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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 ,
  • 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
  • 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

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What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

  • Carmine Gallo

importance of oral presentation in points

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.

importance of oral presentation in points

  • 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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Effective Oral Presentations

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Verbally (and as a general rule), do not write down and memorize or read your full text, because then your presentation will sound like what it is: a recited written text. Instead, memorize the outline of your presentation — that is, a tree structure of main points and subpoints — and speak ex tempore, reinventing the words as you go along. As you do, you will occasionally need to think about what to say next and find the most appropriate words to say it. Instead of using filler words ( um , er , you know , I mean , etc.), simply pause. If you say um , you get about half a second of thinking time and the audience is likely to notice the um and be irritated by it. If you keep silent, you can get up to two or three seconds of thinking time without the audience noticing anything. Even if attendees do notice the silence, they will simply think that you are choosing your words carefully — and there is nothing wrong with that.

Despite pointing often at the screen, Marie nicely faces the audience with her body at all times, keeps her hands down between gestures, and maintains eye contact with the attendees. Transcript Vocally, vary the tone, rate, and volume of your voice as a function of the meaning, complexity, and importance of what you are saying. You need not invent a new intonation pattern: You simply need to amplify your normal pattern.

Visually, control your body. Adopt a stable, confident position; move only when you have a positive reason to do so (for example, move closer to the audience for taking questions), not when your body seems to ask for it. When you make a gesture, make it large and deliberate; between gestures, bring your hands down and do not fidget. Establish eye contact: Engage the audience by looking them straight in the eyes.

At all times, make sure you address the audience. Even if you have slides, tell the audience your story in a stand-alone way; do not just explain your slides. In particular, anticipate your slides. You should know at all times what your next slide is about so you can insert an appropriate transition.

Delivering as a non-native speaker

To keep the audience engaged , Jean-luc emphasizes his points with facial expressions, purposeful gestures, and — especially — a high dynamic range in his vocal delivery. Transcript If you are a non-native speaker of English, you may find it more challenging to speak ex tempore in English than in your native language. Still, even imperfect extemporaneous English is more likely to engage the audience than reciting a more polished, less spontaneous written text. To improve your delivery and overall presentation as a non-native speaker, practice more, pace yourself, and support your spoken discourse with appropriate slides.

While all speakers benefit from practicing their presentations multiple times, consider investing more time in such practice if you are less familiar with the language. Practicing helps you identify missing vocabulary, including key technical terms (which are difficult to circumvent), and express your ideas more fluently. As you practice, you may want to prepare a list of difficult words (to review on the day of your presentation) or write down an occasional complex yet crucial sentence. Still, do not feel bound to what you write down. These notes should be a help, not a constraint.

Practicing in front of an audience (a few colleagues, for example) can help you correct or refine your pronunciation. If you are unsure how to pronounce some words or phrases, you can ask native speakers in advance or check online dictionaries that offer phonetic spelling or audio rendering. Still, you may be unaware of certain words you mispronounce; a practice audience can point these words out to you if you invite it to do so.

During your presentation, pace yourself. As a non-native speaker, you may feel you need to search for your words more often or for a longer time than in your native language, but the mechanism is the same. Do not let this challenge pressure you. Give yourself the time you need to express your ideas clearly. Silence is not your enemy; it is your friend.

Pacing yourself also means speaking more slowly than you otherwise might, especially if you have an accent in English. Accents are common among non-native speakers — and among specific groups of native speakers, too — and they are not a problem as long as they are mild. Often, they are experienced as charming. Still, they take some getting used to. Remember to slow down, especially at the beginning of a presentation, so your audience can get used to your accent, whether native or not.

Handling stage fright and mishaps

Most speakers, even experienced ones, are nervous before or during an oral presentation. Such stage fright is normal and even reassuring: It shows that you care, and you should care if you want to deliver an effective presentation. Accordingly, accept your stage fright rather than feeling guilty about it. Instead of trying to suppress nervousness, strive to focus your nervous energy in your voice, your gestures, and your eye contact. Do not let it dissipate into entropy, such as by using filler words or engaging in nervous mannerisms.

Among the many ways to keep your nerves under control, perhaps the most effective one is to focus constructively on your purpose at all times. Before your presentation, eliminate all the unknowns: Prepare your presentation well, identify (or even meet) your audience, and know the room. During the presentation, do what it takes to get your message across, even if it means doing something differently than you had planned. Have a positive attitude about the presentation at all times: Visualize what you want to achieve, not what you want to avoid.

Even with careful preparation, mishaps can occur. For example, technology may fail, you may forget what you wanted to say, or you may accidentally say the wrong thing. As a rule, do not apologize for what happens — neither in advance nor after the fact. Although well-meant, such apologies provide no benefit to the audience: They are noise. If you can do something about the problem, such as fix the technology or insert what you forgot later in the presentation, concentrate on doing so instead of apologizing. If the problem is out of your control, then there is no need to apologize for it. As a specific example, if you feel your command of English is poor, then do what you can in advance to improve it; in particular, practice your presentation thoroughly. Then, on the day of the presentation, do your best with the command you have, but do not apologize at the beginning of the presentation for what you think is poor English. This apology will not solve anything, and it gives the attendees a negative image of you. Rather, let the attendees judge for themselves whether your command of English is sufficient (perhaps it is, despite what you might think). In other words, focus on delivering results, not excuses.

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Powerful and Effective Presentation Skills: More in Demand Now Than Ever

importance of oral presentation in points

When we talk with our L&D colleagues from around the globe, we often hear that presentation skills training is one of the top opportunities they’re looking to provide their learners. And this holds true whether their learners are individual contributors, people managers, or senior leaders. This is not surprising.

Effective communications skills are a powerful career activator, and most of us are called upon to communicate in some type of formal presentation mode at some point along the way.

For instance, you might be asked to brief management on market research results, walk your team through a new process, lay out the new budget, or explain a new product to a client or prospect. Or you may want to build support for a new idea, bring a new employee into the fold, or even just present your achievements to your manager during your performance review.

And now, with so many employees working from home or in hybrid mode, and business travel in decline, there’s a growing need to find new ways to make effective presentations when the audience may be fully virtual or a combination of in person and remote attendees.

Whether you’re making a standup presentation to a large live audience, or a sit-down one-on-one, whether you’re delivering your presentation face to face or virtually, solid presentation skills matter.

Even the most seasoned and accomplished presenters may need to fine-tune or update their skills. Expectations have changed over the last decade or so. Yesterday’s PowerPoint which primarily relied on bulleted points, broken up by the occasional clip-art image, won’t cut it with today’s audience.

The digital revolution has revolutionized the way people want to receive information. People expect presentations that are more visually interesting. They expect to see data, metrics that support assertions. And now, with so many previously in-person meetings occurring virtually, there’s an entirely new level of technical preparedness required.

The leadership development tools and the individual learning opportunities you’re providing should include presentation skills training that covers both the evergreen fundamentals and the up-to-date capabilities that can make or break a presentation.

So, just what should be included in solid presentation skills training? Here’s what I think.

The fundamentals will always apply When it comes to making a powerful and effective presentation, the fundamentals will always apply. You need to understand your objective. Is it strictly to convey information, so that your audience’s knowledge is increased? Is it to persuade your audience to take some action? Is it to convince people to support your idea? Once you understand what your objective is, you need to define your central message. There may be a lot of things you want to share with your audience during your presentation, but find – and stick with – the core, the most important point you want them to walk away with. And make sure that your message is clear and compelling.

You also need to tailor your presentation to your audience. Who are they and what might they be expecting? Say you’re giving a product pitch to a client. A technical team may be interested in a lot of nitty-gritty product detail. The business side will no doubt be more interested in what returns they can expect on their investment.

Another consideration is the setting: is this a formal presentation to a large audience with questions reserved for the end, or a presentation in a smaller setting where there’s the possibility for conversation throughout? Is your presentation virtual or in-person? To be delivered individually or as a group? What time of the day will you be speaking? Will there be others speaking before you and might that impact how your message will be received?

Once these fundamentals are established, you’re in building mode. What are the specific points you want to share that will help you best meet your objective and get across your core message? Now figure out how to convey those points in the clearest, most straightforward, and succinct way. This doesn’t mean that your presentation has to be a series of clipped bullet points. No one wants to sit through a presentation in which the presenter reads through what’s on the slide. You can get your points across using stories, fact, diagrams, videos, props, and other types of media.

Visual design matters While you don’t want to clutter up your presentation with too many visual elements that don’t serve your objective and can be distracting, using a variety of visual formats to convey your core message will make your presentation more memorable than slides filled with text. A couple of tips: avoid images that are cliched and overdone. Be careful not to mix up too many different types of images. If you’re using photos, stick with photos. If you’re using drawn images, keep the style consistent. When data are presented, stay consistent with colors and fonts from one type of chart to the next. Keep things clear and simple, using data to support key points without overwhelming your audience with too much information. And don’t assume that your audience is composed of statisticians (unless, of course, it is).

When presenting qualitative data, brief videos provide a way to engage your audience and create emotional connection and impact. Word clouds are another way to get qualitative data across.

Practice makes perfect You’ve pulled together a perfect presentation. But it likely won’t be perfect unless it’s well delivered. So don’t forget to practice your presentation ahead of time. Pro tip: record yourself as you practice out loud. This will force you to think through what you’re going to say for each element of your presentation. And watching your recording will help you identify your mistakes—such as fidgeting, using too many fillers (such as “umm,” or “like”), or speaking too fast.

A key element of your preparation should involve anticipating any technical difficulties. If you’ve embedded videos, make sure they work. If you’re presenting virtually, make sure that the lighting is good, and that your speaker and camera are working. Whether presenting in person or virtually, get there early enough to work out any technical glitches before your presentation is scheduled to begin. Few things are a bigger audience turn-off than sitting there watching the presenter struggle with the delivery mechanisms!

Finally, be kind to yourself. Despite thorough preparation and practice, sometimes, things go wrong, and you need to recover in the moment, adapt, and carry on. It’s unlikely that you’ll have caused any lasting damage and the important thing is to learn from your experience, so your next presentation is stronger.

How are you providing presentation skills training for your learners?

Manika Gandhi is Senior Learning Design Manager at Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning. Email her at [email protected] .

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In the workplace, and during your university career, you will likely be asked to give oral presentations. An oral presentation is a key persuasive tool. If you work in marketing, for example, you will often be asked to “pitch” campaigns to clients. Even though these pitches could happen over email, the face-to-face element allows marketers to connect with the client, respond to questions, demonstrate their knowledge and bring their ideas to life through storytelling.

In this section, we’ll focus on public speaking. While this section focuses on public speaking advocacy, you can bring these tools to everything from a meeting where you’re telling your colleagues about the results of a project to a keynote speech at a conference.

Imagine your favourite public speaker. When Meggie (one of the authors of this section) imagines a memorable speaker, she often thinks of her high school English teacher, Mrs. Permeswaran. You may be skeptical of her choice, but Mrs. Permeswaran captured the students’ attention daily. How? By providing information through stories and examples that felt relatable, reasonable, and relevant. Even with a room of students, Meggie often felt that the English teacher was just talking to her . Students worked hard, too, to listen, using note-taking and subtle nods (or confused eyebrows) to communicate that they cared about what was being said.

Now imagine your favourite public speaker. Who comes to mind? A famous comedian like Jen Kirkman? An ac

Laverne Cox speaking at the Missouri Theatre

tivist like Laverne Cox? Perhaps you picture Barack Obama. What makes them memorable for you? Were they funny? Relatable? Dynamic? Confident? Try to think beyond what they said to how they made you feel . What they said certainly matters, but we are often less inclined to remember the what without a powerful how — how they delivered their message; how their performance implicated us or called us in; how they made us feel or how they asked us to think or act differently.

In this chapter, we provide an introduction to public speaking by exploring what it is and why it’s impactful as a communication process. Specifically, we invite you to consider public speaking as a type of advocacy. When you select information to share with others, you are advocating for the necessity of that information to be heard. You are calling on the audience and calling them in to listen to your perspective. Even the English teacher above was advocating that sentence structure and proper writing were important ideas to integrate. She was a trusted speaker, too, given her credibility.

Before we continue our conversation around advocacy, let’s first start with a brief definition of public speaking.

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An important function of being an academic faculty member is building an academic reputation, and one of the best ways to build a reputation is by giving scholarly presentations, particularly those that are oral. Earning the reputation of someone who can give an excellent talk often results in being invited to give keynote addresses at regional and national conferences, which increases a faculty member’s visibility along with his or her area of research. Given the importance of oral presentations, it is surprising that few graduate or medical programs provide courses on how to give a talk. This is unfortunate because there are skills that can be learned and strategies that can be used to improve one’s ability to give an interesting, well-received oral presentation. To that end, the aim of this chapter is to provide faculty with best practices and tips on preparing and giving an academic oral presentation.

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24 Oral Presentations

Many academic courses require students to present information to their peers and teachers in a classroom setting. This is usually in the form of a short talk, often, but not always, accompanied by visual aids such as a power point. Students often become nervous at the idea of speaking in front of a group.

