Guidelines for Oral Presentations

• Dress
Your clothing makes a statement. A business suit is not necessary, but think of what statement you want to make. Consider the venue, the content of your presentation, and the impact your attire will have on the audience.

• Eyes
Engage your audience with good eye contact. Make every person in the room feel like the most important member of the audience.

• Voice
Your voice should comfortably reach the person furthest removed from you. Try to project without shouting. Avoid a monotone. Expressive intonation will help hold your audience’s attention.

• Posture
Remain comfortable and relaxed. Speak to your audience, not to your cue cards. Keep your head up and your eyes in contact with your listeners. You may occasionally glance at your cue cards, but never read your material aloud to the class.

• Smile
A smile conveys confidence and helps relax yourself and your audience. Before including comedy, however, try your material on an honest friend. If you are the only one to recognize the intended humor in your content, save it for yourself.

• Language
Effective speakers avoid nervous expressions. Novice speakers fear silence and try to bridge their ideas with “connectors.” Purge the following expressions from your vocabulary: “you know?”, “um”, “uh”, “all right?”, “OK?”, “but…I…uh”.

• Time
Too hurried a pace will not allow your audience to digest your material. Too slow a pace will leave them bored. Most presentations have a fixed time limit so practice your talk to be sure to end within a minute of the set time.


• A/V
Any supplementary A/V aids you use should be as carefully prepared to completment, not replace, your talk. Make sure words on the screen are large enough to read. If you use Powerpoint, don’t drown the content of your talk with its A/V bells and whistles.

• Content
Everything else is meant to work in the service of getting across the desired content, so be sure that you have your content well in hand before you begin to put the presentation together. Keep your talk focused on advancing the content. Be sure to explain unfamiliar concepts and to clearly present the premises and links in your arguments.

• Organization
Your presentation should be structured to emphasize the important content. If you have organized your talk carefully your audience should be able to step on board your train of thought at the beginning and keep track of the main points along the way until you take them to the desired destination.


Oral Presentation Evaluation      
Element Excellent Good Fair
Dress 3 2 1
Eye contact 3 2 1
Voice projection 3 2 1
Posture 3 2 1
Smile 3 2 1
Language 4 3 1
Time 5 3 1
A/V 6 4 2
Content 10 7 4
Organization 10 7 4