La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library


La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library


La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library



Preparing for your presentation

You will need to look at your assessment criteria and/or marking rubric to see what you are required to do in your presentation. Some of the information to help you in your planning will include:

  • Is it an individual or group presentation?

  • What is the topic to be covered?

  • Is there a time limit for the presentation as a whole and/or per speaker?

  • What visual aids can be used?

  • What is the purpose of the presentation? Are you informing the audience? Are you leading a discussion? Are you summarising a topic? Presenting an argued point of view?

All oral presentations should be carefully prepared. Just as you would plan a piece of writing, you should also plan what to include in a presentation.

First, think about:

  • What do I/we already know?
  • What research will I/we need to do?
  • What about the audience?
  • What do I/we want to achieve?  To inform, inspire them to think, convince, entertain?
  • What background knowledge will I/we need to provide?
  • Do I/we want the audience involved? How will this be achieved?


  • Brainstorm and outline.
  • Research - don’t get carried away - remember time limits.
  • Organise your material and write a draft - think time again.
  • Plan and prepare your activities and your visual aids.
  • Rehearse your presentation. Ask a friend for feedback. 

Further resources

Think about how all of your information fits together and how it will be organised for your presentation. Think of the structure as having the same sections as an essay or report.


  1. Capture your audience’s attention. (See the section on Engaging your Audience)
  2. State your purpose - ‘Today we will ... ‘
  3. Present an outline of your talk: ‘First we will …Then…  This will lead to… And finally…’>
  4. Don’t forget to introduce yourself (and your group members).


  1. Main points should be in logical order. Don’t try to cover too much on one slide.
  2. Transitions - make it clear when you move to another point. ‘The next point is that ...’ This is especially important when various individuals are contributing to the content.
  3. Use clear examples to illustrate your points. Linking them to real life can help the audience understand.


  1. Clearly summarise the main points. Use language to signal to the audience your intent. For example:  ‘To sum up...’, ‘So, in conclusion...’, ‘To recap the main points…’
  2. Restate the purpose and say that you have achieved your aim: for example, ‘I think you can now see that...’
  3. Do not to let the talk just fizzle out. Avoid finishing with, “That’s it!”
  4. Thank the audience, and invite questions.

In most presentations the way you deliver the content will also contribute to your final grade, so there are a few things to consider.

How will you engage your audience and keep them interested?


Prepare a few questions you can ask the audience:

  • You might ask the question of a particular student or ask the entire audience.
  • Always be prepared for no response - if this happens you can then ask a particular student.
  • These can be short activities - for example, "talk to the person next to you about ..." or "come up with one solution to the problem of ..."
  • Ask the audience to write down some ideas or a response to a question.
  • Ask students or the audience to report back on these activities.
  1. Pay attention to your audience.
  2. How are they reacting. Bored? Confused?
  3. Stop if necessary and explain a point again.
  4. Check if the audience is still with you, ‘Does that make sense?’ ‘Is that clear?’
  5. Be open to questions.