This chapter is divided under five headings to establish a quick reference guide for oral presentations.

importance of oral presentation in points

A beginner, who may have little or no experience, should read each section in full.

importance of oral presentation in points

For the intermediate learner, who has some experience with oral presentations, review the sections you feel you need work on.

importance of oral presentation in points

The Purpose of an Oral Presentation

Generally, oral presentation is public speaking, either individually or as a group, the aim of which is to provide information, entertain, persuade the audience, or educate. In an academic setting, oral presentations are often assessable tasks with a marking criteria. Therefore, students are being evaluated on their capacity to speak and deliver relevant information within a set timeframe. An oral presentation differs from a speech in that it usually has visual aids and may involve audience interaction; ideas are both shown and explained . A speech, on the other hand, is a formal verbal discourse addressing an audience, without visual aids and audience participation.

Types of Oral Presentations

Individual presentation.

  • Breathe and remember that everyone gets nervous when speaking in public. You are in control. You’ve got this!
  • Know your content. The number one way to have a smooth presentation is to know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Write it down and rehearse it until you feel relaxed and confident and do not have to rely heavily on notes while speaking.
  • Eliminate ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’ from your oral presentation vocabulary. Speak slowly and clearly and pause when you need to. It is not a contest to see who can race through their presentation the fastest or fit the most content within the time limit. The average person speaks at a rate of 125 words per minute. Therefore, if you are required to speak for 10 minutes, you will need to write and practice 1250 words for speaking. Ensure you time yourself and get it right.
  • Ensure you meet the requirements of the marking criteria, including non-verbal communication skills. Make good eye contact with the audience; watch your posture; don’t fidget.
  • Know the language requirements. Check if you are permitted to use a more casual, conversational tone and first-person pronouns, or do you need to keep a more formal, academic tone?

Group Presentation

  • All of the above applies, however you are working as part of a group. So how should you approach group work?
  • Firstly, if you are not assigned to a group by your lecturer/tutor, choose people based on their availability and accessibility. If you cannot meet face-to-face you may schedule online meetings.
  • Get to know each other. It’s easier to work with friends than strangers.
  • Also consider everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. This will involve a discussion that will often lead to task or role allocations within the group, however, everyone should be carrying an equal level of the workload.
  • Some group members may be more focused on getting the script written, with a different section for each team member to say. Others may be more experienced with the presentation software and skilled in editing and refining power point slides so they are appropriate for the presentation. Use one visual aid (one set of power point slides) for the whole group. Take turns presenting information and ideas.
  • Be patient and tolerant with each other’s learning style and personality. Do not judge people in your group based on their personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender, age, or cultural background.
  • Rehearse as a group, more than once. Keep rehearsing until you have seamless transitions between speakers. Ensure you thank the previous speaker and introduce the one following you. If you are rehearsing online, but have to present in-person, try to schedule some face-to-face time that will allow you to physically practice using the technology and classroom space of the campus.
  • For further information on working as a group see:

Working as a group – my.UQ – University of Queensland

Writing Your Presentation

Approach the oral presentation task just as you would any other assignment. Review the available topics, do some background reading and research to ensure you can talk about the topic for the appropriate length of time and in an informed manner. Break the question down as demonstrated in Chapter 17 Breaking Down an Assignment. Where it differs from writing an essay is that the information in the written speech must align with the visual aid. Therefore, with each idea, concept or new information you write, think about how this might be visually displayed through minimal text and the occasional use of images. Proceed to write your ideas in full, but consider that not all information will end up on a power point slide. After all, it is you who are doing the presenting , not the power point. Your presentation skills are being evaluated; this may include a small percentage for the actual visual aid. This is also why it is important that EVERYONE has a turn at speaking during the presentation, as each person receives their own individual grade.

Using Visual Aids

A whole chapter could be written about the visual aids alone, therefore I will simply refer to the key points as noted by my.UQ

To keep your audience engaged and help them to remember what you have to say, you may want to use visual aids, such as slides.

When designing slides for your presentation, make sure:

  • any text is brief, grammatically correct and easy to read. Use dot points and space between lines, plus large font size (18-20 point).
  • Resist the temptation to use dark slides with a light-coloured font; it is hard on the eyes
  • if images and graphs are used to support your main points, they should be non-intrusive on the written work

Images and Graphs

  • Your audience will respond better to slides that deliver information quickly – images and graphs are a good way to do this. However, they are not always appropriate or necessary.

When choosing images, it’s important to find images that:

  • support your presentation and aren’t just decorative
  • are high quality, however, using large HD picture files can make the power point file too large overall for submission via Turnitin
  • you have permission to use (Creative Commons license, royalty-free, own images, or purchased)
  • suggested sites for free-to-use images: Openclipart – Clipping Culture ; Beautiful Free Images & Pictures | Unsplash ; Pxfuel – Royalty free stock photos free download ; When we share, everyone wins – Creative Commons

This is a general guide. The specific requirements for your course may be different. Make sure you read through any assignment requirements carefully and ask your lecturer or tutor if you’re unsure how to meet them.

Using Visual Aids Effectively

Too often, students make an impressive power point though do not understand how to use it effectively to enhance their presentation.

  • Rehearse with the power point.
  • Keep the slides synchronized with your presentation; change them at the appropriate time.
  • Refer to the information on the slides. Point out details; comment on images; note facts such as data.
  • Don’t let the power point just be something happening in the background while you speak.
  • Write notes in your script to indicate when to change slides or which slide number the information applies to.
  • Pace yourself so you are not spending a disproportionate amount of time on slides at the beginning of the presentation and racing through them at the end.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Nonverbal Communication

It is clear by the name that nonverbal communication are the ways that we communicate without speaking. Many people are already aware of this, however here are a few tips that relate specifically to oral presentations.

Being confident and looking confident are two different things. Fake it until you make it.

  • Avoid slouching or leaning – standing up straight instantly gives you an air of confidence.
  • Move! When you’re glued to one spot as a presenter, you’re not perceived as either confident or dynamic. Use the available space effectively, though do not exaggerate your natural movements so you look ridiculous.
  • If you’re someone who “speaks with their hands”, resist the urge to constantly wave them around. They detract from your message. Occasional gestures are fine.
  • Be animated, but don’t fidget. Ask someone to watch you rehearse and identify if you have any nervous, repetitive habits you may be unaware of, for example, constantly touching or ‘finger-combing’ your hair, rubbing your face.
  • Avoid ‘voice fidgets’ also. If you needs to cough or clear your throat, do so once then take a drink of water.
  • Avoid distractions. No phone turned on. Water available but off to one side.
  • Keep your distance. Don’t hover over front-row audience members; this can be intimidating.
  • Have a cheerful demeaner. You do not need to grin like a Cheshire cat throughout the presentation, yet your facial expression should be relaxed and welcoming.
  • Maintain an engaging TONE in your voice. Sometimes it’s not what you’re saying that is putting your audience to sleep, it’s your monotonous tone. Vary your tone and pace.
  • Don’t read your presentation – PRESENT it! Internalize your script so you can speak with confidence and only occasionally refer to your notes if needed.
  • Lastly, make good eye contact with your audience members so they know you are talking with them, not at them. You’re having a conversation. Watch the link below for some great speaking tips, including eye contact.

Below is a video of some great tips about public speaking from Amy Wolff at TEDx Portland [1]

  • Wolff. A. [The Oregonion]. (2016, April 9). 5 public speaking tips from TEDxPortland speaker coach [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNOXZumCXNM&ab_channel=TheOregonian ↵

communication of thought by word

Academic Writing Skills Copyright © 2021 by Patricia Williamson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Importance of Oral Presentations

In the workplace, and during your university career, you will likely be asked to give oral presentations. An oral presentation is a key persuasive tool. If you work in marketing, for example, you will often be asked to “pitch” campaigns to clients. Even though these pitches could happen over email, the face-to-face element allows marketers to connect with the client, respond to questions, demonstrate their knowledge and bring their ideas to life through storytelling.

In this section, we’ll focus on public speaking. While this section focuses on public speaking advocacy, you can bring these tools to everything from a meeting where you’re telling your colleagues about the results of a project to a keynote speech at a conference.

Imagine your favourite public speaker. When Meggie (one of the authors of this section) imagines a memorable speaker, she often thinks of her high school English teacher, Mrs. Permeswaran. You may be skeptical of her choice, but Mrs. Permeswaran captured the students’ attention daily. How? By providing information through stories and examples that felt relatable, reasonable, and relevant. Even with a room of students, Meggie often felt that the English teacher was just talking to  her . Students worked hard, too, to listen, using note-taking and subtle nods (or confused eyebrows) to communicate that they cared about what was being said.

Now imagine your favourite public speaker. Who comes to mind? A famous comedian like Jen Kirkman? An ac

Laverne Cox speaking at the Missouri Theatre

tivist like Laverne Cox? Perhaps you picture Barack Obama. What makes them memorable for you? Were they funny? Relatable? Dynamic? Confident? Try to think beyond  what  they said to  how they made you feel . What they said certainly matters, but we are often less inclined to remember the  what  without a powerful  how — how they delivered their message; how their performance implicated us or called us in; how they made us feel or how they asked us to think or act differently.

In this chapter, we provide an introduction to public speaking by exploring what it is and why it’s impactful as a communication process. Specifically, we invite you to consider public speaking as a type of advocacy. When you select information to share with others, you are advocating for the necessity of that information to be heard. You are calling on the audience and calling them in to listen to your perspective. Even the English teacher above was advocating that sentence structure and proper writing were important ideas to integrate. She was a trusted speaker, too, given her credibility.

Before we continue our conversation around advocacy, let’s first start with a brief definition of public speaking.

Business Writing For Everyone Copyright © 2021 by Arley Cruthers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples

August 3, 2018 - Dom Barnard

For many people the thought of delivering a presentation is a daunting task and brings about a  great deal of nerves . However, if you take some time to understand how effective presentations are structured and then apply this structure to your own presentation, you’ll appear much more confident and relaxed.

Here is our complete guide for structuring your presentation, with examples at the end of the article to demonstrate these points.

Why is structuring a presentation so important?

If you’ve ever sat through a great presentation, you’ll have left feeling either inspired or informed on a given topic. This isn’t because the speaker was the most knowledgeable or motivating person in the world. Instead, it’s because they know how to structure presentations – they have crafted their message in a logical and simple way that has allowed the audience can keep up with them and take away key messages.

Research has supported this, with studies showing that audiences retain structured information  40% more accurately  than unstructured information.

In fact, not only is structuring a presentation important for the benefit of the audience’s understanding, it’s also important for you as the speaker. A good structure helps you remain calm, stay on topic, and avoid any awkward silences.

What will affect your presentation structure?

Generally speaking, there is a natural flow that any decent presentation will follow which we will go into shortly. However, you should be aware that all presentation structures will be different in their own unique way and this will be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you need to deliver any demonstrations
  • How  knowledgeable the audience  already is on the given subject
  • How much interaction you want from the audience
  • Any time constraints there are for your talk
  • What setting you are in
  • Your ability to use any kinds of visual assistance

Before choosing the presentation’s structure answer these questions first:

  • What is your presentation’s aim?
  • Who are the audience?
  • What are the main points your audience should remember afterwards?

When reading the points below, think critically about what things may cause your presentation structure to be slightly different. You can add in certain elements and add more focus to certain moments if that works better for your speech.

Good presentation structure is important for a presentation

What is the typical presentation structure?

This is the usual flow of a presentation, which covers all the vital sections and is a good starting point for yours. It allows your audience to easily follow along and sets out a solid structure you can add your content to.

1. Greet the audience and introduce yourself

Before you start delivering your talk, introduce yourself to the audience and clarify who you are and your relevant expertise. This does not need to be long or incredibly detailed, but will help build an immediate relationship between you and the audience. It gives you the chance to briefly clarify your expertise and why you are worth listening to. This will help establish your ethos so the audience will trust you more and think you’re credible.

Read our tips on  How to Start a Presentation Effectively

2. Introduction

In the introduction you need to explain the subject and purpose of your presentation whilst gaining the audience’s interest and confidence. It’s sometimes helpful to think of your introduction as funnel-shaped to help filter down your topic:

  • Introduce your general topic
  • Explain your topic area
  • State the issues/challenges in this area you will be exploring
  • State your presentation’s purpose – this is the basis of your presentation so ensure that you provide a statement explaining how the topic will be treated, for example, “I will argue that…” or maybe you will “compare”, “analyse”, “evaluate”, “describe” etc.
  • Provide a statement of what you’re hoping the outcome of the presentation will be, for example, “I’m hoping this will be provide you with…”
  • Show a preview of the organisation of your presentation

In this section also explain:

  • The length of the talk.
  • Signal whether you want audience interaction – some presenters prefer the audience to ask questions throughout whereas others allocate a specific section for this.
  • If it applies, inform the audience whether to take notes or whether you will be providing handouts.

The way you structure your introduction can depend on the amount of time you have been given to present: a  sales pitch  may consist of a quick presentation so you may begin with your conclusion and then provide the evidence. Conversely, a speaker presenting their idea for change in the world would be better suited to start with the evidence and then conclude what this means for the audience.

Keep in mind that the main aim of the introduction is to grab the audience’s attention and connect with them.

3. The main body of your talk

The main body of your talk needs to meet the promises you made in the introduction. Depending on the nature of your presentation, clearly segment the different topics you will be discussing, and then work your way through them one at a time – it’s important for everything to be organised logically for the audience to fully understand. There are many different ways to organise your main points, such as, by priority, theme, chronologically etc.

  • Main points should be addressed one by one with supporting evidence and examples.
  • Before moving on to the next point you should provide a mini-summary.
  • Links should be clearly stated between ideas and you must make it clear when you’re moving onto the next point.
  • Allow time for people to take relevant notes and stick to the topics you have prepared beforehand rather than straying too far off topic.

