Oral presentations

A survival guide on how to make individual and group presentations.

This section will cover the following:

  1. To identify techniques and strategies to effectively perform an oral presentation.
  2. To outline strategies that you can use to effectively work as a group.
  3. To apply skills and knowledge relating to group dynamics and presentation skills in online activities.

Oral presentations

Oral presentations are usually dreaded by most people as they feel uncomfortable about the prospect of getting up in front of a group of people. At some stage during your course you will be required to perform an oral presentation as part of assessment for a unit of study. Oral presentation skills are important at university and also in the workforce.

Oral presentations are a great way for students to develop their confidence and public speaking skills. This section will provide you with some strategies that you can use to feel more confident when you are faced with the task of presenting an oral presentation to your peers.

Watch a video on oral presentations

General tips for oral presentations

Preparation and organisation

  • Be organised and rehearse the presentation. The more familiar you are with a presentation the more confident you will be when you present it to a group.
  • Arrive at the venue earlier to prepare for the presentation. 
  • Have a list of cue cards to refer to during the presentation. 
  • If it is a group presentation ensure that everyone understands their role.

Voice and clarity

  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Be concise but elaborate on each of the points that you raise.
  • Incorporate visual aids and prompts such as diagrams to explain difficult concepts. 
  • You should aim for flow and continuity. 
  • Focus on the main points of the presentation.
  • Vary the tone of your voice to emphasise key words or ideas. 

Presenting and body language

  • Emphasise the key points through body language e.g. hand gestures, positioning.
  • Be enthusiastic by showing interest in the topic. 
  • Be aware of unwanted or nervous habits such as slouching, scratching and fiddling.
  • Practise making eye contact with the people in the group.  

Group presentations

  • Elect roles within your group e.g. group leader.
  • Allocate tasks within the group for the assignment. 
  • Ensure that all group members have clearly defined roles.

Preparing for a group assignment

  1. Determine the topic that the group will focus on.
  2. Gather the relevant information for the topic.
  3. Select and choose the information that will be used in the presentation. 
  4. Develop the final product by incorporating all the information that will be used.

Organisation and structure

  1. The introduction is crucial in engaging the audience and outlining the direction of the presentation. An introduction should include background information, an outline of what will be covered in the presentation and a thesis statement.
  2. The body of the presentation needs to support the thesis statement by covering the main points that have been discussed and supporting them with evidence/examples. The use of visual aids or multimedia can be used to support the presenters' contention and credibility. 
  3. The conclusion should include a summary of the main points that have been covered and should reinforce the thesis statement. End with a succinct statement about the topic.

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