During the course of your studies, you will be required to deliver several oral presentations. These presentations take a number of different forms, such as a five-ten minute tutorial presentation, a 30-40 minute seminar outlining your research or even a conference or workshop presentation. This page identifies the importance of having a key message, before the subsequent pages take you through structuring your presentation, preparing aids and finally the delivery.

Your key message

In the same way that a good essay should have a clear argument, a good presentation needs a clear message. This key message provides the focus for your presentation and gives it structure. Having a clear message helps you to communicate more effectively and takes the focus away from merely delivering information. In the same way that you determine an argument for your essay based on your research and critical analysis of the question or topic, you need to go through the same process in your presentations.

What will be the scope of your talk?

The scope of your talk will be largely determined by the amount of time you have for the presentation. Don't be trapped into thinking about the amount of information you wish to convey. Rather consider how many points and how much detail you can deliver in the allocated time. In a presentation of ten minutes, given that you need to introduce and conclude, you will usually be able to cover two or three points, depending on the level of detail.

To determine the scope:

  • First identify the key message of the talk. The sophistication and depth of the message is likely to be influenced by the presentation time.
  • Then identify the main points that best support this message. The number of points will be determined by your time. The points themselves will be determined by your key message.

To find out more about presentations, please use the menu at the top right hand corner. 

Structuring your presentation >>