• Speaker engages audience attention and interest (relevance, importance, timeliness, etc.).
  • Speaker clearly identifies thesis, purpose or central question (focus).
  • Speaker clearly previews presentation's structure or content (scope and sequence).  (If thesis or preview is withheld, is this appropriate and effective?)


  • Points are clear and arranged in logical order.
  • Speaker provides appropriate transitions between points.
  • Speaker adequately clarifies terms and concepts.
  • Speaker adequately explains points and supports arguments.
  • Speaker restates or summarizes points as needed.
  • Speaker cites sources appropriately (orally or on visuals).

Audiovisual Media

  • Media make sense and enhance the presentation.
  • Speaker effectively integrates media with what is being said.
  • Speaker provides appropriate transitions between media clips or PowerPoint slides.
  • Slides are effectively designed (clear, uncluttered, adequate size, good contrast, consistent).
  • Slides are correct in terms of spelling, grammar, citations, etc.
  • Speaker summarizes as needed.
  • Speaker reinforces or re-establishes the thesis, purpose or central question.
  • Speaker closes appropriately.

Overall Delivery

  • Speaker uses clear, appropriate language.
  • Speaker uses appropriate rate and volume.
  • Speaker uses few “uhs” and “ums.”
  • Speaker uses voice expressively.
  • Speaker makes sufficient eye contact.
  • Speaker uses nonverbal behavior that supports the message.

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How to prepare and deliver an effective oral presentation

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  • Lucia Hartigan , registrar 1 ,
  • Fionnuala Mone , fellow in maternal fetal medicine 1 ,
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  • 2 National Maternity Hospital, Dublin; Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medicine and Medical Sciences, University College Dublin
  • luciahartigan{at}hotmail.com

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

oral presentation checklist

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Effective presentations checklist, create a shared meaning between the you, the speaker, and your audience.

Having the knowledge and skills to effectively design and deliver a dynamic presentation is essential in the academic and professional world, regardless of field. Most colleges and universities require students to complete a public speaking course. In addition, many large organizations send employees to training course to develop their skills in this area. Why is it so important for college students and employees to be effective in this context?

The bottom line is that presentations are used to create a  shared meaning  between the speaker and the audience. Whether it is to inform peers of the results of your course project, communicate changes in the organization, provide updates on projects to your boss and co-workers, persuade the organization to invest in new technology, convince the city council to reduce waste, or recognize the accomplishments of a valued employee, the goal of a presentation needs to be accomplished. By using strategic design and delivery techniques, you increase your chances of accomplishing your goal. In addition, your successful efforts will leave others with a positive impression of your communication and leadership skills.

While there are a tremendous number of resources available on the internet to assist individuals wanting to increase the effectiveness of their presentations, the following checklist provides the basic things you should consider. This checklist contains items that are included within UMN Crookston’s Public Speaking course (SPCH 1101).

1. What are the logistical considerations/constraints of the speaking event? 

If you don’t know the answers to the questions below, ask the person inviting you to speak. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, it may help you determine other questions you want to ask:

  • What is the occasion/event that I’ll be speaking at (purpose)?
  • Where is the presentation located?
  • How many people will be in the audience?
  • What is the start time for my presentation?
  • How much time do I have to speak? Does that include time for questions?
  • What should I wear?
  • What type of presentation aid would you recommend for this audience
  • What technology is available for me to use (screen, projector, computer, etc.)?
  • If I have handouts, how many copies should I make?
  • Will there be someone available to help if I need assistance with set-up, technology, etc.?

2. Know your audience. 

The more you know about your audience, the more you can tailor your presentation to them, thus making it more relevant and increasing your likelihood of accomplishing your goal. If you don’t know the answers to the questions below, ask the person inviting you to speak. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, it may help you determine other questions you want to ask:

  • Who will be in the audience (position, demographics, etc.)?
  • How much to the audience know about the presentation topic?
  • What is the audience’s overall attitude towards the topic?

3. What is the purpose of the presentation?

The answer to this question will help you determine how to organize your presentation as well as choose the appropriate content. If you don’t know the answers to the questions below, as the person inviting you to speak. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, it may help you determine other questions you want to ask:

  • Is the purpose to inform the audience?
  • Is the purpose to persuade the audience?
  • Is the purpose to deliver a presentation at a special occasion (toast, recognition, award, etc.)?
  • Do you have suggestions on what content the presentation should contain?

