Organizing an Oral Presentation


  • Outline the requirements of the assignment
    • Compare these with the interests of the audience
  • identify the audience characteristics and knowledge base:
    • your introduction covers mutual ground as a starting point (gets them on the "same page")
    • from this introduction, lay down your "thesis" to let them know where you are going
    • then proceed with argument
  • Narrow your presentation's topic, considering the above; to only a few main ideas
  • Practice by rehearsing the presentation, recording it, or reciting it to a few friends

Techniques of delivery:

  • Put your audience at ease with a relevant anecdote or joke,
    or get their attention with a dramatic gesture or event...
  • Use personal pronouns in your delivery;
  • Make eye contact with the audience;
  • Present your report with a conversational voice though vary it for emphasis;
  • Use transitions to signal the audience you're moving to a new idea;
  • Direct questions to your audience to get them more involved;
  • Conclude by summing up your main ideas, points, or arguments;
  • Leave time for questions, and invite feedback on
    • the content (un-addressed, related ideas)
    • the conclusions
    • your manner of presentation

Using visual aids or media:

  • Call early and make sure hardware is compatible with your software;
    and software versions of your documents are compatible with versions of their software;
  • Come early and make sure everything works and that any media (audio, visual, computer) can be seen, heard, understood by all;
  • Keep all visual materials simple in large text for visibility;
  • Have supportive materials for each idea;
  • Do not distribute handouts, even outlines, before your speech (or the audience will focus on the reading material instead of listening to you).