When planning your presentation write a list of main points you want to make and ask yourself “What I am telling the audience? What should they understand from this?” refining your answers this way will help you produce clear messages.

4. Conclusion

In presentations the conclusion is frequently underdeveloped and lacks purpose which is a shame as it’s the best place to reinforce your messages. Typically, your presentation has a specific goal – that could be to convert a number of the audience members into customers, lead to a certain number of enquiries to make people knowledgeable on specific key points, or to motivate them towards a shared goal.

Regardless of what that goal is, be sure to summarise your main points and their implications. This clarifies the overall purpose of your talk and reinforces your reason for being there.

Follow these steps:

  • Signal that it’s nearly the end of your presentation, for example, “As we wrap up/as we wind down the talk…”
  • Restate the topic and purpose of your presentation – “In this speech I wanted to compare…”
  • Summarise the main points, including their implications and conclusions
  • Indicate what is next/a call to action/a thought-provoking takeaway
  • Move on to the last section

5. Thank the audience and invite questions

Conclude your talk by thanking the audience for their time and invite them to  ask any questions  they may have. As mentioned earlier, personal circumstances will affect the structure of your presentation.

Many presenters prefer to make the Q&A session the key part of their talk and try to speed through the main body of the presentation. This is totally fine, but it is still best to focus on delivering some sort of initial presentation to set the tone and topics for discussion in the Q&A.

Questions being asked after a presentation

Other common presentation structures

The above was a description of a basic presentation, here are some more specific presentation layouts:


Use the demonstration structure when you have something useful to show. This is usually used when you want to show how a product works. Steve Jobs frequently used this technique in his presentations.

  • Explain why the product is valuable.
  • Describe why the product is necessary.
  • Explain what problems it can solve for the audience.
  • Demonstrate the product  to support what you’ve been saying.
  • Make suggestions of other things it can do to make the audience curious.


This structure is particularly useful in persuading the audience.

  • Briefly frame the issue.
  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it ‘s such a problem. Use logos and pathos for this – the logical and emotional appeals.
  • Provide the solution and explain why this would also help the audience.
  • Call to action – something you want the audience to do which is straightforward and pertinent to the solution.


As well as incorporating  stories in your presentation , you can organise your whole presentation as a story. There are lots of different type of story structures you can use – a popular choice is the monomyth – the hero’s journey. In a monomyth, a hero goes on a difficult journey or takes on a challenge – they move from the familiar into the unknown. After facing obstacles and ultimately succeeding the hero returns home, transformed and with newfound wisdom.

Storytelling for Business Success  webinar , where well-know storyteller Javier Bernad shares strategies for crafting compelling narratives.

Another popular choice for using a story to structure your presentation is in media ras (in the middle of thing). In this type of story you launch right into the action by providing a snippet/teaser of what’s happening and then you start explaining the events that led to that event. This is engaging because you’re starting your story at the most exciting part which will make the audience curious – they’ll want to know how you got there.

  • Great storytelling: Examples from Alibaba Founder, Jack Ma

Remaining method

The remaining method structure is good for situations where you’re presenting your perspective on a controversial topic which has split people’s opinions.

  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it’s such a problem – use logos and pathos.
  • Rebut your opponents’ solutions  – explain why their solutions could be useful because the audience will see this as fair and will therefore think you’re trustworthy, and then explain why you think these solutions are not valid.
  • After you’ve presented all the alternatives provide your solution, the remaining solution. This is very persuasive because it looks like the winning idea, especially with the audience believing that you’re fair and trustworthy.


When delivering presentations it’s important for your words and ideas to flow so your audience can understand how everything links together and why it’s all relevant. This can be done  using speech transitions  which are words and phrases that allow you to smoothly move from one point to another so that your speech flows and your presentation is unified.

Transitions can be one word, a phrase or a full sentence – there are many different forms, here are some examples:

Moving from the introduction to the first point

Signify to the audience that you will now begin discussing the first main point:

  • Now that you’re aware of the overview, let’s begin with…
  • First, let’s begin with…
  • I will first cover…
  • My first point covers…
  • To get started, let’s look at…

Shifting between similar points

Move from one point to a similar one:

  • In the same way…
  • Likewise…
  • Equally…
  • This is similar to…
  • Similarly…

Internal summaries

Internal summarising consists of summarising before moving on to the next point. You must inform the audience:

  • What part of the presentation you covered – “In the first part of this speech we’ve covered…”
  • What the key points were – “Precisely how…”
  • How this links in with the overall presentation – “So that’s the context…”
  • What you’re moving on to – “Now I’d like to move on to the second part of presentation which looks at…”

Physical movement

You can move your body and your standing location when you transition to another point. The audience find it easier to follow your presentation and movement will increase their interest.

A common technique for incorporating movement into your presentation is to:

  • Start your introduction by standing in the centre of the stage.
  • For your first point you stand on the left side of the stage.
  • You discuss your second point from the centre again.
  • You stand on the right side of the stage for your third point.
  • The conclusion occurs in the centre.

Key slides for your presentation

Slides are a useful tool for most presentations: they can greatly assist in the delivery of your message and help the audience follow along with what you are saying. Key slides include:

  • An intro slide outlining your ideas
  • A  summary slide  with core points to remember
  • High quality image slides to supplement what you are saying

There are some presenters who choose not to use slides at all, though this is more of a rarity. Slides can be a powerful tool if used properly, but the problem is that many fail to do just that. Here are some golden rules to follow when using slides in a presentation:

  • Don’t over fill them  – your slides are there to assist your speech, rather than be the focal point. They should have as little information as possible, to avoid distracting people from your talk.
  • A picture says a thousand words  – instead of filling a slide with text, instead, focus on one or two images or diagrams to help support and explain the point you are discussing at that time.
  • Make them readable  – depending on the size of your audience, some may not be able to see small text or images, so make everything large enough to fill the space.
  • Don’t rush through slides  – give the audience enough time to digest each slide.

Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and author, suggests that slideshows should follow a  10-20-30 rule :

  • There should be a maximum of 10 slides – people rarely remember more than one concept afterwards so there’s no point overwhelming them with unnecessary information.
  • The presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes as this will leave time for questions and discussion.
  • The font size should be a minimum of 30pt because the audience reads faster than you talk so less information on the slides means that there is less chance of the audience being distracted.

Here are some additional resources for slide design:

  • 7 design tips for effective, beautiful PowerPoint presentations
  • 11 design tips for beautiful presentations
  • 10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea

Group Presentations

Group presentations are structured in the same way as presentations with one speaker but usually require more rehearsal and practices.  Clean transitioning between speakers  is very important in producing a presentation that flows well. One way of doing this consists of:

  • Briefly recap on what you covered in your section: “So that was a brief introduction on what health anxiety is and how it can affect somebody”
  • Introduce the next speaker in the team and explain what they will discuss: “Now Elnaz will talk about the prevalence of health anxiety.”
  • Then end by looking at the next speaker, gesturing towards them and saying their name: “Elnaz”.
  • The next speaker should acknowledge this with a quick: “Thank you Joe.”

From this example you can see how the different sections of the presentations link which makes it easier for the audience to follow and remain engaged.

Example of great presentation structure and delivery

Having examples of great presentations will help inspire your own structures, here are a few such examples, each unique and inspiring in their own way.

How Google Works – by Eric Schmidt

This presentation by ex-Google CEO  Eric Schmidt  demonstrates some of the most important lessons he and his team have learnt with regards to working with some of the most talented individuals they hired. The simplistic yet cohesive style of all of the slides is something to be appreciated. They are relatively straightforward, yet add power and clarity to the narrative of the presentation.

Start with why – by Simon Sinek

Since being released in 2009, this presentation has been viewed almost four million times all around the world. The message itself is very powerful, however, it’s not an idea that hasn’t been heard before. What makes this presentation so powerful is the simple message he is getting across, and the straightforward and understandable manner in which he delivers it. Also note that he doesn’t use any slides, just a whiteboard where he creates a simple diagram of his opinion.

The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout – by Rick Rigsby

Here’s an example of a presentation given by a relatively unknown individual looking to inspire the next generation of graduates. Rick’s presentation is unique in many ways compared to the two above. Notably, he uses no visual prompts and includes a great deal of humour.

However, what is similar is the structure he uses. He first introduces his message that the wisest man he knew was a third-grade dropout. He then proceeds to deliver his main body of argument, and in the end, concludes with his message. This powerful speech keeps the viewer engaged throughout, through a mixture of heart-warming sentiment, powerful life advice and engaging humour.

As you can see from the examples above, and as it has been expressed throughout, a great presentation structure means analysing the core message of your presentation. Decide on a key message you want to impart the audience with, and then craft an engaging way of delivering it.

By preparing a solid structure, and  practising your talk  beforehand, you can walk into the presentation with confidence and deliver a meaningful message to an interested audience.

It’s important for a presentation to be well-structured so it can have the most impact on your audience. An unstructured presentation can be difficult to follow and even frustrating to listen to. The heart of your speech are your main points supported by evidence and your transitions should assist the movement between points and clarify how everything is linked.

Research suggests that the audience remember the first and last things you say so your introduction and conclusion are vital for reinforcing your points. Essentially, ensure you spend the time structuring your presentation and addressing all of the sections.

Jerz's Literacy Weblog (est. 1999)

Oral presentation tips: how to deliver a speech for school or work.

Jerz >  Writing > [ Academic |  Technical ] This document briefly describes how to  write and deliver a formal oral presentation on an academic or professional subject. It should be useful for anyone who wants to know how to speak in public.

Note: by “formal presentation,” I don’t necessarily mean a Shakespeare monologue or a scientific treatise on robot-assisted microsurgery. Giving an oral presentation on  any subject–your favorite book, current events, a family story–can be “formal” and “technical” whenever its primary purpose is to communicate complex information.

The  content is the most obvious component of any oral presentation — after all, if you are talking, you had better have something worthwhile to say.  But a presentation is only as effective as its  delivery .

Part 1: Planning the Content

1.  Determine your goals. 2.  Prepare your material. 3.  Study a model. 4.  Arrange with your strongest points first . 5. Practice, practice, practice .

Part 2: Delivering the Content

6.  Make eye contact with your audience. 7. Engage actively with the audience. 8. A slide show is not a speech. 9.  Watch the time! 10.  Take questions in the middle, not the end?

1) Determine Your Goals as a Speaker


2) Prepare your material

Plan. Practice. Keep what’s good and try again. 

Good speakers usually aim to look like they are speaking effortlessly, tossing off words as they come to mind. What you don’t see is the preparation that paved the way for the polished performance. It’s all an act! You can do it too, if you plan ahead.

Once you know what your goal is, and you know what your audience wants, you can start strategizing. There is no single strategy that will guarantee success. How you plan depends on many variables.

How many minutes long is your speech? About how many words do you speak per minute?

Will your audience be lost if you use jargon? Will they feel talked down to if you spend time defining terms they already know?

Do you expect that your audience will disagree with you? (If so, you might need to give more examples and more evidence and spend more time addressing reasonable objections in order to sound convincing, which may mean talking a little faster.)

Do you expect your audience already agrees with the position you will take? (If so, they may check out if your speech simply rehashes arguments they already accept without question. What can you say to an audience that already agrees with you? Why would you listen to a speaker who is restating things you already accept as the truth?)

Graphics, inspirational quotations, and anecdotes are all well-respected methods of maintaining audience interest. However, Pinterest clip art, fancy computer transitions between slides, and vaudeville tricks get old pretty quickly (see Don McMillan’s hilarious “ Death by Powerpoint “), and they eat up time that you could use more effectively.

3) Study a Model

The internet is of course full of examples of good speeches, but the YouTube users who vote on videos may not have much in common with the audience who will hear your oral presentation.

Do you have access to speeches that your discourse community values? Your instructor or supervisor may not have ready access to video recordings from last year’s class or last quarter’s budget meeting, but you can pay attention to the speaking techniques deployed by people with authority in your field.

For instance, I have a colleague who never says, “This is taking too long, and I’m watching the clock, so let’s get on with it already.” Instead, this person says, “I’m conscious of everyone’s time, so shall we move on to the next item?”

Bear in mind that

  • if you have been assigned to deliver a speech that defends a position on a topic (such as, whether Huckleberry Finn should be taught in middle school)…
  • but your instructor usually refrains from stating any one answer is the best (preferring instead to present several viewpoints and letting the students decide for themselves)…
  • then your instructor’s open-ended lecture (intended to spark a discussion) is not a good model of a position statement (intended to showcase your ability to latch onto a specific solution).

While this handout aims to provide general tips, you should ignore any general tip that contradicts something specific you learn about the goals, context, or genre of the specific speech you are preparing.

General Model

Successful oral presentations typically share some basic characteristics, owing to the nature of the spoken word.

  • Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
  • Tell them what you told them.

When we read, we can go back and reread passages we skimmed over the first time, and we can skip ahead when we’re bored. In a live oral presentation, the audience can’t re-read or skip ahead. If the audience doesn’t know why they are listening to your anecdote about winning the spelling bee, or why they should care what version of the software was installed on the computer that you used to crunch your numbers, their attention will wander and it will be hard to get it back.

When we listen, we gratefully cling to orientation phrases that help us understand what the whole shape of a speech is, where we are within the overall structure, and when we are transitioning from one section to another.

Your specific occasion for delivering a speech may involve specific contextual details that don’t mesh with the general advice I’m providing here.