4. Create a speaking outline with appropriate content.

Creating an outline will help you gather your thoughts and put structure of the content you want to deliver. If your presentation is not organized your audience may have difficulty understanding your content, and you will be less likely to accomplish your goal. Remember that audience members will not have a written manuscript to refer to if they get lost during your presentation. Based on the purpose, constraints, and audience of your presentation, consider including the following items:


  • Attention catcher – get their attention with a statement, quote, startling statistic, story, etc.
  • Speaker credibility – tell the audience why you are credible to speak on this topic (education experience, interest, etc.).
  • Listener relevance statement – tell the audience why this topic is important to them.
  • Thesis statement – tell the audience what your presentation is about and what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Main points and sub-points – each main point should include information that supports the thesis.
  • You may want to include research to support your efforts. If you do include outside research, you need to orally cite it in order to enhance your credibility and give credit to the original sources.
  • Each main point should be balanced: i.e. you should spend roughly the same amount of time on each main point.
  • Between your main points, you should include transitions that help the listeners understand how the ideas relate to one another.


  • Thesis restatement – remind the audience of your presentation topic and purpose.
  • Main point review – remind the audience of your main points (in the order in which they appeared in your presentation).
  • Clincher statement – leave the audience with something to think about regarding your presentation.

5. Effectively deliver your presentation. 

Along with content and structure, delivery can either enhance or detract from achieving your goal. We have all attended presentations in which the presenter’s delivery style either enhanced our learning or was so distracting that we stopped listening. The following lists several basic things to consider when delivering your presentation:

  • Wear appropriate and comfortable clothing.
  • Maintain good eye contact with your audience during at least 90% of your presentation.
  • Use the space provided – don’t just stand in one spot.
  • Use hand gestures that are appropriate.
  • Use your voice and facial expressions.
  • Portray confidence.
  • Smile when appropriate.
  • Eliminate distracting behaviors (repetitive gestures, chewing gum, verbal tics, etc.).
  • Don’t just read your speech off of your paper, outline, or note cards; speak in a conversational style.
  • Face the audience and not the screen.
  • Don’t read off the screen.
  • Ensure that your slideshow is visually pleasing – easy to read with few distracting elements.
  • Ensure that your slideshow is free from errors.

6. Practice, practice, practice.

An important component of effective presentation delivery is practice. Determine the practice method that works best for you (in front of a mirror, in front of a friend, in the room where you will be delivering your presentation, etc.). Consider practicing several days before delivering your presentation. The more you practice, the more confident you will be with your content, organization, and delivery methods.

7. Dealing with speech anxiety.

Almost everyone experiences some level of speech anxiety when delivering a presentation. Effective presenters are those who use that energy to help them in their efforts. Consider the following when managing your speech anxiety before and/or during your presentation:

  • Practice helps lessen speech anxiety.
  • Don’t let negative self-talk undermine your efforts. Instead, turn those negative messages – like “I’m going to embarrass myself” or “I’m going to fall” – into positive messages – like “I’m going to be successful” and “I am poised and self-confident.
  • Visualize your success.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • Pretend you’re confident.
  • Remember that your audience wants you to be successful.
  • Drink water prior to delivering your presentation to avoid a dry mouth/throat.
  • Remember that the audience will likely not notice your anxiety.

Whether you are a college student or a working professional, this checklist outlines basic strategies you should consider when designing and delivering an effective presentation. In addition to this checklist, you are encouraged to investigate the many resources and tools in the library and on the internet that can aid you in your efforts. Similar to other skills (athletics, singing, acting, canoeing, etc.), the more experience you have delivering presentations, the more effective you will be.

By Kevin D. Thompson, Ph.D. Last updated October 2016 by Allison Haas, M.A.


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The Presentation Planning Checklist

Make your presentation stand out, for the right reasons.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

oral presentation checklist

This presentation planning checklist* will help you to deliver successful presentations.


