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4 modes of speech delivery | an overview 

Which speech delivery technique is best.

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Updated: 12-16-2023

There are 4 modes (methods) or ways to deliver a speech: to read it from a manuscript word by word, to completely memorize it, as an impromptu, and to give it extemporaneously.

Image: 1950s retro woman with speech bubble. Text: Headline - The four modes of speech delivery: manuscript, memorized, impromptu, extemporaneous. How do I choose the right one?

How do you know which mode will be most effective?

The answer depends on how much time you have available, the type of speech you’re giving and, your audience.

Let’s briefly outline each method and their advantages and disadvantages.

What's on this page

An overview of the 4 modes of speech delivery, the pros (advantages) and cons (disadvantages) of each, plus links to examples and further resources.

  • extemporaneous

1. Manuscript

One of the most common ways to deliver a speech is to use a manuscript: a word by word document of everything you plan to say from beginning to end. This ensures, when you read it out loud, what you say is exactly what you intend, without deviation.

What is the best way to write a manuscript speech?

As with any type of speech, the best way to start is not with the words but with considering your topic, your audience, how much time you have to speak and the purpose of your speech.

Once you have those clear, then you are ready to begin planning a speech outline: an overview of all the material you want to cover. 

When the outline is completed you’ll use that to write your manuscript.

Click the link for more about the process of preparing a speech outline , with examples. (The page also has a free printable blank speech outline for you to download and use)

And for more about writing a speech, in particular writing oral language, words to be spoken aloud, please see how to write a speech . You’ll find a useful guide covering the principal characteristics of spoken speech. (It is very different from writing an essay!) 

Who regularly delivers a manuscript speech?

Newsreaders, TV personalities, politicians, business leaders and the President! Anybody whose speech is going to be closely scrutinized will use either a manuscript or its electronic equivalent, a teleprompter. These are speeches where the content is significant, perhaps life changing, where facts and figures must be 100% accurate, and where the tone of the language used is important.

What distinguishes a good delivery of a manuscript speech from a poor one, is practice. Some of the greatest public speakers in the world ‘read’ their speeches with so much skill they sound as if they are making up what they’re saying on the spot. The speech comes across as being completely spontaneous and is delivered flawlessly. 

Great public speakers who 'read' their speeches

A famous example is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill. Throughout World War Two (1939-1945) his extraordinary speeches inspired the people he led to persevere in their fight to keep the Nazis out of England in spite of the odds being stacked against them.

Image: Winston Churchill + quotation - "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few..."

To find out more read Winston Churchill's Way With Words - an excellent NPR article, with audio, on how he crafted his speeches. 

And another more recent example is America’s ex-President Barack Obama. 

American Rhetoric has audio and text (pdf) links to his speeches spanning 2002 - 2014. Four are included in a list of 49 of the most important speeches in 21st century America . These are:

  • 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address
  • Commencement Address at Knox College (2005)
  • A More Perfect Union (2008)
  • Speech at the 'Together We Thrive: Tucson and America' Memorial (2011)

How to deliver a manuscript speech

Print your speech out single sided. Make sure each page is numbered clearly. Use an easily read font like Arial, black ink, and size the font and space the lines so that the text may be read at a glance.

Use a lectern  adjusted for your height  to put your manuscript on. As you finish reading each page turn it over face down and move it to your left. That will help stop you from getting muddled.

Aim for at least one read through aloud before you deliver it.

The more you can practice the better your delivery will be. 

How to read aloud well

Reading aloud well is a skill. Some people are very good at it, and some are ghastly, largely because they’ve had no practice. (And sadly, many who regularly read their speech scripts don’t realize how bad they are to listen to because nobody has told them. Their presentations have been endured, rather than enjoyed for years!)

If you have to regularly read your speeches here’s how to read a speech effectively: 4 good ways to improve how you read aloud . It will help a great deal!

Image: woman standing behind podium with a mike. Text: How to read a speech aloud effectively.

The pros (advantages) for a manuscript speech

The major advantage of using a script is that it ensures the speaker will deliver the right message, the one that’s been prepared, without errors. This is particularly important when presenting complex subject matter.  

Another is that when there's not enough time to rehearse or prepare thoroughly, reading may be the only real option available. Without the safety of a script you may forget large chunks of information, or misremember important material. The script keeps you on track.

A third reason could be that the mere presence of the script is reassuring for nervous or anxious speakers. Even if they do not actually need it, because they’ve prepared well, the script is calming. If they suddenly blank out, they’ll be alright, as they have the script to refer to.

