Writing and Communication Center

Integrating Presentations: Preparing the Presentation



Because the formal oral presentation can take many forms and occur at many different times in the quarter (e.g. the beginning, middle, or end of a research project), and because planning and organization seem to be the most important factors in successful presentations, this section provides guidelines to help students prepare for their presentations and/or to help you think about how to prepare your students.



You may want to distribute such questions all at once or over a series of class periods, depending on how much hands-on guidance and feedback you want to give your students in their preparation stages.

A. Purpose and Outcomes

  1. What is the primary purpose of this presentation? (e.g., To provide facts, to persuade, to show how something works, to provide hands-on experience)
  2. What other outcomes are there for this presentation? (e.g., To collect more ideas for a research project based on audience feedback, to consider counter-arguments to your thesis)

B. Audience

  1. Who will be listening to this presentation?
  2. What does the audience already know and need to know about this topic?
  3. How will your listeners use this information? (e.g., To provide feedback on a project, to evaluate the presentation)
  4. What are the audience's biggest concerns or objections to your topic?
  5. What do you want your audience to think, know, or do as a result of this presentation?

C. Focus and Organization


  1. How will you focus and organize the content of your presentation? (e.g., chronologically, spatially, inductively, deductively, problem/solution)
  2. What are your main ideas?
  3. How will you support each main point? (Describe the sources you will use and/or illustrative examples)
  4. How will you gain your audience's attention in introducing your presentation? (e.g., anecdote, relevant statistic, quotation, rhetorical question, audience participation)
  5. What transitions will you use?
  6. How will you conclude or summarize your presentation?
  7. Consider the amount of time allotted for your presentation. Now go back and assess how much material you can realistically cover in this time. What will you eliminate from or add to the content or your presentation?