general guide to giving an oral presentation

Prepared by TAFE SA library staff 13/09/2021
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Study Guide
This is a general guide to giving an oral presentation. Course requirements may vary within different
courses so please check with your lecturer.
You may be asked to prepare your assignment topic as a presentation. In this case will be required to
present your topic in person to an audience, usually your class. You will need to:
Present your work on your topic orally
Persuade your listeners of your viewpoint
Maintain the audience’s interest
Like essays, they share three main parts:
The introduction – give general information and background on your topic. This is where you
say what you set out to do and give some idea of the overall content
The body – identify, describe and demonstrate the information you have gathered on your topic.
Direct the audience to the aspects you want them to notice
The conclusion – summarise the key elements you’ve highlighted.
How long should my talk be?
Begin by knowing how much material you will need for your presentation. You should aim at speaking
only 100 words per minute. Your audience will also need time to view any visuals you include. If you are
expected to speak for 15 minutes for example you need about 1500 words.
First draft
Choose your topic. Consider how your material relates to the topic and learning objectives. What are the
essentials that need to be included? Do your research and write a draft, include tables, graphs and
visuals which help convey your message. This will be the basis of the body of the presentation.
Redraft your material tailoring it to the type of presentation and your audience. Will this be an informal
chat, a seminar discussion, or a more formal presentation? Does the audience already understand the
major concepts or must you provide some background?
Keep in mind your central message and avoid jargon and slang terms.
Include references to your information sources – giving credit where credit is due.
Producing notes and adding an introduction and conclusion
Once you have drafted the body of your presentation, write your introduction, outlining the topic and your
point of view. Turn your draft into notes. Write down the key words and phrases – this will ensure you
speak to the audience (rather than read to them).
Your conclusion will then flow from this. Summarise the main concepts you’ve discussed, and how your
work relates to issues you’ve raised.

Prepared by TAFE SA library staff 13/09/2021
Visit us on campus or at or contact us at [email protected]
Computer-based presentation programs (eg Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Drive Presentation,
Prezi, Powtoon ) can help you to formulate and structure your presentation. Visuals can easily be
incorporated into the presentation.
VISUALS are important but they need to be RELEVANT.
Beware of too many gimmicks … these can detract from your message.
Rehearse and practice with the technology you are using until you feel confident with your
presentation, your timing and your body language. Practicing in front of a mirror or a friend may
Proof-read your visuals and handouts
Anticipate the questions that may be asked and prepare possible answers
Check the venue – ensure your computer files are compatible with the venue version or take
your own laptop.
Arrive early to make sure that the venue, equipment and lay-out suit your needs
A few deep breathes can help to control your nerves before you get started
Greet the audience, look confident and relaxed, introduce yourself and any co-presenters
Establish eye contact with the audience, face them as much as possible
Speak in a natural conversational style with a moderate rate of speech

Aim to… Avoid …
Proof read all handouts/visuals Typos, slang, acronyms (initials instead of words)
Talk Read
Stand Sit
Move Stand still
Vary your pitch and speak clearly Speak too fast or quietly in a monotone or mumble
Make eye contact Stare at the floor
Use visuals Use no visuals or too many gimmicks
Rehearse and stay on time No rehearsal and run overtime
Summarise your main points at the end End abruptly
Seek feedback and involve your audience Ignore your audience

Provide a simple feedback sheet for your audience to fill out.
For further help with presentations, speak to your campus Learning Support or Library staff, and try
these sites for further information
RMIT University
University of Melbourne
William Angliss Institute