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What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation
- Carmine Gallo
Five tips to set yourself apart.
Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization. But while there are plenty of good speakers in the world, you can set yourself apart out by being the person who can deliver something great over and over. Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired together are more memorable); don’t underestimate the power of your voice (raise and lower it for emphasis); give your audience something extra (unexpected moments will grab their attention); rehearse (the best speakers are the best because they practice — a lot).
I was sitting across the table from a Silicon Valley CEO who had pioneered a technology that touches many of our lives — the flash memory that stores data on smartphones, digital cameras, and computers. He was a frequent guest on CNBC and had been delivering business presentations for at least 20 years before we met. And yet, the CEO wanted to sharpen his public speaking skills.
- Carmine Gallo is a Harvard University instructor, keynote speaker, and author of 10 books translated into 40 languages. Gallo is the author of The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman (St. Martin’s Press).
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How to prepare and deliver an effective oral presentation
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- Peer review
- Lucia Hartigan , registrar 1 ,
- Fionnuala Mone , fellow in maternal fetal medicine 1 ,
- Mary Higgins , consultant obstetrician 2
- 1 National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
- 2 National Maternity Hospital, Dublin; Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medicine and Medical Sciences, University College Dublin
The success of an oral presentation lies in the speaker’s ability to transmit information to the audience. Lucia Hartigan and colleagues describe what they have learnt about delivering an effective scientific oral presentation from their own experiences, and their mistakes
The objective of an oral presentation is to portray large amounts of often complex information in a clear, bite sized fashion. Although some of the success lies in the content, the rest lies in the speaker’s skills in transmitting the information to the audience. 1
It is important to be as well prepared as possible. Look at the venue in person, and find out the time allowed for your presentation and for questions, and the size of the audience and their backgrounds, which will allow the presentation to be pitched at the appropriate level.
See what the ambience and temperature are like and check that the format of your presentation is compatible with the available computer. This is particularly important when embedding videos. Before you begin, look at the video on stand-by and make sure the lights are dimmed and the speakers are functioning.
For visual aids, Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Mac Keynote programmes are usual, although Prezi is increasing in popularity. Save the presentation on a USB stick, with email or cloud storage backup to avoid last minute disasters.
When preparing the presentation, start with an opening slide containing the title of the study, your name, and the date. Begin by addressing and thanking the audience and the organisation that has invited you to speak. Typically, the format includes background, study aims, methodology, results, strengths and weaknesses of the study, and conclusions.
If the study takes a lecturing format, consider including “any questions?” on a slide before you conclude, which will allow the audience to remember the take home messages. Ideally, the audience should remember three of the main points from the presentation. 2
Have a maximum of four short points per slide. If you can display something as a diagram, video, or a graph, use this instead of text and talk around it.
Animation is available in both Microsoft PowerPoint and the Apple Mac Keynote programme, and its use in presentations has been demonstrated to assist in the retention and recall of facts. 3 Do not overuse it, though, as it could make you appear unprofessional. If you show a video or diagram don’t just sit back—use a laser pointer to explain what is happening.
Rehearse your presentation in front of at least one person. Request feedback and amend accordingly. If possible, practise in the venue itself so things will not be unfamiliar on the day. If you appear comfortable, the audience will feel comfortable. Ask colleagues and seniors what questions they would ask and prepare responses to these questions.
It is important to dress appropriately, stand up straight, and project your voice towards the back of the room. Practise using a microphone, or any other presentation aids, in advance. If you don’t have your own presenting style, think of the style of inspirational scientific speakers you have seen and imitate it.
Try to present slides at the rate of around one slide a minute. If you talk too much, you will lose your audience’s attention. The slides or videos should be an adjunct to your presentation, so do not hide behind them, and be proud of the work you are presenting. You should avoid reading the wording on the slides, but instead talk around the content on them.
Maintain eye contact with the audience and remember to smile and pause after each comment, giving your nerves time to settle. Speak slowly and concisely, highlighting key points.
Do not assume that the audience is completely familiar with the topic you are passionate about, but don’t patronise them either. Use every presentation as an opportunity to teach, even your seniors. The information you are presenting may be new to them, but it is always important to know your audience’s background. You can then ensure you do not patronise world experts.
To maintain the audience’s attention, vary the tone and inflection of your voice. If appropriate, use humour, though you should run any comments or jokes past others beforehand and make sure they are culturally appropriate. Check every now and again that the audience is following and offer them the opportunity to ask questions.
Finishing up is the most important part, as this is when you send your take home message with the audience. Slow down, even though time is important at this stage. Conclude with the three key points from the study and leave the slide up for a further few seconds. Do not ramble on. Give the audience a chance to digest the presentation. Conclude by acknowledging those who assisted you in the study, and thank the audience and organisation. If you are presenting in North America, it is usual practice to conclude with an image of the team. If you wish to show references, insert a text box on the appropriate slide with the primary author, year, and paper, although this is not always required.
Answering questions can often feel like the most daunting part, but don’t look upon this as negative. Assume that the audience has listened and is interested in your research. Listen carefully, and if you are unsure about what someone is saying, ask for the question to be rephrased. Thank the audience member for asking the question and keep responses brief and concise. If you are unsure of the answer you can say that the questioner has raised an interesting point that you will have to investigate further. Have someone in the audience who will write down the questions for you, and remember that this is effectively free peer review.
Be proud of your achievements and try to do justice to the work that you and the rest of your group have done. You deserve to be up on that stage, so show off what you have achieved.
Competing interests: We have read and understood the BMJ Group policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: None.
- ↵ Rovira A, Auger C, Naidich TP. How to prepare an oral presentation and a conference. Radiologica 2013 ; 55 (suppl 1): 2 -7S. OpenUrl
- ↵ Bourne PE. Ten simple rules for making good oral presentations. PLos Comput Biol 2007 ; 3 : e77 . OpenUrl PubMed
- ↵ Naqvi SH, Mobasher F, Afzal MA, Umair M, Kohli AN, Bukhari MH. Effectiveness of teaching methods in a medical institute: perceptions of medical students to teaching aids. J Pak Med Assoc 2013 ; 63 : 859 -64. OpenUrl
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How to Do an Oral Presentation
Last Updated: October 4, 2023
This article was co-authored by Vikas Agrawal . Vikas Agrawal is a Visual Content Marketing Expert & Entrepreneur, as well as the Founder of Full Service Creative Agency Infobrandz. With over 10 years of experience, he specializes in designing visually engaging content, such as infographics, videos, and e-books. He’s an expert in Making content marketing strategies and has contributed to and been featured in many publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and INC.com. This article has been viewed 45,186 times.
The power of words can control the thoughts, emotions and the decisions of others. Giving an oral presentation can be a challenge, but with the right plan and delivery, you can move an entire audience in your favor.
Researching Your Presentation
- If speaking about the effect of junk food on an adult’s mind, include the increase of serotonin, a happiness hormone. Then inform the audience how fast the hormone drastically depletes to give out worse feelings. This gives the perspective that even the advantages of junk food are outweighed by the negative effects.
Writing Your Script
- Make sure to begin each argument with a clear description of the content such as. "The result of eating junk food has increased negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem". This gives the audience a quick outlook of what the argument is about. Always remember to state how the argument relates and supports the topic question.
- If necessary, this is where you could include, "My name is ___ and I will be speaking about the effect on junk food on our minds." Then you include a brief out view of each argument you will be speaking about. Do not include any information about your arguments in the introduction.
- Some example concluding sentences include, "The entire process of the mind, changed by a simple bite of a cookie. Our entire body's control system, defined by our choices of food. The definite truth. You are what you eat."
Practicing and Performing
- Taking the effort to memorize your script allows you to keep eye contact with the audience and brings confidence to your speech. Reading from an entire script can easily cause you to lose your place and stutter. Also make sure they are the same size and only put important key words or those that are hard to remember. This allows you to easily flip through and read off the cue cards.
What Is The Best Way To Start a Presentation? . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Watch online speeches to get an idea of how to tone your presentation. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Research persuasive language techniques. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Always record yourself for time and clarity of voice. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ http://tutorials.istudy.psu.edu/oralpresentations/oralpresentations3.html
- ↑ https://www.princeton.edu/~archss/webpdfs08/BaharMartonosi.pdf
- ↑ https://education.seattlepi.com/give-good-speech-presentations-college-1147.html
- ↑ http://blog.online.colostate.edu/blog/online-education/presentation-tips-for-college-students/
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What Are Effective Presentation Skills (and How to Improve Them)
Presentation skills are essential for your personal and professional life. Learn about effective presentations and how to boost your presenting techniques.
At least seven out of 10 Americans agree that presentation skills are essential for a successful career [ 1 ]. Although it might be tempting to think that these are skills reserved for people interested in public speaking roles, they're critical in a diverse range of jobs. For example, you might need to brief your supervisor on research results.
Presentation skills are also essential in other scenarios, including working with a team and explaining your thought process, walking clients through project ideas and timelines, and highlighting your strengths and achievements to your manager during performance reviews.
Whatever the scenario, you have very little time to capture your audience’s attention and get your point across when presenting information—about three seconds, according to research [ 2 ]. Effective presentation skills help you get your point across and connect with the people you’re communicating with, which is why nearly every employer requires them.
Understanding what presentation skills are is only half the battle. Honing your presenting techniques is essential for mastering presentations of all kinds and in all settings.
What are presentation skills?
Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images.
You'll make presentations at various times in your life. Examples include:
Making speeches at a wedding, conference, or another event
Making a toast at a dinner or event
Explaining projects to a team
Delivering results and findings to management teams
Teaching people specific methods or information
Proposing a vote at community group meetings
Pitching a new idea or business to potential partners or investors
Why are presentation skills important?
Delivering effective presentations is critical in your professional and personal life. You’ll need to hone your presentation skills in various areas, such as when giving a speech, convincing your partner to make a substantial purchase, and talking to friends and family about an important situation.
No matter if you’re using them in a personal or professional setting, these are the skills that make it easier and more effective to convey your ideas, convince or persuade others, and experience success. A few of the benefits that often accompany improving your presentation skills include:
Enriched written and verbal communication skills
Enhanced confidence and self-image
Boosted critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities
Better motivational techniques
Increased leadership skills
Expanded time management, negotiation, and creativity
The better your presenting techniques, the more engaging your presentations will be. You could also have greater opportunities to make positive impacts in business and other areas of your life.
Effective presentation skills
Imagine yourself in the audience at a TED Talk or sitting with your coworkers at a big meeting held by your employer. What would you be looking for in how they deliver their message? What would make you feel engaged?
These are a few questions to ask yourself as you review this list of some of the most effective presentation skills.
How you use language and deliver messages play essential roles in how your audience will receive your presentation. Speak clearly and confidently, projecting your voice enough to ensure everyone can hear. Think before you speak, pausing when necessary and tailoring the way you talk to resonate with your particular audience.
Body language combines various critical elements, including posture, gestures, eye contact, expressions, and position in front of the audience. Body language is one of the elements that can instantly transform a presentation that would otherwise be dull into one that's dynamic and interesting.
The ability to project your voice improves your presentation by allowing your audience to hear what you're saying. It also increases your confidence to help settle any lingering nerves while also making your message more engaging. To project your voice, stand comfortably with your shoulders back. Take deep breaths to power your speaking voice and ensure you enunciate every syllable you speak.
How you present yourself plays a role in your body language and ability to project your voice. It also sets the tone for the presentation. Avoid slouching or looking overly tense. Instead, remain open, upright, and adaptable while taking the formality of the occasion into account.
Incorporating storytelling into a presentation is an effective strategy used by many powerful public speakers. It has the power to bring your subject to life and pique the audience’s curiosity. Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story, slowly building up suspense or adding a dramatic moment. And, of course, be sure to end with a positive takeaway to drive your point home.
Active listening is a valuable skill all on its own. When you understand and thoughtfully respond to what you hear—whether it's in a conversation or during a presentation—you’ll likely deepen your personal relationships and actively engage audiences during a presentation. As part of your presentation skill set, it helps catch and maintain the audience’s attention, helping them remain focused while minimizing passive response, ensuring the message is delivered correctly, and encouraging a call to action.
During a presentation, projecting confidence can help keep your audience engaged. Stage presence can help you connect with your audience and encourage them to want to watch you. To improve your presence, try amping up your normal demeanor by infusing it with a bit of enthusiasm. Project confidence and keep your information interesting.
Watch your audience as you’re presenting. If you’re holding their attention, it likely means you’re connecting well with them.
Monitoring your own emotions and reactions will allow you to react well in various situations. It helps you remain personable throughout your presentation and handle feedback well. Self-awareness can help soothe nervousness during presentations, allowing you to perform more effectively.
Writing is a form of presentation. Sharp writing skills can help you master your presentation’s outline to ensure you stay on message and remain clear about your objectives from the beginning until the end. It’s also helpful to have strong writing abilities for creating compelling slides and other visual aids.
Understanding an audience
When you understand your audience's needs and interests, you can design your presentation around them. In turn, you'll deliver maximum value to them and enhance your ability to make your message easy to understand.
Learn more about presentation skills from industry experts at SAP:
How to improve presentation skills
There’s an art to public speaking. Just like any other type of art, this is one that requires practice. Improving your presentation skills will help reduce miscommunications, enhance your time management capabilities, and boost your leadership skills. Here are some ways you can improve these skills:
Work on self-confidence.
When you’re confident, you naturally speak more clearly and with more authority. Taking the time to prepare your presentation with a strong opening and compelling visual aids can help you feel more confident. Other ways to improve your self-confidence include practicing positive self-talk, surrounding yourself with positive people, and avoiding comparing yourself (or your presentation) to others.
Develop strategies for overcoming fear.
Many people are nervous or fearful before giving a presentation. A bad memory of a past performance or insufficient self-confidence can contribute to fear and anxiety. Having a few go-to strategies like deep breathing, practicing your presentation, and grounding can help you transform that fear into extra energy to put into your stage presence.
Learn grounding techniques.
Grounding is any type of technique that helps you steer your focus away from distressing thoughts and keeps you connected with your present self. To ground yourself, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and imagine you’re a large, mature tree with roots extending deep into the earth—like the tree, you can become unshakable.
Learn how to use presentation tools.
Visual aids and other technical support can transform an otherwise good presentation into a wow-worthy one. A few popular presentation tools include:
Canva: Provides easy-to-design templates you can customize
Powtoon: Animation software that makes video creation fast and easy
PowerPoint: Microsoft's iconic program popular for dynamic marketing and sales presentations
Practice breathing techniques.
Breathing techniques can help quell anxiety, making it easier to shake off pre-presentation jitters and nerves. It also helps relax your muscles and get more oxygen to your brain. For some pre-presentation calmness, you can take deep breaths, slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
While presenting, breathe in through your mouth with the back of your tongue relaxed so your audience doesn't hear a gasping sound. Speak on your exhalation, maintaining a smooth voice.
The more you practice, the better you’ll become. The more you doanything, the more comfortable you’ll feel engaging in that activity. Presentations are no different. Repeatedly practicing your own presentation also offers the opportunity to get feedback from other people and tweak your style and content as needed.
Tips to help you ace your presentation
Your presentation isn’t about you; it’s about the material you’re presenting. Sometimes, reminding yourself of this ahead of taking center stage can help take you out of your head, allowing you to connect effectively with your audience. The following are some of the many actions you can take on the day of your presentation.
Since you may have a bit of presentation-related anxiety, it’s important to avoid adding travel stress. Give yourself an abundance of time to arrive at your destination, and take into account heavy traffic and other unforeseen events. By arriving early, you also give yourself time to meet with any on-site technicians, test your equipment, and connect with people ahead of the presentation.
Become familiar with the layout of the room.
Arriving early also gives you time to assess the room and figure out where you want to stand. Experiment with the acoustics to determine how loudly you need to project your voice, and test your equipment to make sure everything connects and appears properly with the available setup. This is an excellent opportunity to work out any last-minute concerns and move around to familiarize yourself with the setting for improved stage presence.
Listen to presenters ahead of you.