And a fourth is that you can easily back track, return to a point you made several pages earlier, if you need to.

The cons (disadvantages) of manuscript speeches

The main disadvantages of using a manuscript are:

  • being anchored to one place . If you are using a full script you need to remain in front of the lectern, or teleprompter in order to read it. You can not move freely as you deliver your speech.
  • lack of eye contact with your audience because you need to keep your eyes on your words. When there is very little or no eye contact between a speaker and their audience, the audience switches off because they feel ignored, shut out.  The ability to look at the audience while using notes or a teleprompter helps your audience to listen better, retain more of what they hear, and feel as if they’ve gained more value from your speech. Click the link for more about the importance of using eye contact [including 5 fun activities to teach students how to use eye contact well]
  • Using language that doesn’t flow easily when you say it aloud . There are major differences between writing intended for oral language - something to be spoken aloud, and writing something that is intended to be read, like a newspaper article or an essay. For more please see how to write a speech . You’ll find an infographic on the characteristics of spoken language.   Whenever possible, always read your manuscript aloud before you deliver it. It’s much nicer to find typos, missing words, vital information omissions and other glitches (such as words you are not sure how to pronounce correctly), by yourself rather than in public. Another useful thing to do is to run your manuscript through a grammar checker . It may pick up errors you've overlooked.

2. Memorized speech

A memorized speech is one delivered completely from memory. That means: no notes at all. There is just you: the speaker, the speech you recall, word for word, and your audience.

Why choose to memorize a speech?

There are three likely reasons. 

  • You want the illusion of a ‘natural’ conversation between yourself and your audience. The presence of a lectern with your manuscript on it, a teleprompter, or a set of cue cards in your hand makes that impossible.
  • You want to be able to ‘play’ freely with your delivery: to be able to move, to gesture, as you see fit rather than be tethered to notes.
  • You want to make completely sure the words you have written are faithfully delivered to the audience, without any changes at all. That can be vital in comedy.

What type of speech is enhanced through memorization?

A personal speech, for example one sharing childhood stories, a very carefully scripted humorous speech where you absolutely must get the words in the right order for them to work, or an inspirational one prepared especially to move and motivate a particular audience. All of these can be more effective delivered without notes.

There are also declamation speeches . These are in a special category of their own. They are memorized recitations of known speeches: a task set by teachers to have their pupil's fully experience the power of carefully crafted, well delivered oratorical language.    

What type of speeches are NOT suited to memorization?

  • Any presentation or speech covering critical information that people will use to make important, and often life-altering, decisions. For instance, a detailed weather report cannot be inaccurate. The information outlining the state government’s strategy for combating poverty, declining employment rates, and climate change needs to be presented in a way the audience can easily follow and be factually correct. Missing bits out or getting them wrong creates confusion.
  • Presentations which include large amounts of data : for example, a roundup of a company’s annual performance figures would be very difficult to accurately memorize, as well as being very difficult for an audience to listen to and retain.   
  • Lengthy presentations - speeches running over 10 or more minutes in time.     

How to memorize a speech

If you decide to memorize your entire speech, the very first thing you’ll need is lots of time to practice. This is critical. Do not be tempted to minimize how much is required.

To safely commit it to memory you have to go over and over your speech until you can easily say it out loud without hesitation, deviation or repetition. This can take weeks of regular daily practice, particularly if you’ve not done it before. If you haven’t got that time available to you, opt for an extemporized delivery. (See the notes on extemporaneous speeches below.)

Review your speech outline

Having made the decision to memorize, the next thing you need to do is carefully review your speech outline. 

These are questions you’ll want to consider: 

  • Are the major points in the right order? Do you have supporting examples for each of them? Are the transitions between each of the points clear? Is there a memorable conclusion? Does the opening or introduction work as a hook to pull the audience in?
  • Does the speech have a clear purpose? Does it meet it? Has it been tailored for its intended audience? 

(Click the link for more about preparing a useful speech outline . You’ll find step by step guidelines, examples, and a free printable blank outline template to use.) 

Repeat your speech out loud, a lot!

Once you are satisfied with your outline, it’s time to begin the process of committing it to memory.

This starts with saying your speech out loud multiple times while using your outline. As you do you’ll be listening for bits you need to change in some way. Perhaps the words you’re using aren’t quite right for your audience. Maybe it doesn’t flow as well as you thought it did and you’ll want to swap pieces around. Or it’s too long and needs pruning. 

It’s a repetitive process: make a change. Try it out. If it’s good, keep it and move on to the next section. Repeat until you’ve worked through the entire speech.

