Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

7.6.2 Present information effectively

Organise your data so that you can use it to illustrate and support your arguments or point of view. To do this successfully you must be clear about what you want to say, who is your intended audience, and what points you want your audience to understand. Think about the most appropriate way to present your findings, and whether particular types of charts, graphs or diagrams will bring out the relationships you want to demonstrate. Choosing graph axes carefully (for example using non-linear scales), or using specialised forms of diagrams (for example in engineering applications) may help you to present your data more effectively.

Time out

Be clear who your intended audience is and select your information, style of presentation and language accordingly.

Ensure that any illustrations, graphs, diagrams and charts are correctly labelled and that you have met any particular requirements for presentations. Remember to proofread your own work to check that it makes sense, that the information you have included is accurate and relevant, and that you have included references or acknowledgements to the sources you have used.

Time out

Remember to record fully all references to any information sources as you use them so that you can find them again, and cite them accurately in your presentation so that others will be able to find them.

Check that your intended approach follows accepted conventions, and find out what guidelines or advice are available to you. If you are bringing information together in a single document or presentation, ensure that fonts, layout, number formats, sizes and shapes of graphs, images and tables are consistent and in acceptable styles.

Asking others to read, listen to and comment on the presentation of your results can give you important feedback on your work. Think about who you can ask to provide you with constructive criticism and helpful comments. To help others comment effectively, be clear about what you want them to focus on, such as technical detail, accuracy of content, quality of argument, general structure, grammar and spelling, presentation of results and so on. Decide how you will present your work to them for their feedback.

Time out

Make notes of any feedback, comments and suggestions, and record how you intend to address them.