  • Introduction :   "I am Pinky J. Witzowitz from the U.S. Department of Bureaucracy, and I have been asked to speak for 20 minutes on 'The Government's Plan for Preventing Situation X in America's Heartland.'"
  • "Situation X is the worst thing that can happen to you and your family." [ Startling claim ; follow up by citing the source of this quote, or giving evidence that supports it.]
  • "It happened once to a family in Dubuque, and they were never heard from again." [ Anecdote ; follow up with details.]
  • "I am here today to tell you how to prevent this terrible tragedy from striking you." [ Demonstrates relevance ; move directly to your  road map ]
  • Main Content :  Put up a slide with topics to cover, a specific problem to solve, or a series of questions to answer. Promise that your talk will address the material on that slide. You might even return to that slide each time you start a new subsection, with the current place in the talk highlighted.
  • Questions/Comments from the Audience? Even though most people save the question period until the end, they lose the opportunity to modify their conclusion to address the interests of the audience.
  • Recap :  Our earnest “Situation X” speaker might give microencapsulated answers to all the questions on the main road map:  "We have learned that Situation X is a blah blah blah; that we should all care about it because yada, yada, yada..."
  • Wrap it up : After reminding the audience how all these factors fit together, the speaker might say,  "Now that you understand how the U.S. Department of Bureaucracy helps you keep Situation X out of your life, please take one of our pamphlets home to your family and put it by the telephone where you can get it in an emergency; your family will thank you."
  • Invite Questions :   If there is time, and if you haven’t already done so.

4) Arrange with Your Strongest Points First

In rare cases — such as when you are facing a hostile audience, you might want to start out by emphasizing where you agree with your audience, and then carefully working your way towards your most divisive, most daring claims.

  • If the question is actually important to your talk,  you’ll probably be able to answer right away.
  • If you can’t answer right away, or you don’t want to take the time, just promise you’ll follow up via e-mail , and then go right back to your presentation. Most  audience members will probably have been annoyed by the interruption.  They will be  delighted that you  didn’t take the questioner’s bait .

5) Practice, Practice, Practice.

Set a timer, and deliver your speech to a willing co-worker or family member, your pet fish, or the bathroom mirror.

My students are often surprised at how hard it is to fill up 3 minutes for an informal practice speech early in the term, and how hard it is to fit everything they want to say into a 10-minute formal speech later in the term.

Once you have the right amount of content, make a video recording of yourself practicing. If you plan to show a video clip, or ad-lib an explanation of a diagram, or load a website, or pass out paper handouts, or saw an assistant in half, actually do it while the camera is rolling, so that you know exactly how much time it takes.

Time it out.

  • Script out a powerful introduction and conclusion.
  • Know how long each section of your speech should take.
  • which example or anecdote you will cut if you are running long?
  • what additional example you can introduce if you need to fill time?

If you know your conclusion takes you 90 seconds to deliver, make sure to start your conclusion when you have at least 90 seconds left.

At several key points during your speech, maybe while you are playing a video or while the audience is taking in a complex image, glance at the clock and check to see — are you on track?

If you notice you’re starting Section 3 60 seconds later than you had intended, try to make up for time by rushing through your second example in section 3 and cutting the third example in section 4, so that you still have the full 90 seconds at the end to deliver that powerful conclusion.

Technological Considerations

  • Do you know how to connect your computer to the overhead projector? (If you don’t know, who does?)
  • What will you do if you can’t get your computer connected to the projector? (Back in 2003, when I applied for my current job at Seton Hill University, I was asked to give a teaching demonstration. I couldn’t get my laptop to work with the overhead projector, but I had posted the most important links on my blog, and I had brought along a printout of my speech, just in case. My preparations have paid off, because I got the job.)
  • In the room where you will be speaking, will you be using a microphone, or relying on your unamplified voice?
  • Will you be able to walk around with the microphone — perhaps to gesture at details in the slides — or is the mic attached to a stand? (Do you need to borrow a laser pointer, or get a volunteer to advance slides for you?)

6) Make Eye Contact With Your Audience.

importance of oral presentation in points

I once sat through a four-hour training session, during which this was all I could see of the instructor.

Go ahead and write your whole speech out so you can read robotically if you blank out, but you should practice your speech so you know it well enough that you can glance up from your notes and look at your audience as you speak.

7) Engage with the audience.

Pay attention to the audience, and they will pay attention to you.

Don’t try to recite from memory . If you spend your energy worrying about what you’re supposed to say next, you won’t be able to pay attention to whether the audience can hear you, or whether the overhead projections are focused.

Preparation : Set up before the audience files into their seats. If you have scheduled a presentation for a class, don’t sit in your seat like a lump while your professor calls the roll and hands out papers. Few things are more boring than watching a presenter log into the computer, fiddle with the video data projector, hunt around for the light switches, etc.

Introduction : As the audience files into their seats, have a title card displayed on the screen — or at least write your  name and the title of your talk on the whiteboard.  In a formal setting, usually a moderator will usually introduce you, so you won’t need to repeat everything the moderator says.  Avoid canned introductions like “Principal Burch, members of the faculty, and fellow students, we are gathered here today…”

Hashtag : If it’s likely that many people in your audience use the same social media network, consider encouraging them to post their thoughts there. When you introduce yourself, give your social media handle and suggest a hashtag.

Handouts : Consider distributing handouts that present the basic facts (names, dates, timelines) and your main points.  You can keep the conclusion just slightly mysterious, if you don’t want to give everything away immediately, but the idea is to free the audience from the feeling that they have to write everything down themselves. (Note: Simply printing up all the overhead slides wastes a lot of paper.)

Grabber : Grab the attention of your audience with a startling fact or claim, an inspiring quotation, or a revealing anecdote.   This is not the time to try out your nightclub act; the “grabber” is not just comic relief, it also helps you set up the problem that you are going to address.  If the audience will be diverse and general, you can use the “grabber” as a metaphor, helping the audience see why the topic is so important to you, and how it might be important to them, too.  If your audience shares your technical specialty, and thus needs no special introduction to the topic, feel free simply to state your purpose without much to-do; but bear in mind that even technical audiences don’t want to be bored.

Road Map : Once you have established the problem or the main point of your talk, let the audience know how you are going to get to a solution.  You might put up a series of questions on a slide, then as your talk progresses, proceed to answer each one.  You might break each question down into a series of smaller questions, and answer each one of these in turn.  Each time you finish a subsection, return to the road map, to help your audience keep track of where you have been and where you are going.

Conclusion : To give your presentation closure, return to the “grabber”, and extend it, modify it, or otherwise use it to help drive home your main point.  Recap your main points, and demonstrate how they all fit together into a thought that the audience members can take with them.

8) A Slide Show Is Not a Speech

Don’t read word-for-word with your nose buried in a stack of papers . If you bother to show up to hear a person speak, how do you feel when the speaker mumbles through page after page of written text? Do you feel you should have just asked for a copy of the paper in the mail?

When you present, make every effort to include your audience; after all, they are the reason you are speaking in the first place.

If you do feel that you must write out your speech word-for-word, you should be familiar enough with it that you don’t need to look at the paper all the time. (And hold the page up when you glance at it, rather than bending down to look at it.)

9) Watch the time!

To help pace yourself, at the top of each page of your notes,  write down what time it should be ; as you turn each page, you can glance at the clock and see whether you are on track.

(The first time I gave this advice to a technical writing class, I mimed the action of “looking at the clock” — and noticed that I was running ten minutes behind, eating into time that I had promised to a student for an in-class testing session.  That was a rather humbling experience!)

See the “preparation” section above. If you have already practiced your speech and timed out the various sections, you’ll know whether you are running long. If you are, don’t talk faster — cut  something that you already marked out as optional.

Decide in advance which examples, which anecdotes, which subsections you can drop, without damaging the whole presentation.

I was at a conference in 1998 where the first speaker talked for 40 minutes — double  her allotted time.  (Why the moderator allowed this is a mystery to me.)

  • None of the other speakers on the panel felt like cutting their talks to compensate.
  • The result was that the last scheduled speaker — who had paid for an international plane ticket and a week in a hotel — did not get to speak at all.

10) Take questions in the middle, not at the end?

The benefits include:

  • If you spark a good Q & A session, your audience will remember and appreciate it.
  • If nobody has any questions,  you can just fill up the space with more of your own material .  That would be much harder to do if you have already wrapped up your talk and had nothing left to say.
  • If you really know your material, you can  adjust your conclusion to address the questions raised by the audience.  Even if someone in the audience steals a little of your thunder by bringing up points you were saving for your big finish, you will appear smart for having predicted that audience response. At the same time, someone in your audience will feel smart for having anticipated what you were going to say.

Dennis G. Jerz , 01/27/2009 07:24:28 Oct, 1999 — first written 03 Dec, 2000 — posted here 03 June 2003 — tweaked and updated 30 Oct 2011 — updated and added video links 31 May 2016 — major update; separated into “preparation” and “presentation” sections. 26 Jan 2018 — blackboard -> whiteboard

50 thoughts on “ Oral Presentation Tips: How to Deliver a Speech for School or Work ”

Thanks alot for your teachings

Thank a lot , really great tip for oral presentation, i’ll implement these tips, and will let you know.

Very helpful tips.

this is awfully helpful. I am a teacher in France and my students have to do presentations in English. I wish they could read this and understand.

Thank you for these very useful tips on Oral presentation. I am taking an Organizational Behavior class and need to do a 5 minute oral presentation on a real life situation about Conflict Management in the Workplace. I am not sure how to structure or begin the presentation.

I like it Really helpful for me

Thank you for helping me to do my presentation…..and I have learned so much from oral presentation.

thankyou thankyou thankyou this helped me so much!!! : )

thankyou thankyou thankyou this helped me so much in english!!! : )

Thanks. Really helpful

Hi, I going to do 3 minute presentation and my topic is My son. what is a best tips to talk about the this topic. I am not sure where to start. Any tips to help me with.

Is that the topic you were assigned? Are you taking a public speaking class, a child development class, a class in writing personal memoirs, or are you learning English as a second language? I don’t know how your instructor will evaluate your work, so I am not sure how to help.

You might find it useful to look at this handout on writing personal essays. http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/personal-essays/

Hi, I going to do minute presentation and my topic is My son. what is a best tips to talk about the this topic. I am not sure where to start. Any tips to help me with.

This sort of helped

Denise Gillen Caralli liked this on Facebook.

Enter your comment here…Thanks a lot… I will follow your instructions..I’m hopeful those tips will work. .. Thanks once again….

Thanks so much will follow your instruction tomorrow where I will be having presentation with 180 Head masters about suplimetary feeding on their hunger striken ares

Yeah ,thanks and good luck to all of you from a powerful Jamaican girl

That’s great… It will work well for those who are aiming for like me. Thanks!

The tips are totally handy until now I am still applying it.

Appreciate it. =)

Very helpful for my presentation. Thanks!

I have learned a lot on this…thanks

Thanks a lot I have learned so much on this

I suppose to give out a presentation on Monday on someone or something in either an athlete or an actor and I don’t know how to start

i have a question i am supposed to give a speech but it has to have a power point or a drama thing the only problem is that i can’t have a power point because it won’t work into my speech and neither will a drama thing what should i do?

I suggest you talk to whoever set up the requirement for a slideshow/drama component. Maybe there is some flexibility, or maybe you’ll find a way to work that component into your speech.

Thank you heaps this really helped a lot

that is such good information and i believe im going to pass my speeches.

wow!!this are really helpfull stuff..but im just not confident enough to stand infront of all those people..wish i could do it without them looking at me

blind fold them! just joking…I’m getting ready to do mine and I’m having the same problem as you.

this is a helpfull site

this isn’t helping me with how nervous I am!! bye!!

love it really helped

thanks you are good

I have to do a presentation about “Importance of learning English”. There are 6 people in my group including myself. The presentation has to be exactly 8 minutes. We can’t use PowerPoint. Can you give us any unique, memorable and creative idea?

What are some lessons or life experiences that you find unique and memorable? I’d probably do a play, with a character who gets into trouble because he/she doesn’t know English, and then has a chance to correct those problems by demonstrating how learning English can fix the problems.

Hello mr.Dennis,I go straight to it.how can I become the most sought after Master of Ceremony(M.C.)/tv show presenter extra-ordinaire in my country before going international?any useful tips?

Sorry, that question is not something I cover on this page.

really well writen loved how you added steps so its easy to follow clear easily can be understaned and really helps us and gives us tips that we should actually think about and use at times

Yeah! I found it quite impressive. I hope it’z gonna be helpful for me to develop my speech techniques.

Nice tips….i think it will help me. but it’s too lengthy,it takes so much of time to read.

This really helps to prepare for all sort of things, Thanks a lot

Really helpful! Thank you

Pingback: Oral Presentation Readings « readwriteredroom

i love this helpful tips of oral presentation.. hope to visit this again or i just make a hard copy of this… thank you very much for that…

it was quite helpful

thank you for the great tip, but my problem is actually that I have a presentation on ‘All About Me’ and I have to keep the audience ‘engaged’ like by making a guessing game or something. If anyone has any other ideas please help!!

This may help: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/showing/

This really helped me prepare my oral presentation…thanks very much!!!!

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Oral Presentations Purpose

An Oral Research Presentation is meant to showcase your research findings. A successful oral research presentation should: communicate the importance of your research; clearly state your findings and the analysis of those findings; prompt discussion between researcher and audience.  Below you will find information on how to create and give a successful oral presentation.  

