Writing and Communication Center

Integrating Presentations: Delivering the Presentation



The questions you pose to your students in the preparatory stages of the presentation lay out guidelines applicable across a wide variety of presentations. Addressing delivery strategies in your assignment gives students room to move within these guidelings.



Adapt the following categories to guide students in following your specific assignment.

A. Finding Your Personal Style

In order for students to feel engaged and interested in their presentations, they need to be given a space for adapting the presentation to their own personalities and learning styles. To encourage this, you might ask students to consider the following set of questions:

  1. What do you enjoy most in a presentation?
  2. What kinds of activities, strategies, and rhetorical styles have kept you most engaged, and have enhanced your learning, when you are listening to a presentation?
  3. How can you implement these in your own presentation?

B. Following Basic Guidelines

As some students will approach oral presentations with little or no formal public speaking experience, it seems important to provide them with some basic guidance regarding the following. Emphasizing these guidelines helps you talk about how oral and written discourses differ and thus addresses one tendency that students have to deliver their presentations word-for-word from a written text.

  1. Repetition: The general rule of thumb is that each major point should be reiterated three times (introduced, stated, and restated) throughout the presentation.
  2. Transitions: The connections between ideas should be made very explicit through clear roadmap-style statements (e.g., first, second, third; on the other hand, in contrast).
  3. Simplicity: The purpose of the presentation is not to delve into all the intricate nuances of the argument or topic but to deliver the basic ideas of the topic and points in the argument in a way that is engaging and compelling to the audience.

C. Engaging the Audience

To help students move off the page and into the space of the classroom, as well as implement their own creative styles, you could require that students incorporate a "teaching" component into their presentations. That is, students must get the audience involved in their presentations in an active way by, for example:

  1. Handing out an excerpt from a relevant text for audience members to close-read and comment on briefly.
  2. Organizing audience members into small groups to come up with ideas regarding some aspect of the topic.
  3. Asking audience members to fill out a questionnaire from which they will then be able to comment.
  4. Adapting some other classroom activity in which the class takes part on a regular basis to the presentation topic and implementing it as part of the presentation.
  5. Giving time in the end of the presentation (or at various points throughout) to engage in a dialogue with the audience by asking for questions and responses.

D. Using Visuals

Less is generally more. But it is also better to have something than nothing. In order to encourage students to use visuals and to discourage them from using visuals simply for the sake of using visuals, ask student to consider the following:

  1. What kinds of visuals (handouts, overheads, slides, computer-aided imagery) will work best for the situation in which you will give your presentation?
  2. What kinds of visuals will best suit the purpose and outcomes of the presentation?
  3. Can you present these visuals in such a way that they will add to, and not dectract from, the topic?(e.g., do you know how to run the computer equipment?)