When you watch others present, you'll get a feel for the room's acoustics and lighting. You can also listen for any data that’s relevant to your presentation and revisit it during your presentation—this can make the presentation more interactive and engaging.
Use note cards.
Writing yourself a script could provide you with more comfort. To prevent sounding too robotic or disengaged, only include talking points in your note cards in case you get off track. Using note cards can help keep your presentation organized while sounding more authentic to your audience.
Learn to deliver clear and confident presentations with Dynamic Public Speaking from the University of Washington. Build confidence, develop new delivery techniques, and practice strategies for crafting compelling presentations for different purposes, occasions, and audiences.
Forbes. “ New Survey: 70% Say Presentation Skills are Critical for Career Success , https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/09/25/new-survey-70-percent-say-presentation-skills-critical-for-career-success/?sh=619f3ff78890.” Accessed December 7, 2022.
Beautiful.ai. “ 15 Presentation and Public Speaking Stats You Need to Know , https://www.beautiful.ai/blog/15-presentation-and-public-speaking-stats-you-need-to-know. Accessed December 7, 2022.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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How to make a great presentation
Stressed about an upcoming presentation? These talks are full of helpful tips on how to get up in front of an audience and make a lasting impression.
The secret structure of great talks
The beauty of data visualization
TED's secret to great public speaking
How to speak so that people want to listen
How great leaders inspire action
Ten Steps to Preparing an Effective Oral Presentation
- Determine the purpose of your presentation and identify your own objectives.
- Know your audience and what it knows.
- Define your topic.
- Arrange your material in a way that makes sense for your objectives.
- Compose your presentation.
- Create visual aids.
- Practice your presentation (don’t forget to time it!)
- Make necessary adjustments.
- Analyze the room where you’ll be giving your presentation (set-up, sight lines, equipment, etc.).
- Practice again.
- ← Answering Questions
- Novice v. Expert Problem Solvers →
How To Write A Presentation 101: A Step-by-Step Guide with Best Examples
Jane Ng • 02 Nov 2023 • 8 min read
Is it difficult to start of presentation? You’re standing before a room full of eager listeners, ready to share your knowledge and captivate their attention. But where do you begin? How do you structure your ideas and convey them effectively?
Take a deep breath, and fear not! In this article, we’ll provide a road map on how to write a presentation covering everything from crafting a script to creating an engaging introduction.
So, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
What is a presentation , what should be in a powerful presentation.
- How To Write A Presentation Script
- How to Write A Presentation Introduction
Tips for better presentation.
- How to start a presentation
- How to introduce yourself
Start in seconds.
Get free templates for your next interactive presentation. Sign up for free and take what you want from the template library!
Presentations are all about connecting with your audience.
Presenting is a fantastic way to share information, ideas, or arguments with your audience. Think of it as a structured approach to effectively convey your message. And you’ve got options such as slideshows, speeches, demos, videos, and even multimedia presentations!
The purpose of a presentation can vary depending on the situation and what the presenter wants to achieve.
- In the business world, presentations are commonly used to pitch proposals, share reports, or make sales pitches.
- In educational settings, presentations are a go-to for teaching or delivering engaging lectures.
- For conferences, seminars, and public events—presentations are perfect for dishing out information, inspiring folks, or even persuading the audience.
That sounds brilliant. But, how to write a presentation?
How To Write A Presentation? What should be in a powerful presentation? A great presentation encompasses several key elements to captivate your audience and effectively convey your message. Here’s what you should consider including in a winning presentation:
- Clear and Engaging Introduction: Start your presentation with a bang! Hook your audience’s attention right from the beginning by using a captivating story, a surprising fact, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful quote. Clearly state the purpose of your presentation and establish a connection with your listeners.
- Well-Structured Content: Organize your content logically and coherently. Divide your presentation into sections or main points and provide smooth transitions between them. Each section should flow seamlessly into the next, creating a cohesive narrative. Use clear headings and subheadings to guide your audience through the presentation.
- Compelling Visuals: Incorporate visual aids, such as images, graphs, or videos, to enhance your presentation. Make sure your visuals are visually appealing, relevant, and easy to understand. Use a clean and uncluttered design with legible fonts and appropriate color schemes.
- Engaging Delivery: Pay attention to your delivery style and body language. You should maintain eye contact with your audience, use gestures to emphasize key points, and vary your tone of voice to keep the presentation dynamic.
- Clear and Memorable Conclusion: Leave your audience with a lasting impression by providing a strong closing statement, a call to action, or a thought-provoking question. Make sure your conclusion ties back to your introduction and reinforces the core message of your presentation.
How To Write A Presentation Script (With Examples)
To successfully convey your message to your audience, you must carefully craft and organize your presentation script. Here are steps on how to write a presentation script:
1/ Understand Your Purpose and Audience:
- Clarify the purpose of your presentation. Are you informing, persuading, or entertaining?
- Identify your target audience and their knowledge level, interests, and expectations.
- Define what presentation format you want to use
2/ Outline the Structure of Your Presentation:
Strong opening: .
Start with an engaging opening that grabs the audience’s attention and introduces your topic. Some types of openings you can use are:
- Start with a Thought-Provoking Question: “Have you ever…?”
- Begin with a Surprising Fact or Statistic: “Did you know that….?”
- Use a Powerful Quote: “As Maya Angelou once said,….”
- Tell a Compelling Story : “Picture this: You’re standing at….”
- Start with a Bold Statement: “In the fast-paced digital age….”
Clearly state your main points or key ideas that you will discuss throughout the presentation.
- Clearly State the Purpose and Main Points: Example: “In this presentation, we will delve into three key areas. First,… Next,… Finally,…. we’ll discuss….”
- Provide Background and Context: Example: “Before we dive into the details, let’s understand the basics of…..”
- Present Supporting Information and Examples: Example: “To illustrate…., let’s look at an example. In,…..”
- Address Counterarguments or Potential Concerns: Example: “While…, we must also consider… .”
- Recap Key Points and Transition to the Next Section: Example: “To summarize, we’ve… Now, let’s shift our focus to…”
Remember to organize your content logically and coherently, ensuring smooth transitions between sections.
You can conclude with a strong closing statement summarizing your main points and leaving a lasting impression. Example: “As we conclude our presentation, it’s clear that… By…., we can….”
3/ Craft Clear and Concise Sentences:
Once you’ve outlined your presentation, you need to edit your sentences. Use clear and straightforward language to ensure your message is easily understood.
Alternatively, you can break down complex ideas into simpler concepts and provide clear explanations or examples to aid comprehension.
4/ Use Visual Aids and Supporting Materials:
Use supporting materials such as statistics, research findings, or real-life examples to back up your points and make them more compelling.
- Example: “As you can see from this graph,… This demonstrates….”
5/ Include Engagement Techniques:
Incorporate interactive elements to engage your audience, such as Q&A sessions , conducting live polls , or encouraging participation.
6/ Rehearse and Revise:
- Practice delivering your presentation script to familiarize yourself with the content and improve your delivery.
- Revise and edit your script as needed, removing any unnecessary information or repetitions.
7/ Seek Feedback:
You can share your script or deliver a practice presentation to a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor to gather feedback on your script and make adjustments accordingly.
More on Script Presentation
How to Write A Presentation Introduction with Examples
How to write presentations that are engaging and visually appealing? Looking for introduction ideas for the presentation? As mentioned earlier, once you have completed your script, it’s crucial to focus on editing and refining the most critical element—the opening of your presentation – the section that determines whether you can captivate and retain your audience’s attention right from the start.
Here is a guide on how to craft an opening that grabs your audience’s attention from the very first minute:
1/ Start with a Hook
To begin, you can choose from five different openings mentioned in the script based on your desired purpose and content. Alternatively, you can opt for the approach that resonates with you the most, and instills your confidence. Remember, the key is to choose a starting point that aligns with your objectives and allows you to deliver your message effectively.
2/ Establish Relevance and Context:
Then you should establish the topic of your presentation and explain why it is important or relevant to your audience. Connect the topic to their interests, challenges, or aspirations to create a sense of relevance.
3/ State the Purpose
Clearly articulate the purpose or goal of your presentation. Let the audience know what they can expect to gain or achieve by listening to your presentation.
4/ Preview Your Main Points
Give a brief overview of the main points or sections you will cover in your presentation. It helps the audience understand the structure and flow of your presentation and creates anticipation.
5/ Establish Credibility
Share your expertise or credentials related to the topic to build trust with the audience, such as a brief personal story, relevant experience, or mentioning your professional background.
6/ Engage Emotionally
Connect emotional levels with your audience by appealing to their aspirations, fears, desires, or values. They help create a deeper connection and engagement from the very beginning.
Make sure your introduction is concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary details or lengthy explanations. Aim for clarity and brevity to maintain the audience’s attention.
For example, Topic: Work-life balance
“Good morning, everyone! Can you imagine waking up each day feeling energized and ready to conquer both your personal and professional pursuits? Well, that’s exactly what we’ll explore today – the wonderful world of work-life balance. In a fast-paced society where work seems to consume every waking hour, it’s vital to find that spot where our careers and personal lives harmoniously coexist. Throughout this presentation, we’ll dive into practical strategies that help us achieve that coveted balance, boost productivity, and nurture our overall well-being.
But before we dive in, let me share a bit about my journey. As a working professional and a passionate advocate for work-life balance, I have spent years researching and implementing strategies that have transformed my own life. I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you today, with the hope of inspiring positive change and creating a more fulfilling work-life balance for everyone in this room. So, let’s get started!”
Check out: How to Start a Presentation?
Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or new to the stage, understanding how to write a presentation that conveys your message effectively is a valuable skill. By following the steps in this guide, you can become a captivating presenter and make your mark in every presentation you deliver.
Additionally, AhaSlides can significantly enhance your presentation’s impact. With AhaSlides, you can use live polls, quizzes, and word cloud to turn your presentation into an engaging and interactive experience. Let’s take a moment to explore our vast template library !
Frequently Asked Questions
1/ how to write a presentation step by step .
You can refer to our step-by-step guide on How To Write A Presentation Script:
- Understand Your Purpose and Audience
- Outline the Structure of Your Presentation
- Craft Clear and Concise Sentences
- Use Visual Aids and Supporting Material
- Include Engagement Techniques
- Rehearse and Revise
- Seek Feedback
2/ How do you start a presentation?
You can start with an engaging opening that grabs the audience’s attention and introduces your topic. Consider using one of the following approaches:
3/ What are the five parts of a presentation?
When it comes to presentation writing, a typical presentation consists of the following five parts:
- Introduction: Capturing the audience’s attention, introducing yourself, stating the purpose, and providing an overview.
- Main Body: Presenting main points, evidence, examples, and arguments.
- Visual Aids: Using visuals to enhance understanding and engage the audience.
- Conclusion: Summarizing main points, restating key message, and leaving a memorable takeaway or call to action.
- Q&A or Discussion: Optional part for addressing questions and encouraging audience participation.
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20 Tips For Preparing An Effective Oral Presentation
Don’t mind the informal me, I just seem to love that ‘down-to-earthness’ – I personally believe that such disposition is a better facilitator of effective communication.
Without much ado, I am going to share with you some ideas on what I can safely call most people’s nightmare (next to examinations, of course) – An oral presentation.
Organizations and other platforms have also come to discover the essence of an effective oral presentation. How it can move an employee from a zero state of mind to an excited state of mind after a brief but powerful presentation.
Businesses are not left out too as it has become a core value that has to be portrayed to convince potential clients about a business idea.
Read this: How to manage your time effectively
Essentially, oral presentations are nothing to be scared of.
They add some kind of depth to the learning experience.
Not having this depth is what we should be scared of. Self-expression is just one of the core pillars of assessing how much and how well a student or presenter has assimilated the content of instructional material.
Overall, some of the most faced challenges associated with oral presentations are content and stage management which shall be discussed broadly here.
Whether you are a student, employee, professional or businessman , you sure need this skill to make a good impression.
Enjoy these tips, internalize them and start putting them into good practice. At the end of this write-up, you will discover the peculiar challenges of stage fright, how to deal with it and a few tidbits on presentation etiquette.
1. Know the content
Nothing breeds confidence like competence and nothing breeds competence like preparation . Being vast in and thoroughly familiar with whatever the subject of a presentation will, in no small way, reinforce your sense of having something genuinely interesting to offer.
With this in place, the presentation ceases to be a mere talk or some kind of recital. It indeed becomes an active engagement of the audience on a journey of discovery. All you need do is just visualize yourself as a tour guide or a curator in a museum.
All you need do is to relate antecedents, history, origins, facts, figures and aspects of the subject matter in such a way as to stimulate their imagination.
You lead the audience on, not exactly projecting yourself but helping them see what needs to be seen. You wouldn’t want to go to the stage and destroy the expectations of people eagerly waiting to listen to you.
2. Define the purpose of the presentation
A presentation isn’t just a list of random facts. It makes a specific point, just like laboratory reports or essays.
Without a clear purpose in mind, your presentation will most likely be a jumble of unorganized factual information, putting your audience in the dark about your true intent.
What is the most important message you want to convey to the audience? Consider this to be the idea or theme of your presentation.
Your presentation’s goal(s) could include, but are not restricted to, trying to inform, inspire, or persuade.
Remember that what you say as well as how you say it must be consistent with the presentation’s goal.
3. Be natural
The mistake a lot of presenters make is thinking that great presentations are all about big vocabulary and sophisticated terms.
May I indulge you in a different perspective – great presentations are all about presentations done in the most natural way. Be calm, relax and flow effortlessly .
Do your presentations like they are your daily routines. Help your audience feel like – “yes, I agree with what he is talking about”.
Rather than trying to charm the audience with a sophisticated style, be more committed to capturing their imagination through simple cues and vivid expressions.
There is a child in everyone, no matter how old. If possible, add a little humour here and there but try not to overdo it. Ensure you stay on track.
Read this: How to ask questions smartly
4. Invoke curiosity
This aspect is what makes your audience hooked until the end of your presentation. They want to know where you are headed. They can’t risk being distracted until you finish. All you need do is reawaken that curious infant in the brief moment of your presentation.
It is for this reason that presentations adopt visual aids and graphical tools. The world-famous PowerPoint computer application also goes hand in hand with projectors – large screens for a clearer, broader view.
Where else is such pervasive attention given to pictures and descriptive tools apart from a kindergarten? Such applications show that there is a childlike nature in every man. Invoke it!
Read: How To Celebrate Failure For Success
5. Get your audience involved
Get your audience involved in your presentation. Don’t stand behind a lectern all through, tale a brisk, confident walk and project your words into the minds of your audience. Don’t let the lectern come in between you and the audience.
Try to get your audience out of their seats, laughing, raising hands or even standing by your side to make an analysis. Getting your audience to laugh is not as difficult as you might think. For example, you might try, “Ladies and gentlemen, I was told to announce something very critical to the success of today’s event. Even though I don’t think it’s my place to begin my presentation with an announcement that has nothing to do with my topic.”
“Anyway, I’ve been asked to tell you that in the event that you laugh too hard, don’t cause a stampede or fart too loud.” 😆
Get free tips and tricks that will help you to achieve success faster 😉
If you can request a cordless lavaliere mic, pls do, so that you can be as flexible with your hands as possible. A handheld mic might become tiring if your presentation takes a while.
Your audience will only remember 30% of what they hear & see but 70% of what they do will stick to them forever.
7. Project your words
Two things that can make your projection so vivid and impactful are a clear voice and clarity of communication. Try to emphasize the last sound of each word which will help you to sound very polished. This may sound odd to you when you start but eventually sound normal as you get used to it.
8. Take a pause
I cannot stress this enough. Take your time to pause! It kinda helps your audience to brainstorm, evaluate and re-evaluate. You shouldn’t say more than six to eight words at a time without a pause. As longer sentences reduce readability, longer spoken words also reduce absorption.
Use a full voice, then pause. Think of great speakers that utilized a full voice and paused. They did efficiently well. Such presentations drop some value within you.
9. Use acronyms
After you have written all the words on index cards, try to think of an acronym or Slang abbreviation that has every point you want to talk about. Use this strategy to keep your presentation in order.
For example, you may have written on a marriage/relationship index card – ask, support, kiss . Think of the first letter in each word and arrange them to ASK or any other word of your choice.
ASK will keep you on track this way:
A – Ask what he thinks
S – Support his opinion first
K – Kiss him when the discussion ends
You must have practised what you will say about each word beforehand. You will only use the acronym to keep track which the audience has no clue about. They will only think you are so perfect! If your oral presentation takes time and involves longer acronyms, you could keep your index card(s) on you just in case you get lost.
10. Give life to figures
The best way to do this is to put a ‘Point’ of mind-gripping information (pictures, graphs, a phrase or table, flow charts, diagrams or a statistic) on some slides and speaking to them.
While the audience is fixated on that slide, all you need do is try to make them see the aspects of the slides that are hidden. Hence, you help to make their imagination make up for the rest of the story.
Such information is alike in features such as introduction, plot build-up, themes climax/anticlimax, a hero and his trials/triumph and so on.
And like a good storyteller or the mythical Pied Piper, the story or the music as the case is, becomes the object of the audience’s attention. The presenter is merely an intermediary.
11. Face the object
Sure, it is not bad to feel weird for a moment. Gain your confidence back by becoming the audience for a moment.
Face the presentation with your hands towards the slide, board or what have you? Making this brief move takes a whole lot of burden off as you see that you do not have to be the audience’s object of attention for a while.
You can use this moment to stealthily move from your weak points to your strong points as you gain your confidence back .
Not all presentations have to be a serious one looking like a board meeting. It doesn’t have to be a brainstorming session to close a million-dollar deal. Smile if you can.
In fact, you should smile. It will reduce any pressure you might be feeling. You never know how powerful a smile can be until you smile at a confused child who looks at you and then returns the smile.
While you smile, make good eye contact with them and gesticulate as often as possible. This will create a good impression on your audience and make them connect with you easily.
Read this: Amazing facts about your handwriting
13. Intrigue them with stories
Whether it’s a story your grandfather told you or a story you learnt while growing up, people would love to listen. Stories are interesting ways to give your audience a light mood.
Who doesn’t like the taste of a little icing on the cake or peanuts in the chocolate? Just something a little bit different to ease the whole seriousness of the atmosphere.
Professional speakers are becoming professional storytellers , primarily stories about themselves or someone they know so well . If you can tell a story about each word or topic on your cards or slides, your speech will have a better flow.
14. Take corrections politely
One mistake people do is to try to show that they know better than their judges.
Judges, examiners, instructors or even a member of your audience can come into your presentation abruptly. Prepare your mind ahead for this and don’t fidget.
A simple “Noted, sir” “sorry, I skipped that” or “thanks for the feedback” would go a long way in determining your final presentation score.
Be courteous and mindful of harsh emotions as you face arguments or opposition. A wrong approach in dealing with this can ruin everything you have started. So be cool with everyone.
As a matter of fact, who you are and who the audience perceives you to be is a measure of the weight of your words.
Hence, it is safer to use universally acceptable codes of conduct and principles of etiquette that will put you in the good graces of the audience.
15. Define your target audience
The audience’s reaction is the only way to judge a good presentation. What do they currently know about your subject matter?
What are their perceptions about your subject matter: will they accept whatever you say, or will you have to persuade them to change their views? Do they have a good command of the English language?
An effective oral presentation requires much more than simply presenting your ideas or giving a presentation. It is all about clear communication and connecting with the audience.
Preparation is required to create that type of presentation. You must learn about your target audience to tailor your message.
If you’re talking to experts in your field, for example, you don’t have to explain all the terms you’re using but if you expect your audience to disagree with your assertions, it’s a great idea to provide additional illustrations and go into greater detail when presenting the evidence.
You can outline your presentation with your audience in mind to explain your main points and maintain a logical flow. The more you understand your target audience, the better you will be able to communicate with them.
16. P redict your audience’s thoughts and tell them
If you’re lucky enough to predict what is on their minds, you’ll get almost 100% attention from your audience. This lowers the barriers between you and them.
They’ll say “hey, he’s so clever hahaha”. Wow, you’re absolutely right! Tell them you know what they are thinking and answer a question they haven’t yet asked you.
17. Practice your presentation beforehand
You should start with yourself first. Talk to yourself, then move on to talking to a friend or small group of friends. When you build more confidence, start by speaking for free to become more professional.
You could begin by speaking to associations and clubs. Your audience may give you more networking opportunities when they enjoy your free presentations. There are business owners in your audience or people who work for businesses looking for speakers.
In fact, t here is much more to learn while you practise. By the time you become well-known, you can start charging a token or your prices can even become non-negotiable. 😉
18. Explore every possible detail about your subject matter
To prepare an effective oral presentation, you must thoroughly understand your subject matter, which means knowing far more than you will present.
There is no such thing as too much research. The more familiar you are with your content, the more settled and confident you will feel when presenting it to a group.
Take notes as you read about your topic. Then organize your notes for your presentation. The most straightforward structure is an outline.
In most cases, a concise outline will serve as a good template for presenting your topic. The introduction, body, and summary make up a concise outline.
In the introductory part, you must provide a concise context for your discussion. This is where you describe the problem or issue that the presentation will solve.
You want to immediately grab people’s attention, stimulate their interest, and get them pondering about your topic. That is what creating engaging content is all about.
The bulk of your presentation. It provides specific examples to back up your main point. This is where you add important facts, statistics, and details to your discourse.
Make certain that your material is presented articulately, with each point connected to another and clear progressions.
To summarize, highlight the previous points briefly. Use keywords from your introduction to restate your argument.
Take note of transitory phrases or words like “in summary.” Appreciate the audience for their time and, if the presentation format allows, gladly accept their questions.
A clear structure helps to support a clear and focused message, and it prevents you from jumping from concept to concept, which can make it difficult for your audience to grasp your presentation.
Having this in place, the presentation is no longer just a discussion. It truly becomes an active participation of the audience on a discovery journey. All you have to do is relate the subject’s antecedents, background, facts, statistics, and features in a way that stimulates their curiosity.
19. Use visual aids to supplement your content
It is easier to deliver an oral presentation when you employ visual aids. Visual aids, such as PowerPoint slides or printed handouts, provide structure to your presentation and assist the audience in comprehending the key points.
Since the majority of information is deemed and grasped visually, you may need to resolve this in your presentation by including a few visuals.
This would help the audience follow your discourse and possibly discuss a few of your points after the presentation is finished.
A good visual aid , as obvious as it may seem, must remain visual. Visuals can be bulleted lists or outlines, diagrams or figures, or pictures that depict crucial points that would be difficult to explain orally. Visual aids should be used to supplement, not compete with, your presentation. Use them only when they are necessary or beneficial.
20. Anticipate questions and prepare thoughtful answers in advance
A key component of preparing for an effective oral presentation is anticipating questions and creating thoughtful responses beforehand.
It demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about the subject and that you gave the subject some research. It also helps establish credibility and demonstrate your knowledge.
Additionally, it might assist you in remaining composed and assured throughout the presentation, especially if you are posed with unexpected questions. A few strategies for getting ready for questions are as follows:
- Researching your topic thoroughly: This will enable you to answer any questions that may come up about your subject matter.
- Identifying key points of confusion: Think about what aspects of your presentation may be most difficult for your audience to understand and prepare answers accordingly.
- Practicing your responses: Rehearse answering potential questions so you are more comfortable and confident when answering them during the presentation.
- Being open to feedback: Encourage your audience to ask questions and be open to feedback , even if it is critical. Take the opportunity to address any misconceptions or confusion that may have arisen during your presentation.
- Be prepared for the unexpected: Sometimes, the questions you get may be totally out of the blue, be prepared to answer those as well.
In summary, your oral presentation is highly related to your motion, posture, gesture, gesticulation, eye contact, pausing effect, response to applause and so on.
The evolving nature of education has seen many lecturers and teachers adopt oral examinations as an integral part of grading students’ performance.
