Tips on Oral Presentations





  • Memorize your entire speech and write brief notes as cues to help you remember the speech.
  • Write the cues on small cards—no more than three or four cues per card.


  • Write the speech onto small cards, again no more than three sentences per card. Memorize as much of the speech as possible, even if you do not plan to memorize the entire speech.


On your cue cards,

  • Leave spaces or slashes (/) where you plan to pause for effect.
  • Highlight the words you plan to stress.
  • If you are using visual aids, plan in advance how to use them.
  • Plan some appropriate hand gestures to emphasize your points.
  • Practice your speech several times.


Delivering the speech


  • Standing will help you project your voice.
  • Find a convenient place, preferably at least waist high, to put your cards on.
  • Do not clutch your cue cards.  Lay them on a desk or podium, and touch them only to turn them over.
  • Stand up straight and maintain good posture while you are speaking.  Do not shift your weight from side to side.
  • Introduce yourself before you begin.
  • Resist the temptation to begin by saying “My speech is about…”  Begin with the introductory sentence you have written for your speech.
  • Look at your audience.  Try to look at each person at least once throughout the speech.  If you are shy or nervous, you don’t have to focus on your audience, but you must at least look in their direction.
  • Project your voice to the person farthest from you so that everyone can hear you.
  • Vary your volume and pitch;  make important points louder and decrease your volume when you want your audience to listen intently.
  • Emphasize important words and leave pauses after significant sentences so your audience has time to consider their importance.
  • If you lose your place, say nothing until you have found it.  Your audience will assume you are pausing for effect. 
  • Make sure your tone and facial expression reflect what you are saying.  Show seriousness, humour, or enthusiasm when appropriate.
  • The final sentence you wrote for your speech should be memorable.  Do not lessen its effect by adding phrases such as “that’s all” or “the end” or merely trailing off. 
Last modified: Sunday, 2 December 2012, 9:20 PM