Tips for Developing Your Oral Presentation Skills

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What Can You Learn?

Making oral presentations whether individual, in pairs, or in groups provide an excellent framework for developing analytical skills in response to literature. Additionally, they help you to develop speaking skills and confidence in delivering information to an audience. Oral presentations are enjoyable and provide an alternative to traditional projects, essays, and written assignments. They appeal to different learning styles, depending on the type of presentation–strictly speaking for auditory learners, one with visual aids for visual learners, speeches involving movement for kinesthetic learners.

The Importance of Structure

Oral presentations, no matter what format they may have, need to have a structure just like an essay, commentary, or creative writing piece. Just standing up in front of the class and improvising or going through a list of points is not going to convince the class or the teacher. Just like an essay, an oral presentation needs to have an opening or introductory section as well as a conclusion or concluding statements.

Presenting Effectively

Many students do not realize that speaking about a text, a novel, or drama requires different skills than writing about it in an essay. Here are some tips to share with your students on how to do an effective presentation

  • Sound enthusiastic about your subject even if you are not. This will help engage your audience.
  • Vary your tone. Avoid speaking in a monotonous voice or you may put your audience to sleep!
  • Make eye contact with your audience. Don’t stare at the floor!
  • Standing with your hands in your pocket and chewing gum will not give your teacher or your audience a good impression.
  • Similarly, avoid fidgeting, moving around too much, and gesticulating wildly.
  • It is very important NOT to read your whole presentation as if it were an essay. Use cue cards. Speak as naturally as possible.
  • Use a formal register! You are not having a chat with your buddies. Avoid slang–dude, supercool, and Hamlet is awesome, for example.
  • Try to sound like a literary expert even if you are not!


  • Teaching experience.

This post is part of the series: Lesson Plans on Oral Presentations

This series will explain how oral presentations on texts can help students develop a better understanding of texts studied in class and also develop their analytical skills. It will also give specific lesson plans for oral presentations on individual texts.

  1. How to Do an Analytical Presentation
  2. A Streetcar Named Desire Characterization Lesson Plan
  3. Oral Presentation on Hamlet for Advanced Literature
  4. Merchant of Venice Oral Presentation
  5. Teaching ‘An Inspector Calls’: Assigning an Oral Presentation