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Assignment Tips

Oral Presentations

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.