That is apart from lines of study such as Medicine (Viva) and Law (mock trials) that already have oral-related content as a part of their continuous assessment.
It also affords the teacher the opportunity to do more than just teach but to also be a kind of ‘coach’ that nurtures not only the content but also the delivery of knowledge . As a teacher myself, I do subscribe to this method of teaching; after all, was it not Einstein that said – If you cannot explain it simply, then you do not understand it all.
In oral presentations, especially ones that adopt projected information, the words you speak are more important than the words you display.
However, the pictures you use are just as important as the words you speak. In no place is the saying truer – a picture is worth more than a thousand words.
Therefore, being in a position where you have to present your own perspective, with your own words and in your own style goes a long way in shaping your intellectual capabilities . It also builds self-confidence in those that eventually master it.
I wish you a hitch-free and mind-blowing experience in your next oral presentation. 😉 . Which of these tips has helped you tremendously?
Share with love!
Post Author: Ikeoluwa Ogedengbe
24 replies to “20 tips for preparing an effective oral presentation”.
Wonderful post! Putting these suggestions into practice will make anyone a ‘better’ presenter! Multiple thumbs up!
Sure, they will. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for this post, I believe it will help me gather more confidence in public speaking.
All the best in your next public speaking engagement, Josephine.
Love this post! I have a fear of public speaking so this checklist is so helpful! Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you love it, Lissy.
Cool, just cool. I like it.
Thank you these are great tips! I have always had a lot of self confidence but always struggle with imposter syndrome so I get so nervous before public speaking!
Aww, I am sure these tips and a lot of practice will take the nervousness away.
This reminds me of my speech 101 class in college. I definitely with these tips — especially the one about knowing the content. Nothing prepares you more than knowing what you are talking about.
That’s absolutely right!
I used to work for a company that offered feedback for corporate leaders on presenting and I agree with everything you say. Bringing your personality into a presentation or speech can make a huge difference but it can take practice to get comfortable enough to bring that energy.
Yes, practice does a lot to make one perfect. Thanks for your input, Sarah.
This is a very helpful post. I wish I had read this when I was still a student. I didn’t like oral presentations and this could have given me a better perspective.
Awww, You may pass on the message to young students to ensure they get it right early.
Great read. Very helpful for my upcoming convention. Thanks for sharing.
I’m glad this helped. I wish you a splendid convention, Allison.
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How to deliver an oral presentation
a Lister Hospital, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
b Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
c University College London
d Guy's St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
Delivering an oral presentation in conferences and meetings can seem daunting. However, if delivered effectively, it can be an invaluable opportunity to showcase your work in front of peers as well as receive feedback on your project. In this “How to” article, we demonstrate how one can plan and successfully deliver an engaging oral presentation.
Giving an oral presentation at a scientific conference is an almost inevitable task at some point during your medical career. The prospect of presenting your original work to colleagues and peers, however, may be intimidating, and it can be difficult to know how to approach it. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that although daunting, an oral presentation is one of the best ways to get your work out there, and so should be looked upon as an exciting and invaluable opportunity.
Although things may vary slightly depending on the type of research you are presenting, the typical structure is as follows:
- Opening slide (title of study, authors, institutions, and date)
- Discussion (including strengths and weaknesses of the study)
Picking out only the most important findings to include in your presentation is key and will keep it concise and easy to follow. This in turn will keep your viewers engaged, and more likely to understand and remember your presentation.
Psychological analysis of PowerPoint presentations, finds that 8 psychological principles are often violated 1 . One of these was the limited capacity of working memory, which can hold 4 units of information at any 1 time in most circumstances. Hence, too many points or concepts on a slide could be detrimental to the presenter’s desire to give information.
You can also help keep your audience engaged with images, which you can talk around, rather than lots of text. Video can also be useful, for example, a surgical procedure. However, be warned that IT can let you down when you need it most and you need to have a backup plan if the video fails. It’s worth coming to the venue early and testing it and resolving issues beforehand with the AV support staff if speaking at a conference.
Slide design and layout
It is important not to clutter your slides with too much text or too many pictures. An easy way to do this is by using the 5×5 rule. This means using no more than 5 bullet points per slide, with no more than 5 words per bullet point. It is also good to break up the text-heavy slides with ones including diagrams or graphs. This can also help to convey your results in a more visual and easy-to-understand way.
It is best to keep the slide design simple, as busy backgrounds and loud color schemes are distracting. Ensure that you use a uniform font and stick to the same color scheme throughout. As a general rule, a light-colored background with dark-colored text is easier to read than light-colored text on a dark-colored background. If you can use an image instead of text, this is even better.
A systematic review study of expert opinion papers demonstrates several key recommendations on how to effectively deliver medical research presentations 2 . These include:
- Keeping your slides simple
- Knowing your audience (pitching to the right level)
- Making eye contact
- Rehearsing the presentation
- Do not read from the slides
- Limiting the number of lines per slide
- Sticking to the allotted time
You should practice your presentation before the conference, making sure that you stick to the allocated time given to you. Oral presentations are usually short (around 8–10 min maximum), and it is, therefore, easy to go under or over time if you have not rehearsed. Aiming to spend around 1 minute per slide is usually a good guide. It is useful to present to your colleagues and seniors, allowing them to ask you questions afterwards so that you can be prepared for the sort of questions you may get asked at the conference. Knowing your research inside out and reading around the subject is advisable, as there may be experts watching you at the conference with more challenging questions! Make sure you re-read your paper the day before, or on the day of the conference to refresh your memory.
It is useful to bring along handouts of your presentation for those who may be interested. Rather than printing out miniature versions of your power point slides, it is better to condense your findings into a brief word document. Not only will this be easier to read, but you will also save a lot of paper by doing this!
Delivering the presentation
Having rehearsed your presentation beforehand, the most important thing to do when you get to the conference is to keep calm and be confident. Remember that you know your own research better than anyone else in the room! Be sure to take some deep breaths and speak at an appropriate pace and volume, making good eye contact with your viewers. If there is a microphone, don’t keep turning away from it as the audience will get frustrated if your voice keeps cutting in and out. Gesturing and using pointers when appropriate can be a really useful tool, and will enable you to emphasize your important findings.
- Do not hide behind the computer. Come out to the center or side and present there.
- Maintain eye contact with the audience, especially the judges.
- Remember to pause every so often.
- Don’t clutter your presentation with verbal noise such as “umm,” “like,” or “so.” You will look more slick if you avoid this.
- Rhetorical questions once in a while can be useful in maintaining the audience’s attention.
When reaching the end of your presentation, you should slow down in order to clearly convey your key points. Using phases such as “in summary” and “to conclude” often prompts those who have drifted off slightly during your presentation start paying attention again, so it is a critical time to make sure that your work is understood and remembered. Leaving up your conclusions/summary slide for a short while after stopping speaking will give the audience time to digest the information. Conclude by acknowledging any fellow authors or assistants before thanking the audience for their attention and inviting any questions (as long as you have left sufficient time).
If asked a question, firstly thank the audience member, then repeat what they have asked to the rest of the listeners in case they didn’t hear the first time. Keep your answers short and succinct, and if unsure say that the questioner has raised a good point and that you will have to look into it further. Having someone else in the audience write down the question is useful for this.
The key points to remember when preparing for an oral presentation are:
- Keep your slides simple and concise using the 5×5 rule and images.
- When appropriate; rehearse timings; prepare answers to questions; speak slowly and use gestures/ pointers where appropriate; make eye contact with the audience; emphasize your key points at the end; make acknowledgments and thank the audience; invite questions and be confident but not arrogant.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no financial conflict of interest with regard to the content of this report.
Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.
Published online 8 June 2017
5-Step Guide of How to Prepare for an Oral Presentation
Oral presentations provide an essential method of demonstrating the results of your learning or research process. In the social sciences, where communication with people is a central issue, oral speech is recognized as a necessary academic skill. The success of your oral presentation depends on how professionally and effectively you can narrate, organize, and demonstrate the material. In this guide, you will learn how to prepare for making a public address, organize your material, and deliver it in a manner that will help you achieve your goals.
Step 1. Preparation
Always consider your audience.
