Self-presentation: focus, structure, interaction and visualisation

Professional skills courses

Course information

Number of sessions: 3
Hours per session: 4
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • € 525,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information.


Telephone: +31 10 4082607 (Graduate School)

In the academic year 2022-2023 this course will take place offline. For the exact location see course dates below.

Edition 1 (offline)

Session 1, Location Van der Goot, M1-16 (Heidelberg)
November 30 2022

Session 2, Location Van der Goot, M3-03 (Aberdeen)
December 7 2022

Session 3, Van der Goot, M1-16 (Heidelberg)
December 14 2022

Edition 2 (offline)

Session 1 
May 8 2023

Session 2
May 15 2023

Session 3 
May 22 2023


Nonetheless of how good you are in presenting, as soon as you step in front of an audience something inside you tends to change. It seems like you’re not completely yourself: your brain is not as quick as you would like it to be, you lack control, are unfocussed at times and/or start to talk faster without pausing. It might even be that you have nerves, moments of panic or black-outs that make presenting into something you’d rather avoid. 

During this three day course we will look into your natural way of doing and try to bring that to the stage, helping you to feel more relaxed and focused when interacting with your audience. 

We will have discussions about presenting and you will get lots of practice in order to develop a toolbox of techniques that will help you to become a better presenter. This course enables you to present yourself as who you are and nothing else, in front of whatever group, with a good feeling, with flair, persuasion and control. Final result: a presentation everyone will remember.

Working method

The workshop uses the following formats:  

  • Discussions on the topic of self-presentation;
  • Presentations and physical exercises;
  • Feedback on self-presentation;
  • Take-home assignments. 

A lot of the exercises make use of gamification, making it fun to learn.

Learning objectives

During this 3-day course, you will learn how to reduce your nerves and/or perfect your presenting style using the 4 Focus technique, the Active Speech technique and the Barbara Minto pyramid principle. You will learn how to:

  • Use different introduction styles (“Why you should listen to me”);
  • Use the Barbara Minto Pyramid Principle: Content prioritisation and structure (homework);
  • Design your slides: Slides as a springboard for your story (homework);
  • Prepare for your presentation: Focus improvement and nerve reduction;
  • Effectively transfer your information: Silence, body placement and posture;
  • Use different styles to make your speech active: Float, Glide, Land, Flick;
  • Tell your story with the help of 4 focus points: Audience, Slide, Hands, Virtual.

Suitable for

The course is suitable for all PhD candidates. No specific knowledge or experience is required to participate in the course.

Preparatory assignment

In advance of the first course session you will be require to prepare an assignment, which will be forwarded well in advance of the first session. 

Session descriptions

Session 1

  • Getting control over your stress and getting focus
  • Exploring ways to pitch or introduce
  • Using eye contact to connect with your audience

Session 2

  • Using 4 focus points: Audience, Slide, Hands, Imagination
  • Using your body to shift focus

Session 3

  • Managing your audience
  • Body placement to keep the attention
  • Dealing with interruptions from the audience

About the instructor

While studying applied physics at the TU-Delft, Gerben Tuin also practiced the art of theatre. He finished his studies and then decided to become a professional actor. By combining the knowledge he gained in theatre with the world of presenting he developed the 4 Focus technique and the Active Speech framework

His method is not only useful for presenting in front of large groups, but also makes you aware of who you are, as a presenter of yourself and your work in daily life: your self-presentation. Currently Gerben works as an actor, director, (script-)writer and presentation coach.