Module 3

Oral Communication Skills

Module III: Oral communication skills

Presentations Skills

(pair/single)- specific language/expressions for starting a

presentation-introducing point-listing ideas-comparing and contrasting-concluding a topic. Mock TV News Reading-pitch-intonation, rhythm-Preparing and presenting short skits-enacting scenes from dramas. Preparing and delivering speeches-welcome,

inaugural, presidential, and vote of thanks-extempore speeches-Evaluating oral presentations.

(Learners have to be sensitized and exposed to the language/expressions used in these different contexts. They also have to be given adequate practice to improve their performative abilities in English )

Starting a Presentation

Presentations can be made in MS PowerPoint or Google Slides or Keynote.

Giving a presentation in English can be quite a challenge. There are just so many aspects to consider.

Firstly, the audience.

Do you know them well? In which case more informal language can be used.

Or are they unfamiliar to you? If this is the case, then more formal expressions should be adopted.

Whether you use more formal or informal language, it is important to engage the audience through positive body language and a warm welcome. Your tone of voice and changes in intonation are additional useful tools and you might consider asking them relevant questions .

The audience also needs to see a clear and logical structure to follow you effortlessly. Useful linking expressions, when delivered well, provide effective ‘bridges’ guiding the audience from one point to the next.


Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome to my presentation. First of all, let me thank you all for coming here today.

Let me start by saying a few words about my own background.

As you can see on the screen, our topic today is......

My talk is particularly relevant to those of you who....

This talk is designed to act as a springboard for discussion.

This morning/ afternoon I’m going to take a look at the recent developments in.....

Additional Reading

Introducing a point

After the welcome address and the introduction of the speaker comes the presentation of the topic. Here are some useful introductory phrases.

  • Today I am here to talk to you about…

  • What I am going to talk about today is…

  • I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about…

  • I am delighted to be here today to tell you about…

  • I want to make you a short presentation about…

  • I’d like to give you a brief breakdown of…

Listing ideas

It is always recommended to present the goals/idea of your presentation at the beginning. This will help the audience to understand your objectives.

  • The purpose of this presentation is…

  • My objective today is…

After presenting the topic and your objectives, give your listeners an overview of the presentation’s structure. Your audience will then know what to expect in detail.

  • My talk/presentation is divided into “x” parts.

  • I’ll start with…/First, I will talk about…/I’ll begin with…

  • …then I will look at…

  • …next…

  • and finally…

How a teleprompter works

(1) Video camera; (2) Shroud; (3) Video monitor; (4) Clear glass or beam splitter; (5) Image from subject; (6) Image from video monitor

A teleprompter, is a display device that prompts the person speaking with an electronic visual text of a speech or script.

How does a Teleprompter work?

A mirrored version of the text displays in reverse on a monitor. The use of a beam-splitter glass reflects the text onto a one-way mirrored glass screen in front of the camera without projecting it on camera.

When is a Teleprompter used?

Teleprompters are very convenient when someone needs to relay a lot of information to a large audience. Speakers can use Teleprompters when their information is highly technical, too complicated to remember, or contains topical details that need to be gotten right. Displaying the words in front of the camera benefits the reader by allowing them to read their speech while maintaining eye contact with the audience. Crew members may sometimes also place the device so close that it detects the reader’s eye movements.

Free Online Teleprompter Software


Preparing and presenting short skits

A skit is a small show or performance that consists of little comedic scenes. To prepare a captivating skit, you have to think of the funny ideas. Determine the genre and length of your skit. Decide what you are attempting to do with your story. Do you wish to convey a message or just make your audience laugh? What tone would you like to set?

After you’ve decided what your skit should look like, sit down and start writing.


Occasionally an amazing idea may come out of nowhere, but usually, you should search for that idea. Find inspiration for a story by watching YouTube videos or reading famous comedy sketches. Concentrate on the scenarios you find funny. Then take a notebook and write down all interesting thoughts. Each outstanding skit has a strong point of view that can be easily determined. Make certain your story contains a clear idea – it will make your skit original.


Even if your skit is very small, it should have the beginning, middle and end. That’s why when writing your story, you need to identify these three parts and divide the information accordingly. Since the skits are comedic in nature, your introduction can depict normal, everyday situation. The middle part is when something out of the norm happens. The conclusion is when there are the climax and resolution.


There are a few rules and formats for writing skits. No matter which one you choose, make sure it is easy to follow. When creating the first draft, don’t try to make everything perfect. Your aim is just to get a general sketch you will improve later.

  • Write the title at the top of your skit.

  • Below write the names of the involved characters.

  • To include a dialogue, center the name of the character who is speaking. On the next line, write a dialogue.

  • To write actions, use parentheses.