  • Does your introduction grab participants' attention and explain your objectives?
  • Do you follow this by clearly defining the points of the presentation?
  • Are these main points in logical sequence?
  • Do these flow well?
  • Do the main points need support from visual aids?
  • Does your closing summarize the presentation clearly and concisely?
  • Is the conclusion strong?
  • Have your tied the conclusion to the introduction?
  • Are you knowledgeable about the topic covered in your presentation?
  • Do you have your notes in order?
  • Where and how will you present (indoors, outdoors, standing, sitting, etc.)?
  • Have you visited the presentation site?
  • Have you checked your visual aids to ensure they are working and you know how to use them?

Many people are nervous about speaking in public. If this applies to you, see our article, Managing Presentation Nerves .

  • Make sure you are dressed and groomed appropriately and in keeping with the audience's expectations.
  • Practice your speech standing (or sitting, if applicable), paying close attention to your body language, even your posture, both of which will be assessed by the audience.

Visual Aids

  • Are the visual aids easy to read and easy to understand?
  • Are they tied into the points you are trying to communicate?
  • Can they be easily seen from all areas of the room?

* Adapted, in part, from Rouse/Rouse, Business Communications: A Cultural and Strategic Approach (ISBN: 9781861525444). © 2002 Cengage Learning

Rouse, M.J. and Rouse, S. (2002). ' Business Communications: A Cultural and Strategic Approach ,' London: Thomson Learning. p173-174.

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Oral Presentation Tips: A Checklist for Success

Oral Presentation Skills and Tips for Students

Many adults, teens, and children fear making an oral presentation. However, mastering public speaking is vital to almost every future path a student will take—whether in higher education or a career.

If you have not yet begun working with your students on their oral presentation skills, here’s a basic checklist of how to help them get started.

Before you begin, be sure to make the requirements of your assignment clear. Book reports and research related to a history unit make good beginning assignments. Once students have a bit more experience, you may want to craft an assignment related to a current issue or controversial topic. (Controversial in this context simply means people hold conflicting views on a certain topic.)

Here’s a checklist of oral presentation tips and questions students can use to make sure they are well prepared for their presentations. This checklist is also easily adaptable into a grading rubric for the presentation.


  • Have you researched thoroughly?
  • Have you created an outline of what you will say?
  • Does your introduction clearly state the purpose of your presentation?
  • Does the introduction give a hint (3 main points, pros and cons, etc.) of how you will approach your topic?
  • Do all main points of the body of your talk support your purpose statement?
  • Have you presented detailed evidence to fill out your talk?
  • Are the supporting examples, arguments, and illustrations logical and relevant?
  • Is your information thorough and compelling?
  • Have you used terminology appropriate to your subject matter?
  • Have you restated your purpose and summarized your arguments for your audience?


  • Have you included a slide that gives an overview of the question problem or topic?
  • Have you whittled down your information to what the audience will be visually capable of taking in?
  • Have you selected only the most relevant and vital material for the slides?
  • Does the arrangement of words and images on your slides make them easy to read?
  • Have you chosen to share only the quotes that will impact, summarize, or provoke thought?
  • Are all your fonts readable?
  • Have you practiced keeping your poise? (This means no distracting mannerisms, fidgeting, twitching, gum chewing, playing with objects, etc)
  • Are you enthusiastic when you speak?
  • Do you vary your tone of voice and avoid speaking in a monotone?
  • Have you practiced enough to be at ease with the material?
  • Have you practiced enough to be at ease with whichever technological devices you will be using?
  • Do you make eye contact when you speak?
  • Are you audible in all parts of the room?
  • Have you paced your presentation so that you do not need to rush through any section to get all your points in?


  • What are two main weaknesses for you to work on?
  • What are your two main strengths as a speaker?

Resource List:

  • Sample Presentation Outline 1
  • Sample Presentation Outline 2
  • Sample Presentation Outline 3
  • Rubric Creation Site, RubiStar
  Renee Ann Smith teaches literature in a Christian high school by day and writes stories by night. She reviews books and shares inspirational posts on her blog Doorkeeper at http://reneeannsmith.com/ . You can also find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ReneeAnnSmith .  

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how to give the perfect presentation

Presentation checklist, a printable form you can use to prepare your presentation.

