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Steps for how to prepare an effective oral presentation

Updated July 20, 2017

Giving an effective oral presentation requires preparation. Preparing for an oral presentation is just as important as delivering the presentation; without preparation the oral presentation will not be delivered effectively. The oral presentation needs to organised and well thought out. Therefore, set aside time to work on your oral presentation.

Know exactly what is required and expected when you will be presenting. Know how long the presentation must be, what type of visual aid is required, and your audience.

Pick a topic, if one was not provided. Depending on the situation, a topic may not be given. Pick a topic that you are familiar with, one that your audience can easily understand and that will meet the requirements of the oral presentation. The topic should be easily searchable and have reliable sources.

Determine the purpose of the oral presentation. The purpose of an oral presentation varies because it depends on the message you will convey.

Analyse the audience, and think about their expectations. Consider the age, values, gender and education level of the audience.

Research the topic and take notes. Take detailed notes about everything that pertains to the topic.

Write a rough draft of your oral presentation. The rough draft will only be used to organise the information obtained from doing research and to write the note cards.

Prepare visual aids for the oral presentation. Some presentations require a PowerPoint, while others require a transparency; follow the requirements given. Keep visual aids simple. Your visual aids should help the audience understand the topic better. Include graphs, charts, pictures or a video clip in your visual aid if it will help your audience understand your topic better. Do not use visual aids that are not directly connected to your topic.

Prepare note cards using your rough draft. Your note cards should be numbered in the order you will use them. Do not write complete sentences because you will not read directly from your note cards. Only take notes, preferably in bullet format, on the note cards. Note cards should be easily read, if needed; therefore, do not overcrowd any note card with too many bullet points. Use as many note cards as necessary without overcrowding any.

Practice and time your presentation. If your presentation needs to fall within a specific time frame, practice and time your presentation using a stopwatch. Use your note cards as a guide to help you remember everything that needs to be said. Do not read directly from your note cards.

Things You'll Need

  • Stopwatch
  • Note cards
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About the Author

Silvia Mendes has been writing articles for eHow since 2010. She has a joint Bachelor of Arts in history from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University. Mendes is pursuing certification in teaching English as a foreign language and a master's degree in public administration.