Your skit should have a rising action before hitting the climax and then ending. Make sure to keep your script short because you can lose the humor if you make it too long. Usually, the first draft takes about five pages, but later you can cut some parts out. So don’t worry, use as many words as you need to disclose your topic and build the action up.


After you complete the first draft, read it out load. This will help you realize what parts of your skit should be improved.

Show your sketch to someone whose opinion you trust. It is always helpful to get the honest feedback.

Take notes of the things that people thought were funny and not funny at all. Though you may like some jokes, they cannot work in your particular story.

Make sure your skit is clear and up to the point. Consider removing the lines and dialogues that do not play an important role in your story.


Depending on how serious you are about performing your skit, you may want to find talented people to present your skit. Organize rehearsals and provide the actors with the pages of your script. If you work in a group and already know who is going to perform, then plan several rehearsals to practice. As your skit is short, usually one or two rehearsals will be enough. If you are going to film your skit, you need to have a camera and some lighting equipment if possible. Then you can upload your skit to YouTube for others to see it.

Skits are meant to be fun, so have a great time while writing and performing it!


Preparing and delivering Speeches

  1. Know your audience

  2. Know the occasion

  3. Select a topic

  4. Select a purpose

  5. Gather potential content

  6. Gather more content than actually used

  7. Organize content

  8. Phrase the speech

  9. Prepare visual aids

  10. Practice, practice, practice

1. Know your audience.

Whether you are presenting a paper or giving a speech, you need to analyze your audience first and foremost. It is easy to alienate an audience by not examining the characteristics of the group, what they know and what they want to know. Be aware of the audience’s attitudes and beliefs in general, toward you and the topic. Consider age, socioeconomic status, and educational level. For example, if you are addressing a veteran group of administrators on a management topic, covering the basics of management would undoubtedly be boring and possibly insulting. There are numerous other factors crucial to analyzing an audience, but the time spent on this background check is necessary for the success of your presentation.

2. Know the occasion.

As you scrutinize the audience, think carefully about the occasion. Are you a keynote speaker? Presenting a paper? Introducing a speaker or chairing a panel? Each situation is different and requires preparation tailored to the occasion. Occasion analysis includes looking at room size (i.e., whether there are enough chairs for everyone affects the comfort level of the group which in turn affects its response to your message), the arrangement of space (can everyone see you?), and the acoustics (there’s nothing more exasperating than having to strain to hear a speaker). Be conscientious about time limits too—if you are allotted 15 minutes, then prepare your speech or presentation accordingly. Also, make sure your message matches the occasion. It would be inappropriate, for example, to speak about a serious topic at a happy event.

3. Select a topic.

Selecting a topic can some- times occur first, stemming from the audience and occasion, as in the case of a paper being accepted for a conference. If you need to pick a topic, however, be sure it is one that is inter- esting to you. It is also a good idea to be a little more knowledgeable about the subject than your audience, but interest is crucial. If you do not have enthusiasm for the subject matter, neither will your audience.

4. Select a purpose.

For this step, deter- mine the general purpose of your speech or presentation. Are you informing, presenting, or entertaining? Beyond the general purpose, decide on a specific purpose, what you want your audience to spe- cifically think or do (e.g., I want my audience to under- stand the three benefits of holding a faculty workshop on preparing library assign- ments). It is helpful at this stage to write down the central idea or thesis statement of your talk as well (e.g., library censorship is increasing).

5. Gather potential content.

If you are presenting a paper, you have already done this step. If not, this is the research phase where you gather information through printed sources, interviews, discussion with others, and your own expertise.

6. Gather more content than actually used.

Sort through your material choosing only the strongest and best material for your talk. This step allows you the luxury of editing and, if need be, recognizing any information gaps that need to be filled.

7. Organize content.

The importance of this step cannot be stressed enough, for both speeches and paper presentations. Many presenters do not realize that presenting a paper does not mean the paper is read, word for word, at breakneck speed. Rather, the “information has to be recast for the new medium. Don’t be bound by the flow of your paper.”2 This means organize your ideas based on the audience, occasion, and purpose of your presentation.

Follow the standard organizational format of introduction, body, and conclusion, which translates into the standard public speaking formula:

• Tell them what you’re going to tell them;

• Tell them;

• Tell them what you’ve told them.3

Outline the body of your talk first, limiting it to three or four main points with sufficient supporting material to back up those points. Too much information can lose an audience; well-organized key points help an audience re- member them and allow for easy note-taking.

After you have outlined the body of your speech or paper, prepare the introduction and conclusion. Your introduction should start out with an attention- getter which can be an anecdote, a quotation, a question, a joke, or whatever is appropriate for the topic and audience.