Fill in the following checklist to prepare thoroughly for your next presentation.

Click here to download a print-ready PDF version of the checklist

Why were you asked to speak?

  • Audience expectations:
  • Your objective:

Who is your audience?

  • Audience composition:
  • Size of audience:
  • Decision makers?
  • Knowledge of material?
  • Native language?

Where will you speak?

  • In-company?
  • Which floor?
  • Which room?
  • External location?
  • Which city?
  • What address?
  • Contact person?

When will you speak?

  • Before other speakers?
  • After other speakers?

The presentation

  • Have you collected necessary data?
  • Have you organized the presentation?
  • Have you prepared the visuals?
  • Are your visuals organized?
  • Have you proofread any handouts?
  • Have you made sufficient copies of handouts?
  • Have you organized necessary equipment?
  • Have you packed necessary extension cords?
  • Do you need a microphone?
  • Have you decided what to wear?
  • Have you checked and prepared your clothes?
  • Have you groomed your nails?
  • Have you polished your shoes?
  • Do you need a haircut?
  • Have you checked your appearance?
  • Have you rehearsed your presentation?
  • Have you packed all materials?

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About Presentation Prep

created by Rebecca Ezekiel

Being able to speak in public can change your life! Presentation Prep is your complete, free guide to delivering speeches, lectures, and presentations more successfully and confidently. Whether you're a native English-speaker who suffers from public speaking anxiety, or a non-native speaker who needs guidelines for presenting to international audiences, this site will give you everything you need. Presentation Prep is written by Rebecca Ezekiel, an experienced corporate trainer who specializes in the areas of communications, presentations, and cross-cultural skills. Her online English language training videos are watched by millions of students worldwide.

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Oral presentation

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!  

oral presentation checklist

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Design 370 checklist for oral presentations

  • Checklist with advice -- for oral presentations (P. Hirsch G. Birol)
  • Dean Carr's Five Great Talk Tips
  • Faculty Resources
  • Checklist for undergraduates writing biology honors theses
  • Social Science Writing
  • Writing for Graduate or Professional School
  • Writing Advice for International Students
  • Faculty-Only Resources

This checklist can be used to evaluate final presentations or give helpful feedback to your peers when they practice.

Design 370        Checklist for presentations                                                                        printable file (doc)

Presenter:_______________________________________________________ Area                                                            Effective content         1.    Good introduction of self          2.    Concise explanation of the portfolio purpose, organization, & style           3.    Effective presentation of projects, skills         4.    Good choices about what to explain in detail, what to summarize, and what to skip         5.    Purposeful ending                  Effective PowerPoint         6.    Professional, attractive layout         7.    Good use of color, animation, graphics, as appropriate         8.    Good size: content visible at a distance         9.    Concise, careful use of language         10.    Correct grammar and punctuation                  Effective oral delivery         11.    Good posture & stance (facing audience)         12.    Professional appearance (dress, stance)         13.    Good eye contact         14.    Articulate speaking style; adequate volume; good intonation; no verbal tics (um, uh)         15.    Good pace and timing

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How to Use Oral Presentations to Help English Language Learners Succeed

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oral presentation checklist

Excerpted from “ The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox: Hundreds of Practical Ideas to Support Your Students ,” by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski, with permission from the authors.

Having the confidence to speak in front of others is challenging for most people. For English Language Learners, this anxiety can be heightened because they are also speaking in a new language. We’ve found several benefits to incorporating opportunities for students to present to their peers in a positive and safe classroom environment. It helps them focus on pronunciation and clarity and also boosts their confidence. This type of practice is useful since students will surely have to make presentations in other classes, in college, and/or in their future jobs. However, what may be even more valuable is giving students the chance to take these risks in a collaborative, supportive environment.

Presentations also offer students the opportunity to become the teacher—something we welcome and they enjoy! They can further provide valuable listening practice for the rest of the class, especially when students are given a task to focus their listening.

Research confirms that in order for ELLs to acquire English they must engage in oral language practice and be given the opportunity to use language in meaningful ways for social and academic purposes (Williams & Roberts, 2011). Teaching students to design effective oral presentations has also been found to support thinking development as “the quality of presentation actually improves the quality of thought, and vice versa” (Živković, 2014, p. 474). Additionally, t he Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards specifically focus on oral presentations. These standards call for students to make effective and well-organized presentations and to use technology to enhance understanding of them.