You are unlikely to gain any attention or credit for inappropriately addressing the needs of your target audience. For example, when presenting research results to college students or a group of professors, you will likely choose a different style, structure, and delivery depending on the audience. Thus, it is vital that from the start, you consider your audience, including age ranges, professional occupations, and the level of information your listeners have on the topic you intend to present.
Establish goals for your speech
Without a proper motivation or aim, your speech will probably meander through a collection of disorganized facts, leaving your audience unenlightened regarding your intentions. Therefore, next one to consider is the goal or goals for your speech. These may include but not be limited to informing, motivating, or convincing. Keep your goal in mind throughout the process of arranging the content and delivering it to the audience.
Create effective notes
While it is not usually acceptable to confine yourself to reading from your notes during an oral speech presentation, it is appropriate to use brief notes with key information or a structure to remember. If you rely solely on your memory and eschew written assistance, you may forget to address crucial topics due to nervousness or distractions. Thus, it is also an excellent practice to include important names and spellings of terms you will use, or leave blank spaces to be able to edit the note before the speech if it requires immediate changes.
Step 2. Content Arrangement
Write an outline.
An outline that has a clear structure including an introduction, body, and conclusion will, in most cases, become a solid framework for delivering your thoughts or results of your study. A speech that follows a clear structure will serve your aim better than a simple list of facts or items you would like your audience to know. As the outline stage is generally a continuous process, it may be necessary to include blank spaces or rearrange the content to achieve the best possible composition.
- Introduction In the introduction section, similar to the introductory portion of an essay, you need to concisely present the background for your discussion topic, let your audience know why it is worth speaking about and researching, and explain the point of your presentation. It is also important to give your audience a preview of the structure of your speech and the topics included. Thus, the purpose of an introduction is to grab the listeners’ attention. After all, one of your goals should be to spark your audience’s interest in your material.
- Body The body should present a logical order for your claims in defense of your main argument, supported by evidence. Using examples to illustrate various points can be helpful in informing or convincing an audience. Ensure that you present your material coherently, connecting each point to the next and employing clear transitions. This section should take up most of your presentation time in order to cover your topic sufficiently.
- Conclusion In the conclusion section, sound academic practice suggests that a concise summary of all presented material can help the audience revisit the material they have just received for better retention. Thus, you should restate the purpose of the speech or research with reference to how it was achieved so that the oral presentation reaches a logical end. When wrapping up a speech, be aware of the use of transitional words or phrases to mark this section, such as “in conclusion.” If the format of the presentation permits, you may thank the audience for lending you their attention and welcome their questions.
Step 3. Summarize your ideas
In each section of your speech’s framework, you need to begin with a short synopsis of what you achieved or want to deliver. Oral presentations in an academic environment are allocated a limited amount of time, so there is a need to deliver your content and achieve your goal in a concise manner. In addition, lengthy thoughts can be difficult to follow, and you may risk losing your audience’s attention or creating confusion. However, it is also important not to shorten the ideas excessively and to always ensure the completeness of the message.
Step 4. Support your content with visual materials
As a majority of information is perceived and understood visually, you as a presenter may need to address this in your speech by including some material that the audience can see. This will help the audience follow your narration and perhaps discuss some of your points after you have finished the presentation. It may be tempting to place text on the presentation slides and read from them directly, but it is best to use bullet points, pictures, graphs, and other illustrative materials. The reason for this is that the audience may cease to pay attention to you, instead reading what you have written on the slide. To address that, you need to include only the key information in bullet points (if you include text at all) that you also explain in your speech. When using video or PowerPoint presentations to assist you in a speech, you must refer to and interact with it to truly utilize its potential. Otherwise, it will only serve as a distraction and will detract from your speech rather than assisting you.
Step 5. Delivery
Create text for a speech, not for reading.
The oral presentation format requires the speaker to deliver material intended to be listened to, as written text may be comprehended poorly within the limited presentation time. Given the differences between written and oral speech, you might need to use shorter sentences in order to be easily understood. Even if you are presenting research results to academics, there is no need for excessive use of terminology. However, you should avoid using colloquial language in order to remain within professional boundaries.
Highlight key ideas
To make sure the audience remembers the core parts, you may use memorable quotes, images, varied tone of voice, or language constructs. All of these techniques can help you emphasize the items the listeners need to remember. While the summary and restatement of goals in the conclusion section assists in this, using additional aspects of delivery for the most important points is rarely excessive. It ensures that the audience understands why these ideas are critical, without which you risk failing to achieve your presentation goals.
Demonstrate the mastery of oral communication
You should consider practicing delivery of the material to an audience beforehand, paying particular attention to the tone of voice, volume, speed, clarity, and other parameters. It is crucial to speak at a normal—or even slightly slower—pace to ensure everyone has the time to comprehend the information you relay. Here you need to accept the notion that not everyone might be equally knowledgeable of the topic you present, so by keeping an average pace of delivery, you will be considerate of their level of understanding. Pausing after key moments may also be appropriate in oral presentations, as it aids the audience’s comprehension.
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- Speaking exams
- Typical speaking tasks
Giving an oral presentation as part of a speaking exam can be quite scary, but we're here to help you. Watch two students giving presentations and then read the tips carefully. Which tips do they follow? Which ones don’t they follow?
Watch the video of two students doing an oral presentation as part of a speaking exam. Then read the tips below.
Melissa: Hi, everyone! Today I would like to talk about how to become the most popular teen in school.
Firstly, I think getting good academic results is the first factor to make you become popular since, having a good academic result, your teacher will award you in front of your schoolmates. Then, your schoolmates will know who you are and maybe they would like to get to know you because they want to learn something good from you.
Secondly, I think participating in school clubs and student unions can help to make you become popular, since after participating in these school clubs or student union, people will know who you are and it can help you to make friends all around the school, no matter senior forms or junior forms.
In conclusion, I think to become the most popular teen in school we need to have good academic results and also participate in school clubs and student union. Thank you!
Kelvin: Good evening, everyone! So, today I want to talk about whether the sale of cigarettes should be made illegal.
As we all know, cigarettes are not good for our health, not only oneself but also other people around. Moreover, many people die of lung cancer every year because of smoking cigarettes.
But, should the government make it illegal? I don’t think so, because Hong Kong is a place where people can enjoy lots of freedom and if the government banned the sale of cigarettes, many people would disagree with this and stand up to fight for their freedom.
Moreover, Hong Kong is a free market. If there's such a huge government intervention, I think it’s not good for Hong Kong’s economy.
So, if the government wants people to stop smoking cigarettes, what should it do? I think the government can use other administrative ways to do so, for example education and increasing the tax on cigarettes. Also, the government can ban the smokers smoking in public areas. So, this is the end of my presentation. Thank you.
It’s not easy to give a good oral presentation but these tips will help you. Here are our top tips for oral presentations.
- Use the planning time to prepare what you’re going to say.
- If you are allowed to have a note card, write short notes in point form.
- Use more formal language.
- Use short, simple sentences to express your ideas clearly.
- Pause from time to time and don’t speak too quickly. This allows the listener to understand your ideas. Include a short pause after each idea.
- Speak clearly and at the right volume.
- Have your notes ready in case you forget anything.
- Practise your presentation. If possible record yourself and listen to your presentation. If you can’t record yourself, ask a friend to listen to you. Does your friend understand you?
- Make your opinions very clear. Use expressions to give your opinion .
- Look at the people who are listening to you.
- Write out the whole presentation and learn every word by heart.
- Write out the whole presentation and read it aloud.
- Use very informal language.
- Only look at your note card. It’s important to look up at your listeners when you are speaking.
Useful language for presentations
Explain what your presentation is about at the beginning:
I’m going to talk about ... I’d like to talk about ... The main focus of this presentation is ...
Use these expressions to order your ideas:
First of all, ... Firstly, ... Then, ... Secondly, ... Next, ... Finally, ... Lastly, ... To sum up, ... In conclusion, ...
Use these expressions to add more ideas from the same point of view:
In addition, ... What’s more, ... Also, ... Added to this, ...
To introduce the opposite point of view you can use these words and expressions:
However, ... On the other hand, ... Then again, ...
