In this post, we teach you how to prepare and practice your oral presentation to get a Band 6, every time.
Are you terrified of public speaking? Do your oral task marks hold your grades down? Fear no more! In this post, we will give you a straightforward process for how to ace oral presentations.
We’ll look at the common struggle students encounter and look at a process for you to produce the best oral presentation you can.
Many students suffer from stage fright and presentation anxiety. Other students either rush through their material too fast, or they are underprepared and try to pad out their speeches with “fluff”. But the real “secret sauce” to any oral presentation is in the preparation:
In this post, we will give you a straightforward process for nailing your oral task. You can break an oral task into three steps:
Knowledge preparation is where you do your research, plan out your speech, and then produce your final version.
Here are the eight key rules for researching and writing a killer speech.
Make sure you know your material extremely well. Know more than you need to present. This will, amongst other things, develop your confidence. If you know more than you need to, you will have no difficulty finding things to discuss in your speech.
Before you put pen to paper, read the marking criteria so you know what is expected of your for a Band 6 result. The marking criteria explains what you need to address in your presentation.
Learning from your past mistakes will help you improve in the future. Before you write the new oral presentation, see what feedback you received from the previous one. This can be broken down into two categories:
You need to figure out what the ideal pace of your speech is. Most people retain information best at between 100-130 words per minute. You need to decide which pace best suits your delivery. Once you have established this, you need to work out what the ideal length of your speech should be.
For example, if you feel you present best at 120 words/minute and you have to present a four-minute speech, then your word limit is 480 words.
Think about that for a moment, because it is an important limit.
Why do you think is is an important limit?
That’s right, 500 words isn’t much, and less than 500 words give you little room to discuss things. A 480-word limit means that you must be both concise and focused. So, you must only choose one or two things to discuss and only focus on one example for each.
Speeches require you to engage your audience from the first sentence. It is a universal truth that nobody enjoys listening to mundane speeches. Winning your audience over and engaging them early on is essential.
A clearly engaged audience will also limit your presentation anxiety.
So, consider beginning with a startling fact, snappy quote, thought-provoking question, or an anecdote to get your audience on-board.
This is a good opportunity to develop a dialogue with your audience.
Remember, asking your audience questions….and then pausing for a moment… will help them digest your ideas.
Once you’ve presented the overview of your argument you need to get into the nitty-gritty of supporting it.
When writing your body, you must consider what is the logical order of information for your presentation. What does the listener need to be told first to be convinced by your argument? For example, if you are arguing about why sonnets are better love poems than ballads, you would need to give an overview of both poetic forms first, before trying to distinguish between them.
Don’t be afraid of repetition.
Repetition is your friend in a speech. Humans are actually pretty poor at retaining information. We think that we are far better listeners than we actually are.
Repeating your key ideas regularly will ensure that your listeners retain this information.
Make sure you present a conclusion. You’re presenting a persuasive argument, to ensure that you persuade your listeners, you must reiterate your key ideas and argument to conclude. Your conclusion will often be the thing foremost in your listeners’ minds once you finish. You need your oral presentation to make an impact and stick in your audience’s mind.
To achieve this stickiness, employ the following structure for a conclusion:
Not everyone can speak off the cuff. Some people need memorise speeches and others need cue cards.
If you need the prompts, make sure to produce cue cards well in advance. Some good practices to follow are:
Before you start practising your speech, you should listen to or watch some other famous orations. Like anything, watching exemplary speeches will give you a benchmark for your own performance.
Here are some examples that are worth a look for inspiration:
If you want to nail that speech without a stutter or moment of hesitation, you must rehearse. You need to rehearse to:
To rehearse properly, first read your speech aloud a few times to learn the material. You want to get a sense of the flow of your argument and make sure that there are no typos or grammatical issues that may trip you up.
Once you’ve done this, practise in front of the mirror with a timer. You need to get your delivery pace correct to match the time-limit and word count of your speech. You should run through your speech 3 or 4 times like this to help build your confidence.
Once you’ve got your confidence you need to get an audience. Grab a parent, sibling or friend, and deliver your speech to them.
Use this as an opportunity to get feedback on your:
The biggest challenge for many during their presentation is keeping in control and keeping a lid on anxiety. Fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, is one of the most common phobias around the world. If you are uncomfortable speaking in public, you are not alone. Below are some useful strategies for staying calm and remaining in-control.
Relaxing before your speech will help you remain calm during it.
One relaxation strategy that you can try right before your presentation is progressive muscle relaxation. In fact, this can be done by tightening a particular muscle in your body, holding it tight for five seconds and then slowly releasing it, focusing your mind on the relaxation of the muscle. Repeat this move with other muscles.
Alternatively, you can also try the ‘4-2-4 breath’ technique, which involves inhaling to a count of four, holding to a count of two and exhaling to a count of four.
Firstly, don’t let negative thoughts take hold. Conquer them first by recognising them for what they are.
Additionally, challenge negative thoughts by considering what evidence you have that the thought is true and then replace these unfounded negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Think about what you would say to a friend in the same situation and/or visualise a positive scenario occurring.
Write down what you are worried about and try to address each concern or consider whether it would be as catastrophic as you believe if it were to come true.
Find an aspect of your speech that you’re really proud of and focus on that part as you work through your presentation.
Are you ready to go slay in-class? Do you really think so?
Well, let’s make sure.
Below is the Oral Presentation Checklist you should follow to guarantee that you have this in the bag.
|Oral Presentation Checklist|
|Step||Part of Speech||Yes/No|
|Knowledge Preparation||Does my speech:
|Delivery Practice||During practice, I:
If you need to produce a multimodal presentation, you should take the time to read Part 10 of our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English.
Develop your writing and speaking skills for mulitmodal presentations. In the Matrix English course, you will: