A Brief Introduction to Oral Presentation Techniques

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Delivery

Vocal delivery

  • Pitch
  • Inflection
  • Volume
  • Variation
  • Pace

Body language

  • Gestures
  • Posture
  • Stance
  • Facial expression

Eye contact

Organization

  • Introduction, body, conclusion
  • Transitions

Sample Activities on Oral Presentation Techniques

Introducing oral presentation techniques

  • Have students view a speech either on video or from the website http://www.americanrhetoric.com/
    (I like to use M.L. King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” just because many students haven’t seen it).
  • As they view the speech, have them write down the things the speaker does that make the speech interesting or engaging.
  • Translate their lists into the three categories above: vocal delivery, body language, and eye contact.

Practicing eye contact (from the Speech Comm 212 TA Handbook)

  • Have students deliver 1-2 minute impromptu speeches, allowing them to choose from a handful of topics such as their favorite vacation, least favorite class at ISU, etc.
  • As each student gets up to speak, the rest of the class members raise their hands. The speaker must make sustained eye contact (at least three seconds) with a class member before that person can put his/her hand down. The goal is to make eye contact with each person in the class before the time runs out.

Practicing vocal delivery (from the Speech Comm 212 TA Handbook)

  • Take the class outside and have each student bring a selection that he/she can read out loud.
  • With everyone speaking at the same time, have students read their piece aloud using different vocal variations. For example, first they might read the piece as loudly as they can, then read it as quietly as they can. They might read it in a monotone and then read it making their voices go up and down like a roller coaster. They might read it in a low, deep voice and then read it in a high-pitched squeaky voice. The goal is to help them realize that they CAN change their vocal delivery to improve their oral presentation.
Submitted by Sabrina Shields-Cook for the O-Fair, Feb. 27, 2007