Creating an Effective Presentation

Who has a harder job the speaker? Or, the audience?

Most people think speaker has the hardest job during an oral presentation, because they are having to stand up in a room full of people and give a presentation. However, if the speaker is not engaging and if the material is way outside of the audiences knowledge level, the audience can have a difficult job as well. Below you will find some tips on how to be an effective presenter and how to engage with your audience.

Organization of a Presentation  


How are you going to begin?  How are you going to get the attention of your audience? You need to take the time and think about how you are going to get started!

Here are some ways you could start:

  • Ask the audience a question
  • make a statement
  • show them something

No matter how you start your presentation it needs to relate to your research and capture the audiences attention.  

Preview what you are going to discuss .  Audiences do not like to be manipulated or tricked. Tell the audience exactly what you are going to discuss, this will help them follow along.  *Do not say you are going to cover three points and then try to cover 8 points.

At the end of your introduction, the audience should feel like they know exactly what you are going to  discuss and exactly how you are going to get there.  



Delivery and Communication

Eye Contact

Making eye contact is a great way to engage with your audience.  Eye contact should be no longer than 2-3 seconds per person.  Eye contact for much longer than that can begin to make the audience member feel uncomfortable.

Smiling lets attendees know you are happy to be there and that you are excited to talk with them about your project.

We all know that body language says a lot, so here are some things you should remember when giving your presentation.

  • Stand with both feet on the floor, not with one foot crossed over the other. 
  • Do not stand with your hands in your pockets, or with your arms crossed.
  • Stand tall with confidence and own your space (remember you are the expert).  

Abbreviated Notes

Having a written set of notes or key points that you want to address can help prevent you from reading the poster. 

Speak Clearly

Sometimes when we get nervous we begin to talk fast and blur our words.  It is important that you make sure every word is distinct and clear. A great way to practice your speech is to say tongue twisters. 

Ten tiny tots tottered toward the shore

Literally literary. Literally literary.  Literally literary.

Sally soon saw that she should sew some sheets.

Avoid Fillers

Occasionally we pick up fillers that we are not aware of, such as um, like, well, etc. One way to get rid of fillers is to have a friend listen to your speech and every time you say a "filler" have that friend tap you on the arm or say your name.  This will bring the filler to light, then you can practice avoiding that filler.

Manage Anxiety

Many people get nervous when they are about to speak to a crowd of people.  Below are ways that you can manage your anxiety levels. 

  • Practice, Practice, Practice - the more prepared you are the less nervous you will be.
  • Recognize that anxiety is just a big shot of adrenalin.
  • Take deep breaths before your presentation to calm you down. 

Components of an Oral Research Presentation


The introduction section of your oral presentation should consist of 3 main parts.  

Part 1: Existing facts

In order to give audience members the "full picture", you first need to provide them with information about past research.  What facts already exist? What is already known about your research area?

Part 2: Shortcomings

Once you have highlighted past research and existing facts. You now need to address what is left to be known, or what shortcomings exist within the current information.  This should set the groundwork for your experiment.  Keep in mind, how does your research fill these gaps or help address these questions? 

Part 3: Purpose or Hypothesis

After you have addressed past/current research and have identified shortcomings/gaps, it is now time to address your research.  During this portion of the introduction you need to tell viewers why you are conducting your research experiement/study, and what you hope to accomplish by doing so. 

In this section you should share with your audience how you went about collecting and analyzing your data

Should include:

  • Participants: Who or what was in the study?
  • Materials/ measurements: what did you measure?
  • Procedures: How did you do the study?
  • Data-analysis: What analysis were conducted? 

This section contains FACTS – with no opinion, commentary or interpretation. Graphs, charts and images can be used to display data in a clear and organized way.  

Keep in mind when making figures:

  • Make sure axis, treatments, and data sets are clearly labeled
  • Strive for simplicity, especially in figure titles. 
  • Know when to use what kind of graph
  • Be careful with colors.

Interpretation and commentary takes place here. This section should give a clear summary of your findings. 

You should:

  • Address the positive and negative aspects of you research
  • Discuss how and if your research question was answered. 
  • Highlight the novel and important findings
  • Speculate on what could be occurring in your system 

Future Research

  • State your goals
  • Include information about why you believe research should go in the direction you are proposing
  • Discuss briefly how you plan to implement the research goals, if you chose to do so.  

Why include References?

  • It allows viewers to locate the material that you used, and can help viewers expand their knowledge of your research topic.  
  • Indicates that you have conducted a thorough review of the literature and conducted your research from an informed perspective.
  • Guards you against intellectual theft.  Ideas are considered intellectual property failure to cite someone's ideas can have serious consequences. 


This section is used to thank the people, programs and funding agencies that allowed you to perform your research.


Allow for about 2-3 minutes at the end of your presentation for questions. 

It is important to be prepared. 

  • Know why you conducted the study
  • Be prepared to answer questions about why you chose a specific methodology

If you DO NOT know the answer to a question

Visual Aids

PowerPoints and other visual aids can be used to support what you are presenting about.

Power Point Slides and other visual aids can help support your presentation, however there are some things you should consider: 

  • Do not overdo it . One big mistake that presenters make is they have  a slide for every single item they want to say. One way you can avoid this is by writing your presentation in Word first, instead of making a Power Point Presentation. By doing this you can type exactly what you want to say, and once your presentation is complete, you can create Power Point slides that help support your presentation. ​

Formula for number of visual aids : Length of presentation divided by 2 plus 1

example: 12 minute presentation should have no more than 7 slides.

  • Does it add interest? 
  • Does it prove? 
  • Does it clarify?
  • Do not read the text . Most people can read, and if they have the option of reading material themselves versus listen to you read it, they are going to read it themselves and then your voice becomes an annoyance. Also, when you are reading the text you are probably not engaging with the audience. 
  • No more than 4-6 lines on a slide and no more than 4-6 words in a line.
  • People should be able to read your slide in 6 seconds.
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The Importance of Presentation Skills: That You Must Know About

Uncover The Importance of Presentation Skills in this comprehensive blog. Begin with a brief introduction to the art of effective presentations and its wide-reaching significance. Delve into the vital role of presentation skills in both your personal and professional life, understanding how they can shape your success.


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Table of Contents  

1) A brief introduction to Presentation Skills 

2) Importance of Presentation Skills in personal life 

3) Importance of Presentation Skills in professional life 

4) Tips to improve your Presentation Skills 

5) Conclusion 

A brief introduction to Presentation Skills  

Presentation skills can be defined as the ability to deliver information confidently and persuasively to engage and influence the audience. Be it in personal or professional settings; mastering Presentation Skills empowers individuals to convey their ideas with clarity, build confidence, and leave a lasting impression. From public speaking to business pitches, honing these skills can lead to greater success in diverse spheres of life.  You can also refer to various presentation skills interview questions and answer to build you confidence! This blog will also look into the advantages and disadvantages of presentations .It is therefore important to understand the elements of presentations .

Importance of Presentation Skills in personal life  

Effective Presentation skills are not limited to professional settings alone; they play a significant role in personal life as well. Let us now dive deeper into the Importance of Presentation Skills in one’s personal life:    

Importance of Presentation Skills in personal life

Expressing ideas clearly   

In day-to-day conversations with family, friends, or acquaintances, having good Presentation skills enables you to articulate your thoughts and ideas clearly. Whether you're discussing plans for the weekend or sharing your opinions on a particular topic, being an effective communicator encourages better understanding and engagement. 

Enhancing social confidence  

Many individuals struggle with social anxiety or nervousness in social gatherings. Mastering Presentation skills helps boost self-confidence, making it easier to navigate social situations with ease. The ability to present yourself confidently and engage others in conversation enhances your social life and opens doors to new relationships. 

Creating memories on special occasions  

There are moments in life that call for public speaking, such as proposing a toast at a wedding, delivering a speech at a family gathering, or giving a Presentation during special events. Having polished Presentation skills enables you to leave a positive and lasting impression on the audience, making these occasions even more memorable. 

Handling challenging conversations  

Life often presents challenging situations that require delicate communication, such as expressing condolences or resolving conflicts. Strong Presentation skills help you convey your feelings and thoughts sensitively, encouraging effective and empathetic communication during difficult times. 

Building stronger relationships  

Being a skilled presenter means being a good listener as well. Active listening is a fundamental aspect of effective Presentations, and when applied in personal relationships, it strengthens bonds and builds trust. Empathising with others and showing genuine interest in their stories and opinions enhances the quality of your relationships. 

Advocating for personal goals  

Whether you're pursuing personal projects or seeking support for a cause you're passionate about, the ability to present your ideas persuasively helps garner support and enthusiasm from others. This can be beneficial in achieving personal goals and making a positive impact on your community. 

Inspiring and motivating others  

In one’s personal life, Presentation skills are not just about delivering formal speeches; they also involve inspiring and motivating others through your actions and words. Whether you're sharing your experiences, mentoring someone, or encouraging loved ones during tough times, your Presentation skills can be a source of inspiration for others. 

Exuding leadership traits  

Effective Presentation skills go hand in hand with leadership qualities. Being able to communicate clearly and influence others' perspectives positions you as a leader within your family, social circles, or community. Leadership in personal life involves guiding and supporting others towards positive outcomes. 

Unlock your full potential as a presenter with our Presentation Skills Training Course. Join now!  

Importance of Presentation Skills in professional life  

Effective Presentation skills are a vital asset for career growth and success in professional life. Let us now explore the importance of Presentation skills for students and workers:  

Importance of Presentation Skills in professional life

Impressing employers and clients  

During job interviews or business meetings, a well-delivered Presentation showcases your knowledge, confidence, and ability to communicate ideas effectively. It impresses employers, clients, and potential investors, leaving a positive and memorable impression that can tilt the scales in your favour. 

Advancing in your career  

In the corporate world, promotions and career advancements often involve presenting your achievements, ideas, and future plans to decision-makers. Strong Presentation skills demonstrate your leadership potential and readiness for higher responsibilities, opening doors to new opportunities. 

Effective team collaboration  

As a professional, you often need to present projects, strategies, or updates to your team or colleagues. A compelling Presentation facilitates better understanding and association among team members, leading to more productive and successful projects. 

Persuasive selling techniques  

For sales and marketing professionals, Presentation skills are instrumental in persuading potential customers to choose your products or services. An engaging sales pitch can sway buying decisions, leading to increased revenue and business growth. 

Creating impactful proposals  

In the corporate world, proposals are crucial for securing new partnerships or business deals. A well-structured and compelling Presentation can make your proposal stand out and increase the chances of successful negotiations. 

Gaining and retaining clients  

Whether you are a freelancer, consultant, or business owner, Presentation skills play a key role in winning and retaining clients. A captivating Presentation not only convinces clients of your capabilities but also builds trust and promotes long-term relationships. 

Enhancing public speaking engagements  

Professional life often involves speaking at conferences, seminars, or industry events. Being a confident and engaging speaker allows you to deliver your message effectively, position yourself as an expert, and expand your professional network. 

Influencing stakeholders and decision-makers  

As you climb the corporate ladder, you may find yourself presenting to senior management or board members. Effective Presentations are essential for gaining support for your ideas, projects, or initiatives from key stakeholders. 

Handling meetings and discussions  

In meetings, being able to present your thoughts clearly and concisely contributes to productive discussions and efficient decision-making. It ensures that your ideas are understood and considered by colleagues and superiors. 

Professional development  

Investing time in honing Presentation skills is a form of professional development. As you become a more effective presenter, you become a more valuable asset to your organisation and industry. 

Building a personal brand  

A strong personal brand is vital for professional success. Impressive Presentations contribute to building a positive reputation and positioning yourself as a thought leader or industry expert. 

Career transitions and interviews  

When seeking new opportunities or transitioning to a different industry, Presentation Skills are essential for communicating your transferable skills and showcasing your adaptability to potential employers. 

Take your Presentations to the next level with our Effective Presentation Skills & Techniques Course. Sign up today!  

Tips to improve your Presentation Skills  

Now that you know about the importance of presentation skills in personal and professional life, we will now provide you with tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills .

1) Know your audience: Understand the demographics and interests of your audience to tailor your Presentation accordingly. 

2) Practice regularly: Rehearse your speech multiple times to refine content and delivery. 

3) Seek feedback: Gather feedback from peers or mentors to identify areas for improvement. 

4) Manage nervousness: Use relaxation techniques to overcome nervousness before presenting. 

5) Engage with eye contact: Maintain eye contact with the audience to establish a connection. 

6) Use clear visuals: Utilise impactful visuals to complement your spoken words. 

7) Emphasise key points: Highlight important information to enhance audience retention. 

8) Employ body language: Use confident and purposeful gestures to convey your message. 

9) Handle Q&A confidently: Prepare for potential questions and answer them with clarity. 

10) Add personal stories: Include relevant anecdotes to make your Presentation more relatable.   

Presentation Skills Training

All in all, Presentation skills are a valuable asset, impacting both personal and professional realms of life. By mastering these skills, you can become a more effective communicator, a confident professional, and a persuasive influencer. Continuous improvement and adaptation to technological advancements will ensure you stay ahead in this competitive world. 

Want to master the art of impactful Presentations? Explore our Presentation Skills Courses and elevate your communication prowess!  