Oral presentations can take many different forms in the ELL classroom—ranging from students briefly presenting their learning in small groups to creating a multi-slide presentation for the whole class. In this section, we give some general guidelines for oral presentations with ELLs. We then share ideas for helping students develop their presentation skills and describe specific ways we scaffold both short and long oral presentations.

We keep the following guidelines in mind when incorporating oral presentations into ELL instruction:

oral presentation checklist

Length —We have students develop and deliver short presentations (usually 2-4 minutes) on a regular basis so they can practice their presentation skills with smaller, less overwhelming tasks. These presentations are often to another student or a small group. Once or twice a semester, students do a longer presentation (usually 5-8 minutes), many times with a partner or in a small group.

Novelty —Mixing up how students present (in small groups, in pairs, individually) and what they use to present (a poster, a paper placed under the document camera, props, a slide presentation, etc.) can increase engagement for students and the teacher!

Whole Class Processing -- We want to avoid students “tuning out” during oral presentations. Not only can it be frustrating for the speakers, but students also miss out on valuable listening practice. During oral presentations, and in any activity, we want to maximize the probability that all students are thinking and learning all the time. Jim Peterson and Ted Appel, administrators with whom we’ve worked closely, call this “whole class processing” (Ferlazzo, 2011, August 16) and it is also known as active participation. All students can be encouraged to actively participate in oral presentations by being given a listening task-- taking notes on a graphic organizer, providing written feedback to the speaker, using a checklist to evaluate presenters, etc.

Language Support —It is critical to provide ELLs, especially at the lower levels of English proficiency, with language support for oral presentations. In other words, thinking about what vocabulary, language features and organizational structures they may need, and then providing students with scaffolding, like speaking frames and graphic organizers. Oral presentations can also provide an opportunity for students to practice their summarizing skills. When students are presenting information on a topic they have researched, we remind them to summarize using their own words and to give credit when using someone else’s words.

Technology Support —It can’t be assumed that students have experience using technology tools in presentations. We find it most helpful using simple tools that are easy for students to learn (like Powerpoint without all the “bells and whistles” or Google Slides). We also emphasize to students that digital media should be used to help the audience understand what they are saying and not just to make a presentation flashy or pretty. We also share with our students what is known as “The Picture Superiority Effect”-- a body of research showing that people are better able to learn and recall information presented as pictures as opposed to just being presented with words (Kagan, 2013).

Groups -- Giving ELLs the opportunity to work and present in small groups is helpful in several ways. Presenting as a group (as opposed to by yourself) can help students feel less anxious. It also offers language-building opportunities as students communicate to develop and practice their presentations. Creating new knowledge as a group promotes collaboration and language acquisition--an ideal equation for a successful ELL classroom!

Teacher feedback/student evaluation --The focus of oral presentations with ELL students should be on the practice and skills they are gaining, not on the grade or “score” they are earning. Teachers can give out a simple rubric before students create their presentations. Then students can keep these expectations in mind as they develop and practice their presentations. The teacher, or classmates, can then use the rubric to offer feedback to the speaker. We also often ask students to reflect on their own presentation and complete the rubric as a form of self-assessment. Figure 30.1 – “Presentation Peer Evaluation Rubric” , developed by talented student teacher Kevin Inlay (who is now a teacher in his own classroom), is a simple rubric we used to improve group presentations in our ELL World History class.

oral presentation checklist

Teaching Presentation Skills

We use the following two lesson ideas to explicitly teach how to develop effective presentation skills:

LESSON ONE: Speaking and Listening Do’s and Don’ts

We help our students understand and practice general presentation skills through an activity we call Speaking and Listening “Do’s and Don’ts.” We usually spread this lesson out among two class periods.

We first ask students to create a simple T-chart by folding a piece of paper in half and labeling one side “Do” and the other side “Don’t.” We then post Figure 30.2 “Speaking Do’s and Don’ts” on the document camera and display the first statement (the rest we cover with a blank sheet of paper).