The introduction is also your opportunity to build rapport between you and the audience; tell them why your speech or paper is relevant to them and that you are glad to be speaking to them. A colleague related to me an opening remark by a speaker which did not serve to build rapport between her and the audience, even though she probably intended it to. The speaker said, in essence, “I’ve been to a hun- dred of these and, to tell you the truth, I really don’t want to be here; my feet hurt; and I don’t know what I’m going to say, but we’ll get through this together.” Please, treat your audi- ence as if they are guests in your home.

Once you’ve told your audience why they should want to listen to you, lead into your talk by briefly previewing the major points to be covered in your speech (tell them what you’re going to tell them).

The conclusion should include the summary of the main points (tell them what you’ve told them) and a final statement that leaves the audience with something to think about or remember (this will depend on the purpose of your speech).

For your talk, I suggest you write the main ideas of your introduction, body, and conclusion on 3 x 5 note cards that are numbered (in case you drop them). Many speakers write delivery cues on the cards, i.e., “slow down,” “emphasize this word,” “look at audience.” You can also indicate transitions on the cards so you will move smoothly from idea to idea. Overall, be sure your note cards are just that—easy- to-read notes on easy-to-handle cards—and not the speech written in full.

Also, movement is fine, but only if it is controlled—your audience does not want fo feel it is at a tennis match.

8. Phrase the speech.

The previous steps involved preparing the message; now you are ready to work on delivering the message. Usually, a type of delivery most appropriate is the extemporaneous delivery. With extemporaneous speaking, you are thoroughly prepared and practiced, but the exact wording of the speech is determined at the time you actually speak the words. You want to avoid memorizing your talk; instead, know your key ideas and translate them into words as you speak. This means you have to think about what you are saying as you are speaking. Each time you practice, you may say your speech a little bit differently, but this allows flexibility and the chance to adapt to your audience if needed. Speaking extemporaneously can be difficult to achieve at first, but this style of delivery creates spontaneity, which can affect the receptivity of your audience to you and your ideas.

9. Prepare visual aids.

Visual aids, if appropriate for your speech or presentation, can help your audience remember your points and clarify information. Speech textbooks usually emphasize the following when covering visual aids: make sure the audience can see the visual aid; show the visual aid only when you are referring to it; and talk to the audience, not to the visual aid. Also, practice with the visual aid; using visual aids can add to the length of a talk and can cause you to become flustered if you run into difficulties. Additionally, if you have audience handouts, distribute them at the end of your talk if possible. An audience’s attention can shift easily to a handout instead of staying focused on you.

10. Practice, practice, practice.

Practicing your presentation or speech contributes directly to your success as a speaker. As you practice, consider both your verbal and nonverbal delivery. Vocal delivery includes volume, rate, pitch. Strive for vocal variety which is the variation of these elements—loudness/softness (volume), fastness/slowness (rate), highness/lowness (pitch). An expressive voice will engage an audience; a monotonous, flat voice will lose one. Also, remember that nonverbal delivery carries as much weight as verbal. Eye contact with your audience is crucial, and this means actually looking at audience members. Hamilton Gregory says to look at the audience 95 percent of the time in a friendly, sincere way, using the other five percent of the time to look at your notes.5 As for posture, don’t slouch, and avoid shifting your weight from foot to foot.


  1. “Ten Steps” in preparing a speech was part of a lecture by Dr. Steven Brooks in his class, “Teaching of Oral Communication,” 1986.

  2. Donata Renfrow and James C. Impara, “Making Academic Presentations—Effectively!” Educational Researcher 18 (March 1989): 20-21.

  3. Clare Martin, “A Woman’s Place Is on the Platform,” Assistant Librarian 80 (July 1987): 100-101.

  4. Renfrow and Impara, “Making Academic Presentations,” 21.

  5. Hamilton Gregory, Public Speaking for College and Career (New York: Random House, 1987), p. 285.

Copyright © American Library Association

Evaluating an Oral Presentation

Every oral presentation has key components that are crucial for the success of the presentation. Just consider the important factors such as confidence, quality, clarity and organization.

  1. Determine the confidence of the speaker. The speaker should be comfortable and easily connect with the audience. ...

  2. Determine the quality of the information presented. ...

  3. Determine the level of clarity. ...

  4. Determine the level of organization.

Confidence of the speaker

The speaker should be comfortable and easily connect with the audience. If a speaker acts uncomfortable or nervous, the presentation is not going well. However, if the speaker easily makes eye contact, invites audience participation and puts the audience at ease, this aspect of the presentation is a success.

Quality of the information presented.

The speaker should provide enough details to support the point of the presentation but not too many unnecessary details that may confuse or bore the audience.

Level of clarity.

The speaker should be easily able to convey the point he is trying to make. Vocabulary should be easy to understand, and all words should be spoken in a clear and fluent manner.

Level of organization.

Every presentation should have some sort of structure and organization, whether formal or informal. Simple things such as making sure there is a proper introduction and conclusion can go a long way in making the presentation a success.