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The Art of Eloquence: The Importance of Oral Presentations

Last updated on March 26th, 2023

importance of oral presentation in points

In today’s fast-paced world, filled with digital communication, social media, and quick exchanges, the importance of oral presentations cannot be overstated. As presenters and public speaking experts, you all know the power of a captivating speech or an engaging story. But it’s time we bring that knowledge to the forefront, celebrating and emphasizing the significance of oral presentations in our society.

Human Connection: Rekindling the Lost Art

As digital communication continues to dominate our lives, it’s essential to remember the value of face-to-face interaction. Oral presentations allow us to connect with our audience on a personal level, fostering empathy, understanding, and a shared human experience. The art of public speaking is a celebration of our humanity, showcasing our ability to convey complex ideas, emotions, and experiences in a way that resonates deeply with others.

Persuasion and Influence: The Power of the Spoken Word

Oral presentations have the power to sway minds and drive action. A well-crafted speech can spark inspiration, ignite change, and move people to embrace new ideas. The key to persuasion lies in our ability to tell stories, make an emotional connection, and present a compelling argument. Great orators throughout history, from Cicero to Martin Luther King Jr., have demonstrated how the power of the spoken word can shape societies and lead us toward a brighter future.

Critical Thinking and Clarity: Refining Your Message

Oral presentations challenge us to refine our ideas and present them with clarity and precision. This process of distillation encourages critical thinking, as we are forced to analyze our arguments and present them in a clear and concise manner. As a result, we develop sharper, more focused ideas that can be better understood and appreciated by our audience.

Confidence and Leadership: The Ripple Effect

Mastering the art of public speaking can have a profound impact on your personal and professional life. A confident, articulate speaker is often perceived as a leader, inspiring trust and respect from colleagues and peers. By honing your presentation skills, you not only enhance your own career prospects but also empower those around you to excel.

Education and Learning: Sharing Knowledge

Oral presentations are a fundamental component of education and learning, allowing us to share our knowledge and insights with others. From classrooms to conference halls, speakers are entrusted with the responsibility of disseminating information that can shape minds, influence opinions, and drive innovation. By cultivating our ability to deliver effective presentations, we contribute to the collective wisdom and growth of our society.

Oral presentations are more than just a means of communication; they are an essential element of human connection, persuasion, and progress. As presenters and public speaking experts, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to uphold the tradition of oratory excellence. Let us continue to refine our skills, inspire our audiences, and contribute to the evolution of this timeless art form. The power of the spoken word is in our hands; let’s use it to create a better, brighter future.

How to Prepare for an Oral Presentation?

A well-prepared oral presentation not only reflects your expertise but also increases your confidence and strengthens your connection with your audience. To ensure your speech is as compelling and engaging as possible, follow these key steps for preparation:

Research and Content Development

Begin by conducting thorough research on your chosen topic. Dive deep into the subject matter to ensure you have a solid understanding of the material. Once you’ve gathered the necessary information, organize it into a logical flow, balancing evidence, anecdotes, and explanations to craft a compelling narrative.

Define Your Objectives and Audience

Before you start writing your opening speech , identify your objectives and consider your target audience. What do you hope to achieve with your presentation? What kind of information or insights will resonate with your listeners? Tailoring your content to your audience’s interests and expectations will make your message more engaging and effective.

Write and Edit Your Script

With your content and audience in mind, write a draft of your presentation. Use clear, concise language in your presentation , and aim for a natural speaking style. Remember to include an engaging introduction, a well-structured body, and a strong conclusion. Edit and revise your script until you are satisfied with the clarity and flow of your message. Get help from modern AI tools to provide some insights about your script and how you can improve it. For example, ChatGPT GPT 4 can be a good starting point to pass the script and provide some feedback.

Design and Polish Visual Aids

Visual aids, such as slides or handouts, can enhance your presentation and make it more memorable. Ensure that your visual slides are clear, relevant, and visually appealing . Keep text to a minimum and use high-quality images or graphics to support your message. Remember, your visual aids should complement your speech, not detract from it.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Practice your presentation multiple times, preferably in front of a mirror or using a recording device. This will help you become more comfortable with your content and delivery. Pay attention to your pacing, tone, and body language, and make any necessary adjustments. Consider rehearsing in front of a trusted friend or colleague who can provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Prepare for Questions and Interactions

Anticipate the questions your audience may have and be prepared with well-thought-out answers. Engaging with your audience through questions and interactions can foster a deeper connection and make your presentation more dynamic. However, it’s essential to stay composed and maintain control over the conversation to ensure your message remains clear and focused.

By investing time and effort in preparing for your oral presentation, you’ll be well-equipped to captivate your audience, share valuable insights, and leave a lasting impression. The art of public speaking is a skill that requires dedication and practice, but the rewards are immeasurable for both you and your listeners.

8 Additional Tips on How to Prepare Better for your next Oral Presentation:

  • Use relevant images and infographics to maintain audience interest through visual content. If you use PowerPoint for your presentations, you can download free PowerPoint graphics and backgrounds .
  • Try to avoid overloading slides with an excess of information and numbers.
  • Be cautious while choosing the color of the text and background . It is also important for you to avoid using distractive background which can divert your audience’s focus.
  • Adequate font size should be used. 32 point for text and 36 point for the headings. If you use bullet points, change the font size of your bullet points here.
  • The trick to highlight important text with prominent colors has always proven to be of great success. This not only attracts quick user attention but also helps better text retention.
  • Add simple and easily understandable figures rather than using complicated ones.
  • Try to maintain a proper sequence of slides so your audience can easily grab the matterbeing discussed.

Practice is the key to success.  Practice makes a man perfect ; therefore, it is essential to rehearse the topic well prior to its presentation. Practice makes a man perfect is a proverb that tells about the importance of practicing in a continue way in any subject to learn anything and learn better.

People are adopting this technique due to the numerous benefits attached with it. Some of them are being discussed here.

  • Instant method of conveying as well as receiving information.
  • Provides better chance to the audience for understanding speaker’s context.
  • Presenter is able to acquire an instant feedback for his work and research by judging reactions as well as body language of audience.
  • High level of understanding and transparency
  • It imparts proper flexibility to audience so that they can take an appropriate decision on a particular topic.
  • Effective oral presentation helps in saving efforts, time and money for listeners as well as the speaker.
  • It can be used for conveying confidential information to a selected group of individuals which ultimately improves the level of communication & exchange of information.
  • Oral communication increases level of participation.

Sometimes, excess anxiety can ruin your entire presentation. Whether you are a first-time presenter or delivering a presentation for the tenth time, no matter the situation, try to include these points in your presentation and attain quick results.

Go on! Hit a successful PowerPoint presentation now with these oral presentation tips .

We will send you our curated collections to your email weekly. No spam, promise!

importance of oral presentation in points

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Strengthening English language undergraduates’ presentation skills: A blackboard-mediated intervention program

Sami algouzi.

1 Associate Professor of Linguistics, Department of English, College of Languages and Translation, Najran University, Najran, Saudi Arabia

Ali Abbas Falah Alzubi

2 Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of English, College of Languages and Translation, Najran University, Najran, Saudi Arabia

3 Associate Professor, English Department, College of Languages and Translation, Najran University, Najran, Saudi Arabia

Associated Data

The dataset of the paper has been deposited, here is the link 10.6084/m9.figshare.23821977 .

Studies and reports indicate that some graduates struggle to find jobs, in part because they lack the key presentation skills and competencies the labor market needs. Thus, this research investigated the effectiveness of a Blackboard-mediated intervention program in strengthening English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ presentation skills. The research followed a quasi-experimental (time series) design, delivering workshops on presentation skills and collecting data from the students (N = 30) using a set of instruments: a pre-and post-assessment checklist and semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the students’ presentation skills improved significantly post intervention. Also, the participants reported positive attitudes concerning the intervention. Drawing on these findings, recommendations and suggestions are presented.


Presentation skills refer to the communicative abilities a person must possess to deliver engaging, informative, educational, enlightening, and attractive content, such as enthusiasm, a focus on the audience, keeping things simple, and excellent body language. Tursunoy describes oral presentations as a significant component of the English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom today in various parts of the world [ 1 ]. As Evans and Morrison point out, presentations are now frequently used as assessment tools or as class exercises in all academic fields, especially in English as a second language (ESL) and EFL settings [ 2 ]. Moreover, Yang notes that the EFL context has emerged as essential for fostering oral competence in environments that are less favorable in terms of oral socialization [ 3 ].

In studies of communication, presentation skills have attracted the attention of researchers. For example, Kim [ 4 ] and Evans [ 5 ] argue that presentation skills are considered successful communicative goals. Presentation skills are widely required in today’s professional world and are essential for graduates, who need to acquire these skills to present on diverse occasions and at various events. Graduates understand the importance of presentation skills such as those highlighted by Dung, who states that the presenter needs a professional appearance, proper pronunciation, and fluency to engage the audience, and they also understand that practice can boost the oral and communicative aspects of the presentation [ 6 ]. However, they find acquiring and using these skills challenging for various reasons. In this regard, drawing on the views of learners, Osterman suggests that the development of oral skills should begin with practicing communication [ 7 ].

In this research, we argue that presentation skills are a necessary consideration with reference to the Saudi Vision 2030 and labor market needs, and competence in oral presentation should be a subject of prominence. Competence in oral presentation comprises the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to speak in public, where the goals may include informing or persuading the audience, or self-expression [ 8 ]. Oral presentation skills are considered key for employability [ 9 ], and communication, especially in the oral mode, has been identified as one of the essential skills for the 21st century. Presentation skills bring students benefits, such as lifelong learning skills. Moreover, the learning experience can help them develop appropriate skills if they are trained professionally. Presentation skills give learners an effective means of bridging the gap between language study and language use. Making presentations requires students to use all four skills in a natural, integrative way [ 10 ]. These days, university students and graduates are typically required to have the ability to make presentations in English to a public audience [ 11 ]. Oral presentation is not only part of 21st-century skills but is also required when students enter the workplace [ 12 ]. Therefore, higher education courses commonly integrate oral presentations as part of the course activities and/or learning objectives [ 13 ].

Presentation-related studies have been widely researched. Previous research has focused on the impact of oral presentation on language proficiency, speaking ability, oral communication abilities, self-confidence, attitudes, challenges, and factors of influence in learning presentation skills [ 8 , 14 – 18 ]. However, to the best of our knowledge, no research thus far has been conducted on the use of online instructional interventions to train students in how to present themselves in English. This study, undertaken at Najran University, addressed many aspects of oral presentations, such as organization, content, language, style, and delivery, as well as students’ lack of enthusiasm.

It was expected that this study would lead to a significant improvement in undergraduates’ presentation abilities, which are vital in today’s professional world and to meet labor market expectations. The rising need for graduates with effective presentation skills requires more effective, innovative, and result-oriented instruction. Better teaching and learning methodologies are needed to enhance students’ presentation skills and teachers must pay special attention to this aspect of learning. The intervention in this study highlighted crucial areas in presentation abilities that many researchers may not have consider. Therefore, this study aimed to promote undergraduates’ presentation skills, consistent with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and labor market needs, via a Blackboard-mediated intervention program. The findings provide crucial suggestions about making presentations and advance proposals concerning the essential elements for an effective presentation.

Theoretical framework

Bandura’s social cognitive theory contends that human actions are influenced by personal, behavioral, and environmental factors [ 19 ]. According to this theory, seeing others in social interactions, one’s experiences, and outside media influences might contribute to an individual’s knowledge acquisition and behavior [ 20 ], as people acquire behaviors and cognitive techniques through watching how others behave [ 21 ]. When individuals observe activity being modelled and the consequences of that conduct, they remember the sequence of events and use this knowledge to influence future behavior [ 22 ]. In this process, the environment, behavior, and cognition all play important roles in shaping growth in reciprocal triadic interactions [ 19 , 20 ].

Thus, the foundation of social cognitive theory is a process of information acquisition or learning directly related to model observation. According to Zhou and Brown [ 20 ], three factors contribute to model observation: model characteristics, such as high status, competence, and power; observer attributes, such as talent and courage, confidence, self-esteem, and independence; and model action consequences, such as self-efficacy and self-regulation. Effective modeling provides broad norms and techniques for coping with various circumstances. This can be provided through interpersonal imitation or media sources [ 19 ].

Review of the literature

The available literature suggests an increasing focus among researchers on the importance of presentation skills and studying the challenges learners face in presenting. Some of the main challenges learners face in making presentations are background knowledge, anxiety, motivation, language, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation [ 23 – 29 ]. This is perhaps not surprising as many studies have found that presenting is a multi-layered and challenging task. Morreale points out that presenting requires considerable preparation, for example organizing content, incorporating relevant information and ideas, and selecting the appropriate attire [ 30 ]. It is necessary for students to combat these challenges since mastering slide shows, demonstrations, lectures, or speeches can assist presenters communicate with audiences by utilizing words and images [ 31 ].

Examining the presentations of a group of TESOL graduates, Zareva showed that the students acted in a variety of identity roles: guiding the audience through the information, recounting their research and decision-making processes, drawing attention to how the information was organized, and clarifying the purpose of their presentation and the structure of their argument [ 32 ]. Finding that students had difficulties providing presentation content for audiences, Melvina and Dona Alicia argued that teachers should spend more time introducing them to the broad skills they need when giving presentations [ 33 ].