An additional tip is for every significant change you make, make a new document, (eg. myspeech v1, myspeech v2, myspeech v3…) or at least track the changes. That way if you decide you want to revert to an earlier version you can. I’ve got at least 10 versions of some of the speeches I’ve written!

The next step is to begin working without the outline. 

The 'see, walk, and talk' method

The method I use is the same one I use as an actor to learn play lines. 

I call it ‘see, walk and talk’. It's a 3 part approach. Each is essential. 

The seeing part is visualization: seeing the words on the page. Seeing the order they come in, and anything else that distinguishes them from the rest. Is it a heading? Is it a number? Is it highlighted? 

The second part is walking. Walking helps a great deal and is an ancient  technique for  memorizing   now backed by science. *

If it’s fine, I walk outside and as I walk, I talk (the third part), repeating out loud  the section I'm trying to recall over and over until I get it right.

If the weather is bad, then I walk inside, around and around a room, or on a treadmill which works just as well.

*   Schmidt-Kassow M, Zink N, Mock J, et al. Treadmill walking during vocabulary encoding improves verbal long-term memory. Behav Brain Funct. 2014;10:24. Published 2014 Jul 12. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-10-24 ) 

'See, walk, talk' in action

Start with the body of your speech, the main points. Your goal is to remember each one, in their correct order.

There are three steps in this process.

  • Look at your outline. If it helps highlight the main points, and number them. Take a mental photograph of it.
  • Put the outline behind your back. Walk and say out loud as many of the main points you can in their correct order.
  • When you find yourself struggling to recall, stop. Look at your outline. Take another mental photo. Put the outline behind your back, and start over again. Walk and talk. 

Repeat until you can run through the entire sequence of main points, and the transitions between them, without hesitation.

Add the subpoints to the main points

The next step is to add the fine points - the subpoints (additional material) and examples to your main points.

Go back to the first main point. Take a mental snapshot of the subpoints and examples. Note carefully the order they come in, and any specialist vocabulary or phrase you wanted to use.

Now walk and talk. Repeat the sequence until you have it as you want it. Then go back to the beginning and repeat the first main point, its supporting material and then the subsequent main points.

Your next part to memorize is the second main point's supporting material. Once you have that down, you go back to the beginning to run the first main point, its sub points, then the second point and its sub points.  Then you are ready to do the third main point in exactly the same way.

Add the conclusion and the beginning

Once you have completed memorizing the body of your speech, add the conclusion and the beginning.   

The pattern is simple. You add a piece, then go back and repeat it all through from the beginning. Each repetition etches it more deeply into your memory.

Please note : you are not working on delivery as you say it out loud. This is purely routine repetition. There is no need for pausing, emphasis, or changes in volume and pace. Think of it as a vanilla performance - plain.  At this stage the bulk of your energy needs to go into remembering, not expression. 

Sort out and memorize the delivery

Image: an illustration of 4 people using speaking trumpets to increase the volume of their voices. Text: Vocal aspects of speech delivery.

Delivery is how you say your speech, not what you say.

Once you have the content (what you are saying) reliably remembered, you are free to work on your vocal delivery: how you are going to say it.

Which parts need to be said more slowly? Which parts need to be highlighted through strategic pausing? What can be spoken quickly? Are there bits that need to be treated as asides? Are there ‘voices’ to take on? Perhaps an angry voice? Or a wheedling, whining voice?

How you say your speech directly affects how your audience receives it. If you deliver it like a monotone robot - one speed, one tone, one pitch, one volume, people’s ears will switch off even if the content is interesting to them. Delivery can make all the difference between listening and not listening.

To be effective, your delivery needs to fit both the content and the audience’s needs.

As with memorizing the content, getting the delivery how you want it requires experimentation and then repetition to ensure you’ve got it safely embedded.

Working with a recorder is useful to actually hear what your voice is doing, rather what you think it’s doing. There’s often a very big difference. You’ll hear if you’re going too quickly, pausing too long, not pausing long enough, mispronouncing words, gabbling, or using the same inflection pattern over and over again.

Find out more about the vocal aspects of speech delivery . 

Use a mirror, a video and a test audience

It’s also useful to either work in front of a mirror or video yourself. That will show you where you need to modify your body language. Do you stand straight? Do you gesture appropriately? 

Rinse, and repeat until you feel happy with what you’re doing. And then practice in front of a select test audience, whom you know will give you honest useful feedback. Incorporate what you want from the suggestions you’re given and practice again. And now you should be ready to deliver your speech!

Pros of memorizing your speech

A memorized speech is generally more engaging. If delivered well it creates the illusion of having a conversation with your audience because you are speaking directly to them and you are able to make eye contact freely, as well as move how, and where you want. This creates a more intimate and personal connection.

Cons of memorizing your speech

There are three major disadvantages to memorizing a speech. The biggest is the risk of forgetting something, especially with a longer speech. This can lead to panic which leads to scrabbling around trying to pick up the threads to start again. That can rapidly become a downward spiral which compromises the whole presentation.

Secondly, using a memorized speech can constrain or limit the ideas you express because everything is prepared in advance. It leaves little room for spontaneity: content adjustments and additions made in response to a particular audience’s needs.

And thirdly, a memorized speech can be incredibly boring if the speaker has not worked on delivery. It has a canned quality, lacking immediacy and vitality. It sounds like a switch got flicked on and out it comes: blah, blah, blah … irrespective of the audience.

3. Impromptu

An impromptu speech is, as its name suggests, a speech made without prior planning, organization or rehearsal.

Although it may be based on a brief outline or written prompt, the speaker will often have little or no opportunity for detailed or extensive preparation.

While making an impromptu speech involves little immediate preparation it require significant amounts of prior practice to give one well.

An effective impromptu speech is structured, (beginning, middle, end), and meets the needs of those listening to it. To give a good one requires versatility and flexibility: the ability to adapt and respond easily and appropriately to the unexpected.

The speaker needs to understand how to quickly choose the best format, how to decide on the main points to cover, how to order them, and how to open and close the speech.

And lastly, impromptu speaking requires confidence, and trust in oneself.  

When should an impromptu speech be delivered?

There are many social or work settings where making an impromptu speech is expected, and if done well, very much appreciated.

At a family get together the person who is asked to say a few words to welcome everyone, or make the toast is giving an impromptu speech. At a meeting to discuss current work issues, a sales manager may be asked to outline areas of challenge without prior warning. The response they give is an impromptu speech.

The ability to summon up succinct, structured remarks is highly valued in all areas of life. 

How do you prepare for an impromptu speech?

The essential preparation for impromptu speaking begins out of the spotlight, long before being asked to speak.

For comprehensive step by step guidelines covering how to gain the necessary skills please see:  strategies and templates to succeed at impromptu speaking .

You’ll find tips to get you started, 7 different structural templates to use, suggestions for keeping any nervousness under control, and links to 100s of impromptu speaking topics to use for practice.

Pros of impromptu speeches

The advantages definitely outweigh any disadvantages. 

Although some people have a natural gift for being able to talk freely and spontaneously, it can be learned. It’s a skill, like riding a bike. (But better!) When you’re beginning you fall off a few times, and graze your knees. If you get back on and keep pedaling eventually you stay upright.

Get better at impromptu speaking and you’ll find it will open many doors, leading to a richer and fuller life.  

Don’t settle for silence when you can learn to speak up for yourself, and others.

If you're reluctant to attempt it and put yourself out there, please read this article:  Speaking in business may be your most important skill .

The cons of impromptu speaking

In some contexts and on some subjects it would be unwise to attempt delivering an impromptu speech.

For instance, when asked for an evaluation of business risks associated with Covid-19, or to comment on possible correlations between socio-economic status and educational achievement in the USA, speaking without consulting a broad cross-section of informed specialists would be ill-advised. 

Each situation needs careful consideration. Are you able to talk knowledgeably on the topic you’ve been given? Are you entitled to talk about it?

If you can not speak on the subject being asked of you, say so politely. You can offer to come back with a full response at a later date. Or you can hand the question on to someone who can answer it. Knowing your limits is very useful for maintaining credibility!

Another possible downside is succumbing to fear. It could be fear of finding yourself with nothing to say, of drying up under pressure, or of muddling material in some way. The only really useful antidote to nervousness/fear is practice. Lots, and lots of it. It does get better! 

4. Extemporaneous speaking

An extemporaneous speech is one where the speaker combines the use of notes or cue cards with improvisation. It’s a mix of carefully scripted and sequenced material and impromptu speaking.  

How do you deliver an extemporaneous speech?

An extemporaneous delivery is naturally flowing and conversational. The points to be made will have been carefully outlined. They will be in the correct order, along with their supporting ideas and examples but the exact wording is made up as you go along.

If you give the same speech to different audiences, the words you use may change because every audience responds differently. The result is a speech that is fresh each time it is delivered, because while you are speaking, you are in the moment, speaking off-the-cuff and from the heart. The text is neither memorized, or being read word for word.