We read the first statement, “Make eye contact with the audience,” and ask students if this is something they want to do when they are giving a presentation or if it is something they don’t want to do. Students write the statement where they think it belongs--under the “Do” column or “Don’t” Column. Students then share their answer with a partner and discuss why they put it in that column. After calling on a few pairs to share with the class, we move down the list repeating the same process of categorizing each statement as a “Do” or a “Don’t.” Students write it on their chart and discuss why it should be placed there.

After categorizing the statements for speaking, we give students Figure 30.3 “Listening Do’s and Don’ts .” We tell students to work in pairs to categorize the statements as something they do or something they don’t want to do when listening to a student presentation. This time, we ask students to make a quick poster with the headings “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for Listening. Under each heading students must list the corresponding statements--the teacher can circulate to check for accuracy. Students are asked to talk about why each statement belongs in each category and should be prepared to share their reasoning with the class. Students must also choose one “do” statement and one “don’t” statement to illustrate on their poster. Students can present their posters in small groups or with the whole class. This serves as a great opportunity to apply the speaking and listening “do’s” they just reviewed and heightens their awareness of the “don’ts!”

oral presentation checklist

A fun twist, that also serves as a good review on a subsequent day, is to ask groups of students to pick two or three “do’s” and “don’ts” from both Speaking and Listening to act out in front of the class.

LESSON TWO Slide Presentations Concept Attainment

We periodically ask students to make slide presentations using PowerPoint or Google Slides to give them practice with developing visual aids (see the Home Culture activity later in this section). We show students how to make better slides, along with giving students the language support they may need in the form of an outline or sentence starters. An easy and effective way to do this is through Concept Attainment.

Concept Attainment involves the teacher identifying both "good" and "bad" examples of the intended learning objective. In this case, we use a PowerPoint containing three “good” slides and three “bad” ones (see them at The Best Resources For Teaching Students The Difference Between A Good and a Bad Slide ).

We start by showing students the first example of a “good” or “yes” slide (containing very little text and two images) and saying, “This is a yes.” However, we don’t explain why it is a “yes.” Then we show a “bad” or “no” example of a slide (containing multiple images randomly placed with a very “busy background”), saying, “This is a no” without explaining why. Students are then asked to think about them, and share with a partner why they think one is a "yes" and one is a "no."

At this point, we make a quick chart on a large sheet of paper (students can make individual charts on a piece of paper) and ask students to list the good and bad qualities they have observed so far. For example, under the “Good/Yes” column it might say “Has less words and the background is simple” and under the “Bad/No” column “Has too many pictures and the background is distracting.”

We then show the second “yes” example (containing one image with a short amount of text in a clear font) and the “no” example (containing way too much text and using a less clear font style). Students repeat the “think-pair-share” process and then the class again discusses what students are noticing about the “yes” and “no” examples. Then they add these observations to their chart.

Students repeat the whole process a final time with the third examples. The third “yes” example slide contains one image, minimal text and one bullet point. The third “no” example, on the other hand, contains multiple bullet points.

To reinforce this lesson at a later date, the teacher could show students more examples, or students could look for more “yes” and “no” examples online. They could continue to add more qualities of good and bad slides to their chart. See the Technology Connections section for links to good and bad PowerPoint examples, including the PowerPoint we use for this Concept Attainment lesson.

You can learn more about other presentations that support public speaking, such as home culture presentations, speed dating, talking points, top 5 and PechaKucha Book talks in our book, “ The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox: Hundreds of Practical Ideas to Support Your Students .”

oral presentation checklist

Larry Ferlazzo has taught English Language Learners, mainstream and International Baccalaureate students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento for 15 years. He has authored eight books on education, hosts a popular blog for educators, and  writes a weekly teacher advice column for Education Week Teacher .  He was a community organizer for 19 years prior to becoming a high school teacher.

oral presentation checklist

Katie Hull Sypnieski has worked with English Language Learners at the secondary level for over 20 years.  She currently teaches middle school ELA and ELD at Rosa Parks K-8 School in Sacramento, California. She is a teaching consultant with the Area 3 Writing Project at the University of California, Davis and has leads professional development for teachers of ELLs. She is co-author (with Larry Ferlazzo) of The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide and Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners .


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