star Search

Gmail Shortcut #5. Customize Your Inbox Tabs

Customize Gmail Inbox Tabs

Customize Gmail Inbox Tabs

All online instructors know the importance of being organized. You can now organize your Gmail inbox tabs by 1) Primary, 2) Social, 3) Promotion, 4) Updates, and 5) Forums. You can see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read first and when.

I really like the way all of my primary emails are organized together. Primary email would include all person-to-person email. This way I can “eat the frog first” as the saying goes.

Moving next to the Social Tab, I can catch up on all the popular discussions in LinkedIn, Google+, and SlideShare.

The Promotion Tab includes my PayPal receipts and good deals from Audible, Zander Insurance, Hibbett Sports, and more.

The Forum Tab is important. It includes group messages from our Registrar, Tech Support, and Instructional Dean.

The Updates Tab is where I receive email notifications from Canvas and Google Calendar reminders.

You may also be interested in these tutorials:

How to Create and Use Hyperlinks in PowerPoint (carolhbates)

How to Add a YouTube Video to a PowerPoint Presentation (carolhbates)