At least once in a student's university career, he or she will have to stand before a group of peers and give an oral presentation. Let’s take a look at how to write and deliver them.

Structure and Content

The general structure of a presentation is much like that of an essay in that it has an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. However, there are obvious differences between addressing a crowd and composing an essay. Here is the basic structure to follow:


  • Hook
    • The easiest way to get your audience's attention at the beginning of a presentation is with a simple greeting. Do not underestimate the significance of a simple "Hello, everyone".
    • Much like the essay, begin the presentation by introducing the topic with an engaging statement, a surprising fact, a rhetorical question, or a powerful image.
  • Background
    • Provide context for your audience—any general information about the topic they will need to fully understand the issue.
  • Thesis
    • Clearly convey the purpose of your presentation and the main points you will discuss.
    • While it is inappropriate in essay writing, in a presentation, the speaker is expected to announce his or her intentions. For example, "Today, I would like to discuss why..." or "First, I will explain why ...and afterwards, I will look at..."


  • The Argument
    • Present a logical argument that is easy to follow.
    • Support the claim within the thesis.
    • Develop each supporting point with specific details to exemplify or explain your position.
    • These specific details should include relevant information from credible sources.
    • Provide clear transitions from one key point to the next.
    • Use visuals to emphasize points and engage with the audience.


  • Like the conclusion of an essay, the conclusion of a presentation includes a restatement of the main idea and a summary of the main points.
  • Make one final statement to leave an impression on the audience, to leave the listener with something to consider.
  • Make it clear to the audience that your presentation is coming to an end with a simple "Thank you."


Do not read

  • Prepare beforehand and know the material well enough that you can talk to your audience. Reading too much from a card or screen makes the speaker seem unprepared and nervous.

Do not try to memorize the material

  • Understand your argument but do not try to memorize a sequence of sentences. Know your presentation well enough that a quick glance at your notes or visuals will remind you if you lose your place.

Make eye-contact

  • Eye contact is an effective way of engaging an audience. However, do not stare at one particular person in the crowd for the entire presentation; let your eyes move freely from person to person.

Be aware of body language

  • Your ideas and facts may not matter if your body language does not reflect the strength of your words. Having good posture and appearing confident have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of a presentation.

Be aware of your voice

  • Volume
    • Make sure you are speaking loudly enough to be heard by everyone.
  • Clarity
    • Be sure that you are speaking clearly.
    • Practice the pronunciation of difficult vocabulary before the presentation until you are certain that you are pronouncing it correctly. A repeatedly mispronounced word can confuse the audience.
  • Tone
    • Speak with a lively tone to keep the audience engaged—monotonous speech will lose attention.
  • Pace
    • Slow down and breathe. If you speak too quickly, the audience may be unable to follow your argument.
    • Watch your time—if you are going too slow, pick up speed so you do not go too long. If you are going too fast, slow down.