Oral and written communication require different techniques to communicate effectively. Each type of communication requires appropriate rhetorical strategies.
When preparing oral presentations for a class, students need to consider the following differences between presentations and written assignments:
Class presentation: Utilizes acting techniques such as eye contact, inflections, facial expressions, gestures, rate of speaking.
Written assignment: Requires more audience analysis because there is no direct audience feedback.
Class presentation: Employs a distinct and emphasized organization, including overview and transitions.
Written assignment: Presents organization through more subtle transitions or headings.
Class presentation: Approaches the topic in a more adaptive, spontaneous manner, based on note cards or outline; limits number of points.
Written assignment: Observes writing conventions to connect with audience; may include any number of points.
Class presentation: Interacts with the audience through handouts, discussion, exercises, and questions.
Written assignment: Anticipates audience questions to prevent misunderstanding based on unaddressed issues.
Class presentation: Allows a more informal, personal style, rehearsed but not memorized.
Written assignment: Establishes credibility through the use of formal tone, documentation, and style.
Class presentation: Repeats key ideas to enhance retention.
Written assignment: Uses less repetition to avoid redundancy.
Class presentation: Improves understanding through the use of visuals (transparencies, computer projection, overheads, charts) which are explained as needed.
Written assignment: Relies on text-based explanations of the material; graphics, when uses, must be clear, self-explanatory, and linked to the text.
Class presentation: Projects a professional image.
Written assignment: Demonstrates professionalism through document design and careful editing.