Like the first three modes of delivery, this too needs practice, in order to become good at it. 

You’ll need to practice:

  • speaking to time to avoid either going on too long or being too brief
  • making effective transitions - finding the bridging words to link one main point to the next, or to link one segment of your speech to the following one. For instance the introduction to the body of the speech,  or the body of the speech to the conclusion.
  • openings and conclusions.

For more information here's a very useful 'how to' article from The Dept. of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh on oral discourse and extemporaneous delivery .  

The advantages of extemporaneous speeches

An extemporaneous speech is more spontaneous and therefore natural compared to either a manuscript or memorized speech.  The speaker is free to tailor the presentation to the audience, rather than sticking to a set speech. That could include responding to any questions or objections he receives. 

Disadvantages of extemporaneous speeches

There are three main drawbacks to extemporaneous speaking.

The first is becoming stranded; tongue tied and silent because you don't know how to get from one point on your outline or cue cards to the next.  When that happens, the delivery becomes stilted, a stop-start presentation, which in turn can make the speaker feel anxious, which makes recovering the flow more difficult.

A second drawback is misreading the audience, and delivering the speech using either language, (word choices), or humor they find hard to understand or accept.

As an example, a speech littered with ‘corporate speak’ is not going to win me over. I don’t want to hear about ‘core competencies’, ‘going forwards’ , ‘ducks in a row’ or anything ‘scalable’ at all!

And a third is exceeding the time allowance you’d been given. Because you are fleshing it out from your cue cards or outline as you go along it is easy to lose track of time. The cumulative effect of an additional example or two and further comments, quickly soaks it up, leaving you scrambling to finish properly.  

If you are a first time presenter, probably the safer option is to learn how to read a manuscript speech well and gradually build the skills required to give an extemporaneous speech.

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14.1 Four Methods of Delivery

Learning objectives.

  • Differentiate among the four methods of speech delivery.
  • Understand when to use each of the four methods of speech delivery.

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown bring greetings to the 13th Annual House of Ruth Spring Luncheon. by Brian K. Slack at Baltimore, MD

Maryland GovPics – House of Ruth Luncheon – CC BY 2.0.

The easiest approach to speech delivery is not always the best. Substantial work goes into the careful preparation of an interesting and ethical message, so it is understandable that students may have the impulse to avoid “messing it up” by simply reading it word for word. But students who do this miss out on one of the major reasons for studying public speaking: to learn ways to “connect” with one’s audience and to increase one’s confidence in doing so. You already know how to read, and you already know how to talk. But public speaking is neither reading nor talking.

Speaking in public has more formality than talking. During a speech, you should present yourself professionally. This doesn’t mean you must wear a suit or “dress up” (unless your instructor asks you to), but it does mean making yourself presentable by being well groomed and wearing clean, appropriate clothes. It also means being prepared to use language correctly and appropriately for the audience and the topic, to make eye contact with your audience, and to look like you know your topic very well.

While speaking has more formality than talking, it has less formality than reading. Speaking allows for meaningful pauses, eye contact, small changes in word order, and vocal emphasis. Reading is a more or less exact replication of words on paper without the use of any nonverbal interpretation. Speaking, as you will realize if you think about excellent speakers you have seen and heard, provides a more animated message.

The next sections introduce four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a public speech.

Impromptu Speaking

Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. Impromptu speeches often occur when someone is asked to “say a few words” or give a toast on a special occasion. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings. Self-introductions in group settings are examples of impromptu speaking: “Hi, my name is Steve, and I’m a volunteer with the Homes for the Brave program.” Another example of impromptu speaking occurs when you answer a question such as, “What did you think of the documentary?”

The advantage of this kind of speaking is that it’s spontaneous and responsive in an animated group context. The disadvantage is that the speaker is given little or no time to contemplate the central theme of his or her message. As a result, the message may be disorganized and difficult for listeners to follow.

Here is a step-by-step guide that may be useful if you are called upon to give an impromptu speech in public.

  • Take a moment to collect your thoughts and plan the main point you want to make.
  • Thank the person for inviting you to speak.
  • Deliver your message, making your main point as briefly as you can while still covering it adequately and at a pace your listeners can follow.
  • Thank the person again for the opportunity to speak.
  • Stop talking.

As you can see, impromptu speeches are generally most successful when they are brief and focus on a single point.

