Module 20 - Making Oral Presentations
Monologue presentations are what students typically learn in high school
and some college public speaking courses. As the name suggests, the
speaker speaks without interruption to an audience, who may ask
questions after the presentation is over. Guided discussions are similar to classroom discussions,
in that the speaker acts as a facilitator, interacting with the audience. Sales presentations are
what many people envision when they think of business presentations—opportunities to discuss
an idea or proposal before a group of people, usually in a formal but still conversational format.
In-Class Exercise: Ask students to share for 10-15 minutes what they believe are the
strengths and weaknesses of each type of presentation. Which would be appropriate
for which business situations, such as introducing a new product, teaching staff a
new skill, appealing to local government leaders for a change in zoning, or
presenting awards to employees? Which would work better for large audiences?
Smaller audiences? Which give the speaker the best opportunity to inform?
Persuade? Build goodwill?
In-Class Exercise: Have students write a 1- to 2-page memo describing the most
effective public speaker they’ve seen. What made that person’s approach effective?
Use of visuals? What was it about the person’s behavior—use of eye contact, tone
of voice, use of gestures, and so forth—that worked? What can the student learn
from that individual about making an oral presentation?
Ways to involve the audience include using visual aids, such as transparencies, PowerPoint
slides, and video or multimedia.
Teaching Tip: Have students read or review the principles on designing slides and
screens in Module 5. If you are in a computer-equipped classroom, build time into
your class for students to learn PowerPoint or similar presentation programs. Have
students test their slides out on each other.
As PP 20-9 also shows, speakers should follow these guidelines when using visuals:
Make only one point per visual.
Give each visual a title.
Limit the amount of information on each visual—35 words or
Don’t put your visual up until you’re ready to talk about it.
Use animation schemes to control how the information is
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