Skip to Main Content

Learning Portal - Learning Online: Presenting Online

Presenting Online

Create better presentations using stories, graphic design, biology, and neuroscience.

Top Tips 

✓ Use storytelling techniques. Format your presentation using the ‘dramatic arc’ plotline, and use emotion to tell a compelling story.

✓ Phrase some information as questions. This triggers a different part of the brain to keep your audience interested.

✓ Make your graphics and animation meaningful. They should illustrate or highlight a concept. Be careful your animation doesn’t dominate the slide.

✓ Use new fonts. You aren’t limited to Arial or Calibri (just make sure they are embedded in your file).

✓ Use very little text. You don’t want your audience to be reading the slides while trying to listen to what you are saying.

✓ Do not read your presentation. Your presentation should be like a conversation on a larger scale.

Tutorial - Creating a Presentations


About This Tutorial

This tutorial is based on the original Present Awesomely workshop created for the Seneca Sandbox by Jennifer  Peters and Ewan Gibson. It will take you through suggestions for delivering AWESOME PRESENTATIONS!

First, you will learn about using stories and story formats for your presentation.

Next, you will learn how to avoid overwhelming your audience with graphics.

Finally, we will explore the most difficult part of public speaking. Typically it's nerves that sabotage awesome presentations so let's look at tips to deal with jitters.

Telling an Awesome Story 

We encourage you to use "storytelling" in your presentations instead of just listing facts and information. Try to avoid listing in bullet points everything you want to say about your topic. Tell us a story about it. The information below will demonstrate why.

Step 1: Watch the video 

Check out this video by Seneca College from 2014. 

Example of an awesome story: Giving is the Best Communication 


Step 2: Explore this example

The video "Weird, or just different?" is a great example of using the dramatic arc in a presentation. It is a recording of the TED talk by Derek Sivers in 2010. 


Step 3: Try it

Download either a diagram or worksheet and sketch out your presentation using the dramatic arc format:

Software/Tools for Creating a Presentation

Haiku Deck Logo

HaikuDeck "Meet Haiku Deck, a completely new kind of presentation software. We make telling your story simple, beautiful, and fun." Available on the web or for iPad.

Emaze Logo

EMAZE "…emaze is the next generation of online presentation software. Simply select any of our professionally designed free presentation templates to easily create an amazing visual experience for your audience. emaze features a proprietary state-of-the-art HTML5 presentation maker that will create the slideshows, video presentations and even 3D presentations that you always dreamed of."

Google Drive Logo

Google Drive features a free software suite that allows you to create and edit documents from your browser. Slides is Google's slide creation tool.

PowerPoint logo

PowerPoint is Microsoft's flagship presentation tool.

Don't have PowerPoint at home? Check with IT at your school to see if your college offers Students an edition of MS Office.

Key note Logo

From "Keynote for Mac makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And work effortlessly with people who use Microsoft PowerPoint."

Zoho Logo

From " offers a comprehensive suite of award-winning online business, productivity and collaboration applications. Customers use Zoho Applications to run their business processes, manage their information and be more productive while at the office or on the go, without having to worry about expensive or outdated hardware or software."

Prezi Logo

From "Prezi is a virtual whiteboard that transforms presentations from monologues into conversations: enabling people to see, understand, and remember ideas." logo

From Slides: "The Slides editor is available online, right in your browser. Unlike traditional presentation software, like PowerPoint, there's no need to download anything. All of your work is stored securely on our servers, accessible wherever you are."


Finding and Citing Images 

For copyright guidance on what can and can't be used in your presentation, check out this video by Seneca Libraries from 2014:


Stock Sites 

Flickr (Creative Commons) 

  • Images with Creative Commons Licenses clearly listed 


  • Pictures you can use for commercial or non-commercial purposes


  • Stock images that you can use for commercial and non-commercial purposes 


Even More Sites: 

PowerPoint Tips 

Screen Format 

To maximize the space available to you on screen, it is important to match the aspect ratio of your presentation to the display it will be viewed on. The projector/display your presentation will be viewed on will either be an almost-square shape, like an older TV (4:3) or it will be widescreen (16:9 or 16:10.) You can set this up in PowerPoint before you create your presentation by going to:

  • Design Tab  Page Set Up  Slides shows sized for  On-screen show (4:3, 16:9, etc.)


