My Information Skills

Self-paced tutorials on research and study skills for TAFE SA students

Oral presentations

An oral presentation involves speaking in front of the class or a group of people.

The aim of an oral presentation is to:

  • present your work with evidence organised in a logical order
  • stay within a set time, e.g. 10 minutes
  • persuade your audience to agree with your point of view.

It is important to engage your audience using various visual aids, such as

  • diagrams, charts, posters, props (examples of work) 
  • whiteboard
  • PowerPoint or other slideshow software
  • short video to demonstrate a point or explain an idea

Appropriate body language and use of voice is important to convey meaning and keep your audience attentive.

Just like written work, a presentation has three main sections:

The introduction

  • Capture their attention and gain control through humour, a funny story or ask a question
  • Give a summary of the content of your talk, and any special bias or pathway you intend taking
  • Give general information and background on your topic.

The body

  • Develop your argument, present your point of view
  • Back up your ideas with examples
  • Direct the audience to the aspects you want them to notice such as facts and statistics.

The conclusion

  • Summarise the key elements you’ve highlighted
  • Include a ‘take home message’ e.g. "In conclusion... " "To summarise..." "I challenge you to..."

For more information see TAFE SA libraries' study guide on Presentations.

Before your presentation:

Aim to… Avoid...
Proof read all handouts/visuals Typos, slang, acronyms (initials instead of words)
Use visuals Using no visuals or too many special effects/transitions

Rehearse timing and positive body language

Allow time for questions

Being disorganised and running out of time
Summarise your main points at the end Ending abruptly, not planning for a strong ending
Visit the area beforehand to check seating, equipment, lighting etc. Arriving at the starting time, finding issues with the room and/or equipment

During your presentation:

Aim to… Avoid...
Talk Reading
Stand Sitting
Move Standing still
Vary your pitch and speak clearly Speaking softly in a monotone or mumble
Make eye contact Staring at the floor

Seek feedback and involve your audience

Give them opportunities to ask questions

Ignoring your audience
Display positive non-verbal cues, e.g. smiling Negative body language, e.g. rolling eyes when someone asks a question
Finish on time, with a strong statement Going overtime

After your presentation:

  • Thank your audience for their attendance and attention.
  • Give out any handouts. If you give them out before, or during, your presentation, it can distract your listeners.
  • Distribute evaluation forms. Encourage your peers to give you feedback, so that you can improve.

Media are images, soundtracks, video clips and other formats other than text. Various media can be be found on the Internet to add to your presentations. Don't forget to acknowledge media that you have sourced from elsewhere. 

You can create your own media to include in your multimedia presentations. Your campus library may have the following equipment for loan:

  • Digital video and still cameras
  • MP3 recorders and players
  • Laptops
  • DVD readers
  • Data projectors

Your lecturer may need to sign an Equipment Request Form for expensive equipment.

There may be strict borrowing times for some types of equipment.

You may also need to book the equipment in advance.

Ask for instructions if you are unsure of how to use the equipment.

Presentation software uses images, charts, images, sound and even videos to enable you to create a dynamic multimedia presentation. 

You can use other people's media in a presentation, or you can create your own. Don't forget to provide citations for media that you do not create yourself.

There are many brands of presentation software

Prezi - works like one giant virtual whiteboard containing your entire presentation, where you can zoom in and out of sections. 

SlideRocket - a collaborative, web-based application that integrates with third parties like Google Docs and Flickr, which is great for pulling live data and content.

Google Slides - are easy to store and share online, and can be downloaded as an app for phones or tablets.

Zoho Show 2.0 - includes live audio chat with presenters.

but the most popular is Microsoft PowerPoint.

See the TAFE SA software guide on Microsoft PowerPoint.

For Microsoft Office 365 training, including PowerPoint, click here.

Here are some tips to make your slideshow presentation more effective.

  • Blues and greens - relaxed, feel-good colours
  • Reds and yellows - exciting, happy colours
  • Use high contrast colours - dark colours with light fonts or vice versa
  • Use “white space” to make content stand out, and to balance elements; don't crowd your slides
  • Do not have too many effects
  • Do not use large amounts of text
  • No more than 6 dot points per slide. No dot points is better
  • Font - 28pt to 32pt is a good size
  • Use bold or different colours to highlight important words

Watch Nancy Duarte's video on Five Rules for Presentations. (4.28 mins)

For more design and text hints, see Steal this Presentation.