Extemporaneous Speaking

Extemporaneous speaking is the presentation of a carefully planned and rehearsed speech, spoken in a conversational manner using brief notes. By using notes rather than a full manuscript, the extemporaneous speaker can establish and maintain eye contact with the audience and assess how well they are understanding the speech as it progresses. The opportunity to assess is also an opportunity to restate more clearly any idea or concept that the audience seems to have trouble grasping.

For instance, suppose you are speaking about workplace safety and you use the term “sleep deprivation.” If you notice your audience’s eyes glazing over, this might not be a result of their own sleep deprivation, but rather an indication of their uncertainty about what you mean. If this happens, you can add a short explanation; for example, “sleep deprivation is sleep loss serious enough to threaten one’s cognition, hand-to-eye coordination, judgment, and emotional health.” You might also (or instead) provide a concrete example to illustrate the idea. Then you can resume your message, having clarified an important concept.

Speaking extemporaneously has some advantages. It promotes the likelihood that you, the speaker, will be perceived as knowledgeable and credible. In addition, your audience is likely to pay better attention to the message because it is engaging both verbally and nonverbally. The disadvantage of extemporaneous speaking is that it requires a great deal of preparation for both the verbal and the nonverbal components of the speech. Adequate preparation cannot be achieved the day before you’re scheduled to speak.

Because extemporaneous speaking is the style used in the great majority of public speaking situations, most of the information in this chapter is targeted to this kind of speaking.

Speaking from a Manuscript

Manuscript speaking is the word-for-word iteration of a written message. In a manuscript speech, the speaker maintains his or her attention on the printed page except when using visual aids.

The advantage to reading from a manuscript is the exact repetition of original words. As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, in some circumstances this can be extremely important. For example, reading a statement about your organization’s legal responsibilities to customers may require that the original words be exact. In reading one word at a time, in order, the only errors would typically be mispronunciation of a word or stumbling over complex sentence structure.

However, there are costs involved in manuscript speaking. First, it’s typically an uninteresting way to present. Unless the speaker has rehearsed the reading as a complete performance animated with vocal expression and gestures (as poets do in a poetry slam and actors do in a reader’s theater), the presentation tends to be dull. Keeping one’s eyes glued to the script precludes eye contact with the audience. For this kind of “straight” manuscript speech to hold audience attention, the audience must be already interested in the message before the delivery begins.

It is worth noting that professional speakers, actors, news reporters, and politicians often read from an autocue device, such as a TelePrompTer, especially when appearing on television, where eye contact with the camera is crucial. With practice, a speaker can achieve a conversational tone and give the impression of speaking extemporaneously while using an autocue device. However, success in this medium depends on two factors: (1) the speaker is already an accomplished public speaker who has learned to use a conversational tone while delivering a prepared script, and (2) the speech is written in a style that sounds conversational.

Speaking from Memory

Memorized speaking is the rote recitation of a written message that the speaker has committed to memory. Actors, of course, recite from memory whenever they perform from a script in a stage play, television program, or movie scene. When it comes to speeches, memorization can be useful when the message needs to be exact and the speaker doesn’t want to be confined by notes.

The advantage to memorization is that it enables the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout the speech. Being free of notes means that you can move freely around the stage and use your hands to make gestures. If your speech uses visual aids, this freedom is even more of an advantage. However, there are some real and potential costs. First, unless you also plan and memorize every vocal cue (the subtle but meaningful variations in speech delivery, which can include the use of pitch, tone, volume, and pace), gesture, and facial expression, your presentation will be flat and uninteresting, and even the most fascinating topic will suffer. You might end up speaking in a monotone or a sing-song repetitive delivery pattern. You might also present your speech in a rapid “machine-gun” style that fails to emphasize the most important points. Second, if you lose your place and start trying to ad lib, the contrast in your style of delivery will alert your audience that something is wrong. More frighteningly, if you go completely blank during the presentation, it will be extremely difficult to find your place and keep going.

Key Takeaways

  • There are four main kinds of speech delivery: impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, and memorized.
  • Impromptu speaking involves delivering a message on the spur of the moment, as when someone is asked to “say a few words.”
  • Extemporaneous speaking consists of delivering a speech in a conversational fashion using notes. This is the style most speeches call for.
  • Manuscript speaking consists of reading a fully scripted speech. It is useful when a message needs to be delivered in precise words.
  • Memorized speaking consists of reciting a scripted speech from memory. Memorization allows the speaker to be free of notes.
  • Find a short newspaper story. Read it out loud to a classroom partner. Then, using only one notecard, tell the classroom partner in your own words what the story said. Listen to your partner’s observations about the differences in your delivery.
  • In a group of four or five students, ask each student to give a one-minute impromptu speech answering the question, “What is the most important personal quality for academic success?”
  • Watch the evening news. Observe the differences between news anchors using a TelePrompTer and interviewees who are using no notes of any kind. What differences do you observe?