Know your keyboard shortcuts. Here are some useful ones for PowerPoint on a PC:

  • F5 = Start Slideshow
  • Esc. = End Slide Show
  • B = Black Screen
  • W = White Screen
  • Up or Right Arrow = Next Slide
  • Down or Right Arrow = Previous Slide.


If you are loading your presentation onto a computer other than your own and you have incorporated new or unusual fonts, make sure you save the font with your presentation. (To do this in PowerPoint, go to File  Options  Advanced and check the Embed Fonts in the File box.)

Technology Tips for Presentations 


Don't rely on your laptop's battery, always use the power supply (and bring an extension cord). Over time, your laptop will give less and less time on each charge. The last thing you want in a presentation is to run out of power!

Disable your Screensaver 

You don't want to have to apologize for your screensaver coming on midway through a presentation.

Know your Laptop

Not all laptops detect projectors or displays automatically. It is up to you to know how to detect a projector or external display on your own laptop.

  • For Mac users, this is found under Displays  System Preferences  Detect Displays.
  • For PC laptops using Windows 7 or later, press the Windows Key and the letter P, and a display menu will appear:

Power Management 

Go to your laptop's power management settings and make sure the laptop is not set to turn off, standby or hibernate during periods of inactivity. If your laptop shuts down during a presentation you may end up wasting time rebooting, logging in, or reconnecting to a wireless network.


Make sure the resolution of your laptop matches the resolution of the projector. The most common resolution on projectors are:

  • 1024×768 (4:3)
  • 1280×800 (16:10)
  • 1920×1080 (16:9)

Most modern laptops and displays adjust to match automatically. However, if the screens seem mismatched(items cut-off, fonts oversized, etc.) you may need to adjust your laptop's display settings:

  • Mac: Apple Menu  System Preferences  Displays
  • PC: Start  Control Panel  Display Adjust Resolution

Closing Time 

Never close your laptop during a presentation – you will have an unsightly bright blue screen behind you if you do!

Creating Awesome Slides 

Slides can either enhance a presentation or make it really unbearable. The information below takes you through some tips to make your slides amazing. Check out this video from Seneca Libraries from 2014. 

Don't Let It Slide! Your visuals are important...

We’ve all seen bad PowerPoint slides…you know what I’m talking about…the ones that instantly make you want to either fall asleep or run screaming from the room! Sort of like this:


Source: A Truly Awful PowerPoint Presentation –


Please don’t use these…ever!

  • This type of slide creates something called Cognitive Overload (Fenesi, B., 2011; Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R., 2003).
  • Cognitive Overload happens because your brain can either read text or listen to someone talking, it can’t do both and do them well.
  • Your brain will automatically decide “I choose to read the slide and ignore the presenter” or “I choose to listen to the presenter and ignore the slide”.
  • What your brain can do REALLY well is process images. In fact, your brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text! So your brain will automatically think “I am listening to the presenter and watching images that are reinforcing what the presenter is saying, wow are they ever a smart presenter!” Or something like that…
  • Slides should animate and support what you are saying because you are the star of the show, not your slides.


So instead of creating a slide like this:

You could create a slide like this:


Tips to keep in mind: 

  1. Make your graphics prominent, and meaningful.
  2. Use very little text.
  3. Use new fonts – you aren’t limited to Ariel or Calibri (just make sure they are embedded in your file)
  4. Don’t use bulleted text or any other PowerPoint template.
  5. Use animation sparingly and smartly, it’s meant to highlight not dominate.

Having an Awesome Presence

Good slides are nothing without a charismatic delivery. So many brilliant and fascinating presentations are sabotaged by poor presentation skills. Can you imagine professors reading their lectures to you? It happens far, far too often.

Step 1: Watch the video

Examples of awesome presence:


Step 2: Explore an example

Watch a couple of minutes of this presentation, don't worry you don't have to watch the whole thing!

While watching think about her presence and her graphics. Consider these questions:

  • Was she prepared?

  • Voice - speed, volume

  • What could have improved her presence?

  • Were slides easy to read?

  • Did the visuals match what was being said?

  • What could have improved her slides?

Check out Jane McGonigal's TED Talk from 2010.


This tutorial is based on the original Present Awesomely workshop created for the Seneca Sandbox by Jennifer  Peters and Ewan Gibson


Unless otherwise stated, the material in this guide is from the Learning Portal created by College Libraries Ontario. Content has been adapted for the NWP Learning Commons in May 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License.

All icons on these pages are from The Noun Project. See individual icons for creator attribution.