Numerous factors influence presentation skills, including the ability to speak in English, which is something students are often afraid of doing [ 34 ]. Rumiyati and Seftika observe that speaking in front of a crowd is one of the most difficult tasks for EFL students [ 35 ]. Tsang identified a significant correlation between students’ perceived competence regarding the delivery of oral presentations and their level of anxiety concerning public speaking [ 36 ]. Similarly, Waluyo and Rofiah found that students’ performance in presentations is predicted by situational and potential confidence and communication confidence [ 16 ].

Background knowledge, psychology, language and style, preparation, and the instructor are some of the key factors that influence learners’ delivery of presentations [ 37 – 41 ]. Indriani found that qualities such as eye contact, body posture, and voice were further characteristics that aided pre-service teachers’ English-speaking abilities [ 42 ]. Among these, Worawong et al. identified hand gestures were the strategy most used by students in their oral presentations [ 43 ]. Okada et al. [ 44 ] and Yano [ 45 ] showed that self-monitoring, peer evaluation, and model observation have positive effects on improving learners’ oral presentation skills.

Technology can significantly enhance the general standard of one’s presentation in various ways. However, students’ readiness to embrace such technology and focus during presentations is critical. As a basis, Donohoe observed that presenters commonly utilize PowerPoint in the modern era to transmit information or media via slides as the medium offers adaptable presentation styles [ 46 ]. However, it is important to note that the development of information technologies has paved the way for new means of making presentations. Many technologies are available, such as Prezi, Keynote, and PowerPoint, as well as a range of venues, such as blogs, Facebook, and YouTube [ 47 – 49 ]. Thus, students should be encouraged to deliver their presentations by exploring different technologies, which can lead to better oral communication skills compared to traditional presentation tools [ 50 ].

Alshobramy found that applying social learning theory increased the speaking ability of secondary school EFL students naturally by providing innovative and adaptable learning experiences [ 51 ]. Fauzi showed that a multimedia-based presentation approach assisted students in developing their speaking and presentation skills, as well as their confidence [ 52 ]. Mahdi also reported that multimedia devices had a positive impact on the development of presentation and speaking skills among students [ 8 ]. Salem reported that TED lectures enhanced business students’ oral presentation abilities and vocabulary uptake/retention levels [ 53 ]. Also, the students were more enthusiastic, motivated, and eager to produce outstanding presentations as they grew more self-assured and relaxed. Sirisrimangkorn revealed that project-based learning using presentations had significant effects on students’ speaking skills [ 54 ]. Burhanuddin claimed that the individual presentation method was effective in enhancing students’ confidence and providing them with the experience of speaking in front of a crowd [ 14 ]. The results also indicated that the task gave them more awareness and self-evaluation on how to perform good public speaking. Hida examined the effectiveness of collaborative learning in co-constructing knowledge and skills in giving oral presentations in English classrooms in Japan and found that the learners primarily acquired five benefits: noticing the gap, knowledge co-construction, overcoming weakness, behavior modeling, and psychological improvement [ 55 ]. Pham et al. conducted a study aiming at measuring English-majored students’ views of their speaking skills, especially presentation skills. The results showed that most students were not confident about their presentation skills because of fears of making mistakes in vocabulary usage and grammar, lack of fluency, and so on [ 17 ].

There are very few studies on employing ICT-mediated programs to improve the presentation skills of EFL learners. However, some studies have suggested that learners experience difficulties in terms of anxiety, learning issues, and media access and use. For example, Solmaz employed Pecha Kucha to develop EFL learners’ speaking and oral presentation skills. Thematic analysis not only highlighted the advantages of the program, such as developing speaking and presentation skills, enhancing self-confidence, and improving time management, but also drawbacks, such as increased anxiety, a steep learning curve, and format constraints [ 56 ]. Among other studies examining the integration of technology in oral presentations [ 57 – 60 ], some found that this can pose difficulties in terms of the students’ language competence. Some students believed that the time given to them was insufficient, while others considered that their poor speaking abilities were to blame for their difficulties in presenting. Students also experienced fear of speaking since they understood that virtual audiences would view recordings of their oral presentations later.

To summarize, previous studies, both with and without the integration of technology, have investigated presentations with a focus on numerous different aspects. A review of the literature suggests that existing research on strengthening EFL learners’ presentation skills is very fragmented, lacks theoretical grounding and has received little empirical attention with particular reference to implementing an intervention. This research was premised on the belief that implementing an intervention program could enhance EFL learners’ presentation skills, making them better qualified for the labor market. The study investigated how a multilayered intervention program delivered through a series of workshops on Blackboard might help EFL students become successful presenters.

The study entailed designing and implementing a Blackboard-mediated interventional program aimed at improving undergraduates’ presentation skills in terms of organization, content, communication, delivery, and enthusiasm. The study utilized Blackboard as a platform to present the intervention as many presentations, and indeed job interviews, take place online, particularly since COVID-19. Other reasons for choosing Blackboard as a platform concerned convenience for the students in terms of time, place, effort, reference, and cost. The study sought to address the following research questions:

  • What impact does a Blackboard-mediated intervention program have on EFL undergraduates’ presentation skills?
  • What are the participants’ views of the experience of the Blackboard-mediated intervention program and its effect on their presentation skills?


Research design and context.

The research adopted a quasi-experimental design to achieve the study objectives. This study aimed to investigate how effectively a Blackboard-mediated intervention program would be in strengthening EFL students’ presentation skills. An assessment checklist and semi-structured interviews were used to collect the data from undergraduates at the College of Languages and Translation at Najran University in the Kingdom of the Saudi Arabia in the second semester of the academic year 2023.

Population and sample

The study population comprised undergraduates majoring in the English language and translation programs at Najran University in 2023. The study sample was based on purposive sampling and students’ voluntary participation. Those students who agreed to participate in the study completed two copies of the written informed consent form; they kept one copy and returned the other to the researchers. The Ethical Approval Committee at the Deanship of Scientific Research, Najran University granted approval to conduct the study [009773-021280-DS]. It should be noted that the researchers had no access to personal information that could identify individual participants at any time during or after data collection.

The study sample comprised two groups, 30 students in total, recruited to the study in the second semester of 2023. All the participants were Saudi, aged 22–23 years, and enrolled in the 9th and 10th levels of two courses: Contrastive Linguistics and Drama. They had been exposed to English language instruction for 11 years at school and university and all spoke Arabic as their mother tongue. They were studying EFL in a formal context and their English level should be considered upper-intermediate. Thus, they should have been able to initiate presentations, raise inquiries, and express their opinions about what they were studying in relation to the instructional material.

Study instruments

The study applied two instruments for data collection: a pre-and post-assessment checklist and semi-structured interview. The researchers designed the assessment checklist with reference to presentation assessment rubrics available online, such as one developed by Owen Williamson at the University of Texas ( https://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl1311/Presrubric.doc ) and another developed by the Justice Institute of British Columbia ( https://www.jibc.ca/sites/default/files/library/files/Group_Presentation_Marking_Rubric.doc ). The assessment checklist included presentation skills (25 items) distributed across five main domains: organization, content, communication, delivery, and enthusiasm. Each dimension contained five items.

Organization included aspects such as defining the background and importance of the topic, stating objectives that can identify relevant questions, presenting information in a logical sequence, summarizing the major points of the presentation, and providing attendees with a “take-home” message. Content included gaining the attention of the audience, defining technical terms, including relevant material, preparedness of the content, and presenting an obvious conclusion. Communication included good language skills and pronunciation, demonstrating good grammar and choice of words, using rhythm, intonation, accent, and tone variation, effective pace of delivery, being fluent and articulate, and using no fillers (umm, like), or long pauses. Delivery included items about maintaining good eye contact with the audience, using gestures in addition to a clear and audible voice, using well-prepared informative handouts, notes, and visual aids, presenting within the assigned time limits, and answering questions professionally. Finally, enthusiasm contained items about demonstrating strong enthusiasm throughout the presentation, increasing audience understanding and knowledge of the topic, convincing the audience to recognize the validity and importance of the subject drawing on evidence, being relaxed and confident with no/minimal hesitation throughout the talk, and being in professional attire.

Before the treatment program, the participants were asked to present topics related to two subjects they were studying (Contrastive Linguistics and Drama), and their performance was assessed using the checklist. Then, they were trained in presentation skills by one of the teachers with experience in this area. After that, they were again asked to present the topics related to their subjects and assessed using the same checklist.

Semi-structured interviews were employed in which the participants were asked about their experience of learning presentation skills, their attitudes, and suggestions for further improvements. The participants were interviewed immediately after the post-assessment by another teacher who had not conducted the intervention. The interviews were estimated to last 8–10 minutes. They were conducted in an office in the Department of English and audio-recorded. The semi-structured interview questions were as follows:

  • How would describe your experience of the presentation skills workshops?
  • What new presentation skills did you learn in the workshops?
  • How did you feel after taking the presentation skills workshops?
  • What things did you like/ dislike about the presentation skills workshops?
  • Do you have any suggestions for making the presentation skills workshops more fruitful? Please elaborate.

Validity and reliability

A jury of five experts checked both instruments, the assessment checklist and the interview questions, to establish content validity. The experts were specialized in English language teaching and technology-based learning and teaching and had more than 10 years of experience in teaching and assessment. The experts had the study tools and objectives to verify that the tools could produce valid data to answer the research questions. They also checked the applicability of the items in the Saudi context. Finally, they suggested working on language issues.

To establish the internal consistency of the assessment checklist, the researchers applied Pearson’s correlation coefficient (r) to check the relationship between items and the checklist as a whole. The checklist was applied to assess the performance of a sample of 20 students who did not participate in the study. Table 1 shows the results of the correlation.

** Significant at p = 0.01

* Significant at p = 0.05.

As shown in Table 1 , the values of the Pearson correlation coefficients for the relation between each item and the whole scale ranged between 0.505 and 0.769 and were all significant at p = 0.01 or p = 0.05, demonstrating the validity of the checklist.

To verify the reliability of the assessment checklist, two assessors evaluated the performance of the exploratory sample (N = 20). The two assessors were faculty members in the Department of English, specializing in English language teaching and assessment. They had been teaching English for more than 15 years. The authors oriented them on the study topic, objectives, and evaluation checklist (dimensions and items). Any points they did not understand were clarified. The assessors were instructed to use a separate checklist for each student and to conduct the evaluation while the student was presenting. The reliability of the assessment checklist was calculated based on the level of agreement between the assessors (inter-rater reliability): Level of agreement/(no. of agreements + no. of disagreements) [ 13 ]. Table 2 presents the results.

Table 2 shows that the assessment checklist was reliable (87.6%). The reliability coefficient values of domains ranged between 86% and 90%.

Instructional intervention

The study drew on social cognitive theory as a theoretical foundation to create and implement a Blackboard-mediated intervention aimed at improving undergraduates’ oral presentation skills. A variety of factors influenced the selection of this theoretical framework. First and foremost, the researchers aimed to draw as much as possible from the existing literature on the procedures used in the current study to improve EFL students’ oral presentation skills. This research is aligned with Solmaz [ 56 ] in considering “the long-term character of the development process of oral presentation skills, described as central professional skills” (p.16). Moreover, the purpose of the study corresponds to Bandura’s view that social cognitive theory is particularly well adapted to explaining the evolution of complex behavior, such as oral presentation skills [ 19 ]. Based on this theory, the researchers considered three main factors that contribute to changing behavior—personal, behavioral, and environmental—in that people learn new knowledge by watching others and use it in the future to change their behaviors. In addition, the study utilized previous research, such as the work of Zareva [ 32 ], who referred to the roles TESOL graduates played when examining presentations, such as guiding the audience through the information, recounting their research and decision-making processes, drawing attention to how the information was organized, and clarifying the purpose of their presentation and the structure of their argument.

The study provided a training program on presentation skills through workshops in which the participants watched how others presented, learned from the process, and applied it in the future to change their behavior. Interventions in the educational sphere provide students with the required or desired assistance they need in the form of capabilities, competencies, skills, etc., which could not be obtained or developed during an educational program and the lack of which may adversely impact graduates’ future or career opportunities. De Grez observed that “to design an instructional intervention, we have to be clear about its objectives. We have to determine the outcomes of the intervention focusing on the acquisition and development of oral presentation skills” [ 61 , p.57]. This study aimed to design and carry out a Blackboard-mediated intervention program, conducting workshops to strengthen EFL undergraduates’ presentation skills in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and labor market needs.

The program focused on enhancing the 30 participants’ knowledge of how to make their presentations effective and improving their performance. The content was divided into five workshops, which introduced the principles of presentation to EFL students and trained them how to present themselves well. The participants were told that presentations are synonymous with demonstrations, lectures, or speeches. They were also made aware that presentations are tailored to persuade, inspire, motivate, or present a new idea/concept to people termed “the audience” who are at the core of any presentation. After the orientation session on the concept, the researchers introduced themselves and the study.

The participants delivered a presentation before the intervention. Both the participants and the researchers were able to identify weaknesses in the organization, content, language, style, and delivery, as well as a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the presenters. Following the initial presentation, the participants were asked to participate in the Blackboard-mediated workshops. Each session lasted one hour, with the last 10 minutes devoted to questions and answers. The researchers also wanted the participants to learn through observation, so they shared relevant videos about the five specific areas crucial in presentations with a focus on the “do’s and don’ts.”

The research procedure consisted of three phases. In the first phase, the participants were required to give presentations and their performance was evaluated using the assessment checklist elaborated by the researchers. This identified issues with organization, content, language, communication style, delivery, and enthusiasm. The second phase comprised the series of five workshops, conducted on Blackboard by an experienced trainer, to instruct the students in how to present effectively and professionally.