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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  • Presentation Science

4 Presentation Delivery Styles You’ll Want to Consider

  • By: Amy Boone

“Never speak from a manuscript.” Those were the words my public speaking professor drilled into us in college. She led us to believe it was perhaps the worst thing we could do. And for many, it probably was. But for me, when I stood up to speak, I needed the words. All the words. I wasn’t going to read them verbatim, but just having them there gave me a boost of confidence during my presentation delivery.

Many people just end up reading the notes in front of them, so having a manuscript isn’t a good idea for lots of speakers. But how do you choose? When it comes time to deliver your big presentation, you have at least 4 major delivery styles you can choose from: memorized, manuscript, impromptu, and extemporaneous. Each of these styles has advantages and disadvantages that you’ll want to weigh when choosing which style to use.

Memorized delivery is perhaps one of the toughest there is. Way, way back at the beginning of the field of public speaking (rhetoric), memorization was one of the 5 main components. So students of public speaking were incredibly skilled in the art of memorization and their memorization skills were put to the test as they recited long orations.

But communication has changed a lot. These days audience members like to feel like they are part of the message in some way, like their presence matters. But memorized delivery doesn’t allow for much interactivity because it makes it difficult to establish “a perception of give and take between the audience and the speaker.”

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t instances when memorization is good choice for delivery. If you are giving a press release or delivering an incredibly important speech that will be recorded and shared, it can be good idea to memorize what you want to say. Just keep in mind how difficult it can be to commit to memory long works. Make sure to leave yourself enough time to both learn the piece and then to learn how to deliver it naturally. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of memorized delivery as outlined in the book Between One and Many .

  • Allows for constant eye contact with the audience
  • Gives more freedom of movement
  • Allows for precise and correct wording

Disadvantages

  • Easy to forget
  • Appears “canned” and cold
  • Requires extensive preparation time
  • Does not allow for spontaneity

Delivering from a manuscript is similar in many ways to memorized delivery. In this case, you have your presentation written out word-for-word on speaker’s notes that you then reference or read from during your presentation. Manuscript delivery can be useful if you need word precision but don’t have time to commit your presentation to memory.

It can also help if you’ll be delivering words that someone else wrote. We see this style most frequently today through the use of teleprompters that are used for newscasts and many political speeches. Every president since Ronald Reagan has made use of the teleprompter , which makes sense given that every word they utter will inevitably come under scrutiny.

Just remember that manuscript delivery is all about offering a comfortable experience for the speaker—taking the pressure off of him/her. But it doesn’t offer much to audience in the way of entertaining delivery or eye contact. So you’ll want to weigh the risk of boring or losing your audience with the reward of an “easier” delivery style which has these advantages and disadvantages :

  • Accuracy and precision
  • Transcript can be released quickly/simultaneously
  • Less pressure to read than to deliver
  • Allows for high control over outcome
  • Allows for limited eye contact
  • Tends toward written rather than oral style
  • Can be easy to lose your place

Impromptu delivery is speaking with little to no preparation. It is “winging it” or speaking “off the cuff.” I know very few accomplished speakers who would willingly choose to use this delivery style. Even those speakers who feel energized by the thrill of impromptu delivery and can perform well under that kind of pressure know that preparation and practice will always result in a better end product.

For that reason, we never encourage a speaker to make impromptu delivery his or her chosen method of delivery. But you may need to deliver an impromptu message if the situation arises–like a job interview question you weren’t expecting, being put on the spot in a meeting, or having to fill in if the prepared speaker is unable to make it. In those cases, keep these advantages and disadvantages in mind.

  • Allows for spontaneity
  • Allows for lots of eye contact
  • Gives speaker freedom to adapt freely to any given context/situation
  • No time to prepare
  • Can lead to high levels of anxiety
  • Allows for low control over outcome

Extemporaneous

The final presentation delivery method is the one we recommend and use most frequently. Extemporaneous delivery can be defined as practiced and prepared, but flexible. The story of “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” can help us here. With memorized and manuscript delivery, we are in Papa Bear territory where everything feels a bit too rigid, too hard, too confining. Impromptu delivery is Mama Bear’s stuff–too mushy and too soft. But with extemporaneous delivery, like Goldilocks finding Baby Bear’s possessions, there’s a happy medium. It feels just right.