Example presentation topics
- Violent computer games should be banned.
- The sale of cigarettes should be made illegal.
- Homework should be limited to just two nights a week.
- Should school students be required to wear a school uniform?
- How to become the most popular teen in school.
- Dogs should be banned from cities.
Check your language: ordering - parts of a presentation
Check your understanding: grouping - useful phrases, worksheets and downloads.
Do you think these tips will help you in your next speaking exam? Remember to tell us how well you do in future speaking exams!
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How to give a presentation
Does the thought of public speaking start your stomach churning like a tornado? Would you rather get caught in an avalanche than give a speech? Giving an oral report does not have to be a natural disaster. There are two main elements—the writing and the presentation. Find out how to put it all together with tips from the Nat Geo Kids Almanac .
Writing Your Material
Try to keep your sentences short and simple. Long, complex sentences are harder to follow. Limit yourself to just a few key points. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information. To be most effective, hit your key points in the introduction, elaborate on them in the body, and then repeat them once again in your conclusion.
The three basic parts
• Introduction—This is your chance to engage your audience and really capture their interest in the subject you are presenting. Use a funny personal experience or a dramatic story, or start with an intriguing question.
• Body—This is the longest part of your report. Here you elaborate on the facts and ideas you want to convey. Give information that supports your main idea, and expand on it with specific examples or details. In other words, structure your oral report in the same way you would a written essay so that your thoughts are presented in a clear and organized manner.
• Conclusion—This is the time to summarize the information and emphasize your most important points to the audience one last time.
Preparing Your Delivery
Practice makes perfect. Confidence, enthusiasm, and energy are key to delivering an effective oral report, and they can best be achieved through rehearsal. Ask family and friends to be your practice audience and give you feedback when you’re done. Were they able to follow your ideas? Did you seem knowledgeable and confident? Did you speak too slowly or too fast, too softly or too loudly? The more times you practice giving your report, the more you’ll master the material. Then you won’t have to rely so heavily on your notes or papers, and you will be able to give your report in a relaxed and confident manner.
Present with everything you’ve got
Be as creative as you can. Incorporate videos, sound clips, slide presentations, charts, diagrams, and photos. Visual aids help stimulate your audience’s senses and keep them intrigued and engaged. They can also help to reinforce your key points. And remember that when you’re giving an oral report, you’re a performer. Take charge of the spotlight and be as animated and entertaining as you can. Have fun with it.
Keep your nerves under control
Everyone gets a little nervous when speaking in front of a group. That’s normal. But the more preparation you’ve done—meaning plenty of researching, organizing, and rehearsing—the more confident you’ll be. Preparation is the key. And if you make a mistake or stumble over your words, just regroup and keep going. Nobody’s perfect, and nobody expects you to be.
Download the pdf.
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Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations
- Philip E Bourne
Published: April 27, 2007
- Reader Comments
Citation: Bourne PE (2007) Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations. PLoS Comput Biol 3(4): e77. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030077
Copyright: © 2007 Philip E. Bourne. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The author received no specific funding for this article.
Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.
Continuing our “Ten Simple Rules” series [ 1 – 5 ], we consider here what it takes to make a good oral presentation. While the rules apply broadly across disciplines, they are certainly important from the perspective of this readership. Clear and logical delivery of your ideas and scientific results is an important component of a successful scientific career. Presentations encourage broader dissemination of your work and highlight work that may not receive attention in written form.
Rule 1: Talk to the Audience
We do not mean face the audience, although gaining eye contact with as many people as possible when you present is important since it adds a level of intimacy and comfort to the presentation. We mean prepare presentations that address the target audience. Be sure you know who your audience is—what are their backgrounds and knowledge level of the material you are presenting and what they are hoping to get out of the presentation? Off-topic presentations are usually boring and will not endear you to the audience. Deliver what the audience wants to hear.
Rule 2: Less is More
A common mistake of inexperienced presenters is to try to say too much. They feel the need to prove themselves by proving to the audience that they know a lot. As a result, the main message is often lost, and valuable question time is usually curtailed. Your knowledge of the subject is best expressed through a clear and concise presentation that is provocative and leads to a dialog during the question-and-answer session when the audience becomes active participants. At that point, your knowledge of the material will likely become clear. If you do not get any questions, then you have not been following the other rules. Most likely, your presentation was either incomprehensible or trite. A side effect of too much material is that you talk too quickly, another ingredient of a lost message.
Rule 3: Only Talk When You Have Something to Say
Do not be overzealous about what you think you will have available to present when the time comes. Research never goes as fast as you would like. Remember the audience's time is precious and should not be abused by presentation of uninteresting preliminary material.
Rule 4: Make the Take-Home Message Persistent
A good rule of thumb would seem to be that if you ask a member of the audience a week later about your presentation, they should be able to remember three points. If these are the key points you were trying to get across, you have done a good job. If they can remember any three points, but not the key points, then your emphasis was wrong. It is obvious what it means if they cannot recall three points!
Rule 5: Be Logical
Think of the presentation as a story. There is a logical flow—a clear beginning, middle, and an end. You set the stage (beginning), you tell the story (middle), and you have a big finish (the end) where the take-home message is clearly understood.
Rule 6: Treat the Floor as a Stage
Presentations should be entertaining, but do not overdo it and do know your limits. If you are not humorous by nature, do not try and be humorous. If you are not good at telling anecdotes, do not try and tell anecdotes, and so on. A good entertainer will captivate the audience and increase the likelihood of obeying Rule 4.
Rule 7: Practice and Time Your Presentation
This is particularly important for inexperienced presenters. Even more important, when you give the presentation, stick to what you practice. It is common to deviate, and even worse to start presenting material that you know less about than the audience does. The more you practice, the less likely you will be to go off on tangents. Visual cues help here. The more presentations you give, the better you are going to get. In a scientific environment, take every opportunity to do journal club and become a teaching assistant if it allows you to present. An important talk should not be given for the first time to an audience of peers. You should have delivered it to your research collaborators who will be kinder and gentler but still point out obvious discrepancies. Laboratory group meetings are a fine forum for this.
Rule 8: Use Visuals Sparingly but Effectively
Presenters have different styles of presenting. Some can captivate the audience with no visuals (rare); others require visual cues and in addition, depending on the material, may not be able to present a particular topic well without the appropriate visuals such as graphs and charts. Preparing good visual materials will be the subject of a further Ten Simple Rules. Rule 7 will help you to define the right number of visuals for a particular presentation. A useful rule of thumb for us is if you have more than one visual for each minute you are talking, you have too many and you will run over time. Obviously some visuals are quick, others take time to get the message across; again Rule 7 will help. Avoid reading the visual unless you wish to emphasize the point explicitly, the audience can read, too! The visual should support what you are saying either for emphasis or with data to prove the verbal point. Finally, do not overload the visual. Make the points few and clear.
Rule 9: Review Audio and/or Video of Your Presentations
There is nothing more effective than listening to, or listening to and viewing, a presentation you have made. Violations of the other rules will become obvious. Seeing what is wrong is easy, correcting it the next time around is not. You will likely need to break bad habits that lead to the violation of the other rules. Work hard on breaking bad habits; it is important.
Rule 10: Provide Appropriate Acknowledgments
People love to be acknowledged for their contributions. Having many gratuitous acknowledgements degrades the people who actually contributed. If you defy Rule 7, then you will not be able to acknowledge people and organizations appropriately, as you will run out of time. It is often appropriate to acknowledge people at the beginning or at the point of their contribution so that their contributions are very clear.
As a final word of caution, we have found that even in following the Ten Simple Rules (or perhaps thinking we are following them), the outcome of a presentation is not always guaranteed. Audience–presenter dynamics are hard to predict even though the metric of depth and intensity of questions and off-line followup provide excellent indicators. Sometimes you are sure a presentation will go well, and afterward you feel it did not go well. Other times you dread what the audience will think, and you come away pleased as punch. Such is life. As always, we welcome your comments on these Ten Simple Rules by Reader Response.
The idea for this particular Ten Simple Rules was inspired by a conversation with Fiona Addison.
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