The first workshop concerned the organization of presentations, highlighting the need for a clear beginning, middle, and end. The trainer pointed out that the presenter needs to organize ideas logically throughout the presentation and follow the order in a very organized fashion, striving for clear transitions between individual points, slides, and topics. Moreover, the presentation needs to be structured based on the audience and purpose. In addition, the trainer highlighted other key points, such as defining the background and importance of the topic, stating objectives that can identify relevant questions, presenting information in a logical sequence, summarizing the main points of the presentation, and providing attendees with a “take-home” message. The trainer shared videos ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bwDr7WVBwo ) on presentation organization. After watching the video clips, the participants were invited to have a discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session.

The second workshop concerned the substance of presentations in terms of the content. The trainer emphasized the need for unique and important ideas and information. The presenter must use reputable and pertinent sources and cite those sources when necessary. Information must be concise and pertinent to the audience. Again, the trainer addressed several crucial aspects related to content, including gaining the attention of the audience, defining technical terms, incorporating relevant material, preparing the content well, and presenting an obvious conclusion. The trainer shared videos related to content ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl_FJAOcFgQ ) and instructed the participants to pay close attention to considerations of significance and originality.

The third workshop sought to underscore that word choice can make aspects of the presentation clear and memorable if selected well. The trainer highlighted that language, style, and communication are significantly impacted by word choice. The session addressed denotative and connotative concepts, referring to presenting the message clearly, expressing ideas effectively, and choosing respectful and unbiased language. The trainer highlighted several key points, such as the language of presentations typically being somewhat less formal than academic writing, the need to present the main points one by one and pause at the end of each main point to give the audience time to absorb the information and take notes and using phrases to indicate moving on to a new point. In addition, one should consider several aspects under the theme of language, style, and communication, for example, using good language skills and pronunciation, demonstrating good grammar and choice of words, using rhythm, intonation, accent, tone variation, and an effective pace of delivery, being fluent and articulate, and using no fillers (umm, like), or long pauses, etc. The trainer then shared clips on communication, style, and language ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewVCnfMGnFY ), demonstrating that word choice and language use are crucial for communication.

The fourth workshop concerned delivery and addressed a range of factors, from body language and word choice to vocal variety. The trainer highlighted that a good presenter has a passion for the subject and can convey—and perhaps elicit—that emotion in the audience. The workshop stressed the need to make a connection with the audience through eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and/or vocal tone, as well as to avoid fillers (e.g., umm) and hesitations. These all contribute to communicating the presenter’s professionalism and confidence, inviting audience engagement. In addition, the session covered providing well-prepared, informative handouts, notes, and visual aids, presenting within the assigned time limits, and answering questions professionally. The trainer then shared videos on delivery ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5c1susCPAE&t=8s ).

The last workshop concerned the need for the presenter to show enthusiasm and covered aspects such as using a wide range of gestures (especially when presenting to a large audience on stage), making eye contact with attendees, and speaking with a smile and energy. Thus, the session emphasized the role of body language and facial expressions, as well as highlighting that the presenter’s clothing should not draw attention. Linking back to previous sessions, the workshop noted the relevance of enthusiasm in conveying knowledge of the topic and convincing the audience of the validity and importance of the subject by being relaxed and confident. Again, the trainer shared videos on this aspect of presenting ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5naThX63pF0 ).

In the third phase, students were required to give a presentation and their performance was again assessed using the same checklist as previously. After the presentation, a researcher interviewed the students, asking questions related to their experience of engaging in the presentation skills workshops, their attitudes and feelings about the intervention, and their suggestions for improvement.

Data analysis

The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) v. 25 was used to analyze the data collected from the pre-and post-assessment checklist. To establish the effectiveness of the training program in enhancing the participants’ presentation skills, the study employed paired sample t-tests. The researchers conducted content analysis of the qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews, based on repeated occurrences and grouped under main themes.

The effect of the training program on students’ presentation skills

Table 3 presents the results of the impact of the intervention program on students’ presentation skills, drawing on the pre- and post-assessment for the individual domains and whole scale.

Table 3 shows significant differences at the level of 0.05 before and after the training program in favor of the post-performance (t(29) = 19.863, p > .05). This result indicates that the training program was highly effective in improving the students’ presentation skills.

Students’ reflections on the presentation skills program

Several key themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews with the students concerning their experience of the presentation skills workshops. For most of the interviewees, it was their first time presenting. They reported that the training program was a helpful, interesting, and exciting experience, and they benefited a great deal from it. It helped rid them of anxiety and fear, and they started to feel more confident. In addition, they learned that they should be well-prepared and not appear confused. Furthermore, the training program assisted them in improving their presentation skills in terms of facing the audience and delivering the topic as required. The students also reported that they benefited from the feedback from peers. The following are some of the interviewees’ responses to the first question in the interview concerning their experience of the presentation skills workshops:

  • S1. “It is very interesting and helpful. It is the first time I’ve done a presentation.”
  • S20. “It was a very good experience.”
  • S12. “A wonderful experience that developed my speaking skills and improved my way of meeting the audience and conveying the idea to them in the required form.”
  • S13. “A beautiful experience to enhance self-confidence and break the barrier of public fear.”
  • S10. “I learned not to get confused during the presentation and come prepared.”

Presentation skills learned

The interviewees’ responses concerning the presentation skills they acquired through the workshops revealed that they learned to speak in front of the public with confidence, to interact with the listeners and ask questions, to raise their voices to attract attention, to pay attention to their body language and tone of voice, to talk without reference to the book, and to give and take examples from other students. Also, they learned how to explain and present without becoming stressed, to present without inappropriate interruption, and to be fluent and accurate. They broke the barrier of fear and stress and improved their self-confidence. The following are some excerpts from the interviewees’ answers:

  • S3. “Speaking skills, looking around the listeners, asking questions for them to interact with, and raising the voice to attract attention.”
  • S11. “The eye contact and the hand signals, and the importance of preparing for the presentation.”
  • S13. “Fluency and accuracy in speaking and interacting with the public.”
  • S16. “Facing the audience, increasing self-confidence, and exploring skills about communicating information in its simplest form.”
  • S19. “Speaking skills without confusion, the skill of explaining and communicating information.”

Feelings about the experience of engaging in the workshops

The students also described their feelings after taking the presentation skills workshops. They were excited and felt positive about the experience. They were very happy to be trained in presentation skills and to achieve something significant. They broke the barrier and the tension and were proud of what they had achieved. They gained a high level of confidence and morale. These aspects are evidenced in the following excerpts:

  • S2. “Awesome and broke the stress barrier.”
  • S3. “I feel a sense of accomplishment after I took this step for the first time. Great feeling and development of diction skills and help later.”
  • S6. “Nice and I felt the sense of teaching.”
  • S7. “It’s a nice feeling and I see myself developing in speaking.”
  • S13. “Feeling excited and happy to gain the skill of recitation.”
  • S18. “I feel that I have gained a high level of confidence and morale.”

Likes and dislikes

Students reflected on the things they liked or disliked about the presentation skills workshops. They liked the interaction with their peers, strengthening and refining their speaking skills, the seriousness of the sessions, meeting with others, skills development, reviewing errors, the organization of the workshop, enthusiasm, fun, facing the public, and peer support. They also liked the idea of using technology, such as laptops and data presentations. On the negative side, two students were rather tense and confused, which they reported led to some errors during their presentations. The following excerpts provide evidential support for the emergent themes:

  • S3. “The things that I liked is that strengthening and refining diction skills. The things I didn’t like were the tension just before the presentation.”
  • S7. “Everything I liked and most specially, it increased my self-confidence by speaking.”
  • S11. “The things I like is the experience and some confidence make me would like to do it again and thing I do not like is during the presentation I got confused and I said something wrong.”
  • S18. “I liked during my presentation the interaction of my student friends.”
  • S19. “I liked that it was enthusiastic and fun, and the interaction between classmates.”

Suggestions for improving the presentation skills workshops

The students were asked for suggestions to make the presentation skills workshops more fruitful. They recommended repeating the workshops because of the benefits they provided. Also, some students suggested including presentations as part of their assessment in various subjects. These points are illustrated in the following excerpts:

  • S5. “More of these shows to develop students’ skills.”
  • S12. “More of these workshops because it is of great benefit to the student.”
  • S15. “We hope that the distinguished doctors include this participation in all subjects and integrate it into monthly grades.”
  • S17. “I hope this beautiful event continues.”
  • S19. “I suggest that this offer be weekly in order to benefit more.”

This research investigated the impact of a training program mediated by the Blackboard platform on improving EFL students’ presentation skills. Based on the results, the students who engaged in the intervention attained significant improvements in their scores for their presentation skills post-treatment compared to pre-treatment in all five domains: organization, content, communication, delivery, and enthusiasm. This indicates the effectiveness of the intervention.

Several factors may have contributed to this result, such as the integration of the Blackboard platform, enhanced motivation, reduced anxiety, stress, and tension, and the students’ recognition of the need to improve their speaking and presentation skills. The integration of Blackboard contributed to the effectiveness of the program as it is user-friendly, free, and accessible to users, regardless of place and time. Moreover, the training sessions were recorded and the students could refer to them at any time. In addition, the students were motivated to participate and engage due to their need to improve their presentation skills, as evidenced in the interviews. The analysis of the interviewees’ responses revealed that they found the intervention program a very good means of refining their presentation skills. They enjoyed the experience and reported it assisted them in facing their fear of speaking in front of the public and improving their body language, speaking skills, and self-confidence. In addition, they learned to interact with the audience and attract attention.

The results of this research are consistent with previous studies. Similar to this intervention, research has found that presentation qualities like eye contact, body posture, and voice aid English-speaking abilities [ 42 ], and project-based learning using presentation can significantly affect students’ speaking skills [ 55 ], with students’ oral presentation skills improving significantly after instruction due to enhanced confidence and the experience of speaking in front of a crowd [ 14 ]. As in this study, previous research has reported participants favoring a multimedia design [ 15 ], which improves students’ confidence [ 52 ], and also collaborative learning, as it enables the co-construction of knowledge and skills [ 56 ]. Such courses can enhance students’ oral presentation abilities and vocabulary uptake/retention levels [ 54 ], as well as making them more enthusiastic, motivated, and eager to produce outstanding presentations as they grow more self-assured and relaxed. In addition, these results are consistent with Brooks [ 61 ], who showed that oral presentation allows learners to use their second language to communicate with others naturally. De Grez [ 62 ] also suggested that students are highly motivated to learn how to present. In terms of the use of technology, this study employed Blackboard to facilitate deliver of the intervention program, which may have helped improve students’ performance [ 15 ]. This result accords with previous studies that used technology to improve students’ speaking and presentation skills, employing a multimedia approach [ 51 – 57 ].

The results of this study also support the claim of social cognitive theory that learners require exposure and practice to enhance their acquisition of skills that will help them in their future careers. In this research, the participants observed how others (trainer and peers) behaved, stored this knowledge, and used it to change their behavior when presenting post-intervention. Thus, learners can refine their behavior based on observation and experience. The training program allowed the participants room for exposure and practice in presenting themselves properly. They learned how to organize their presentations, engage the audience, and deliver content effectively, as well as to present with enthusiasm.

According to Bandura [ 63 ], “man’s capacity to learn by observation enables him to acquire large, integrated units of behavior by example without having to build up the pattern gradually by tedious trial and error” (p. 2). Alshobramy argues that the application of social learning theory can naturally increase speaking ability by providing innovative and adaptable learning experiences [ 52 ]. Hence, consistent with theory, this study supports the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the labor market needs of skilled graduates in enabling them to design and deliver effective presentations.

This research focused on enhancing undergraduates’ (life-long) presentation skills through a Blackboard-mediated intervention program. In contrast to prior research that employed ICT-mediated programs to develop presentation skills and found EFL learners experienced difficulties in terms of anxiety, learning issues, language competence, and media access [ 55 , 57 – 60 ], the results of this study showed that the learners’ levels of fear, learning problems, and access issues decreased during the intervention. Also, the program proved highly effective in improving the EFL participants’ presentation skills, and their attitudes and feedback were positive. Therefore, the study contributes to the existing body of knowledge by presenting evidence of the value of utilizing technology, specifically Blackboard, in a planned program to improve students’ presentation skills, which are in great demand in the labor market.

Students who master English will have an added advantage if they possess presentation skills and their job opportunities will be greater. Accordingly, this study argues the need to include presentation skills as part of students’ course assessment. In addition, technology can play a role in enhancing students’ presentation skills; they can utilize technology to record themselves and to review their mistakes, and thus improve their performance.

This research has certain limitations, most notably the participants’ gender; all the participants were male due to the gender-based segregation in Saudi higher education. Moreover, the relatively small number of participants means the findings are not generalizable. In this regard, similar studies could be undertaken in different contexts employing the same interventional program and tools—or similar—and enable the comparison of results. In Saudi Arabia, given the effectiveness of the intervention in this study, it is recommended that stakeholders conduct more workshops on presentation skills, as they support the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 and address the needs of the labor market. Further research and pedagogical practice could consider a range of methods, such as peer and self-assessment, to measure students’ acquisition of presentation skills. Finally, more research is needed to focus on comparing students’ competence and performance in presentation skills.

Funding Statement

Yes, this work was financed by the Deputy for Research and Innovation- Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through a grant (NU/IFC/02/002). The funder had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, the decision to publish, or the preparation of the manuscript.

Data Availability


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