So how does it work? With extemporaneous delivery, you develop your content–researching, editing, and revising until you get it right. Then, you move into the practice and preparation stage. Here’s where you’ve got flexibility for how you handle it. Some people like to practice from a nearly complete manuscript—hitting the main points, referencing notes as needed, but allowing for varied phrasing as it naturally occurs.

Others might prefer to practice from a very scant outline. So instead of having a story written out word-for-word, they might prefer just to have “tell story about first day on the job” written in their notes. This doesn’t mean that they don’t practice telling the story over and over again. It just means the words aren’t on the page directing them to tell it exactly the same every time. Your speaker’s notes should always come down to your personal preference.

The goal of extemporaneous speaking is to marry the best of memorized and manuscript delivery—the ability to use beautiful and precise language that moves the audience—with the best of impromptu delivery—the ability to deliver a message with warmth and character. And we know from research that both precision and warmth matter to the audience. Scientific research shows that speakers who use great eye contact come off as more “believable, confident and competent.” That said, here are the advantages and disadvantages of this, our favorite style:

  • Combines the best of preparation and spontaneity
  • Allows speaker to use notes but also maintain regular eye contact
  • Allows speaker to be both adaptable and precise
  • Overuse of notes can limit eye contact and gestures

When I deliver, I use an extemporaneous style. I don’t read what I’ve written word-for-word, but I like to have notes prepared like I was going to deliver from a manuscript. You may be like me and find a system that is a mix of categories that works for you. There may be parts of your presentation that you want to have memorized so you get the words exactly right. And you may want to deliver other parts of your speech more freeform, having prepared and practiced, but feeling free to change things up if the context or mood of the moment calls for it.

Whatever you decide, keep working and adapting and trying to new methods to find what works best for you. And realize that there will probably be situations in which time constraints or other factors keep you from being able to practice, prepare, and deliver like you’d prefer to. That’s okay. That’s the beauty of presentation delivery. It’s a little bit different every time. But it’s always a worthwhile adventure.

Ready to take your presentations to the next level? Here’s how.

Amy Boone

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7.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery

Jordan Smith; Melissa Ashman; eCampusOntario; Brian Dunphy; Andrew Stracuzzi; and Linda Macdonald

The Importance of Delivery

Photo of a young woman delivering a presentation

Delivery is what you are probably most concerned about when it comes to giving presentations. This section is designed to help you give the best delivery possible and eliminate some of the nervousness you might be feeling. To do that, you should first dismiss the myth that presenting is just reading and talking at the same time. Presentations have more formality than talking. During a presentation, such as an oral report, you should project professionalism. This means meeting the expectations of your situation and audience. Start by being well groomed and wearing clean, appropriate clothes for the situation. Professionalism in speaking also means being prepared to use language correctly and appropriately for the audience and the topic, making eye contact with your audience, projecting confidence, and knowing your topic very well.

Methods of Presentation Delivery

There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality and memorization when giving a presentation.

Impromptu Speaking

Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings. Self-introductions in group settings are examples of impromptu speaking: “Hi, my name is Jocelyn, and I’m an account manager.” Another example of impromptu presenting occurs when you answer a question such as, “What did you think of the report?” Your response has not been pre-planned, and you are constructing your arguments and points as you speak.

The advantage of this kind of speaking is that it is spontaneous and responsive in a group context. The disadvantage is that the speaker is given little or no time to think of the central theme of their message. As a result, the message may be disorganized and difficult for listeners to follow.

This step-by-step guide may be useful if you are called upon to give an impromptu presentation in public:

  • Take a moment to collect your thoughts and plan the main point you want to make. You might write a few keywords on a notepad if you have one near.
  • Thank the person for inviting you to speak. Avoid making comments about being unprepared, called upon at the last moment, on the spot, or feeling uneasy.
  • Deliver your message, making your main point as briefly as you can while still covering it adequately and at a pace your listeners can follow.
  • If you can use a structure, using numbers if possible: “Two main reasons . . .” or “Three parts of our plan. . .” or “Two side effects of this drug. . .” Timeline structures are also effective, such as “past, present, and future” or “East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast”.
  • Thank the person again for the opportunity to speak.
  • Stop talking (it is easy to “ramble on” when you do not have something prepared). If in front of an audience, do not keep talking as you move back to your seat.

Impromptu presentations are generally most successful when they are brief and focus on a single point.

For additional advice on impromptu speaking, watch the following 4-minute video from Toastmasters: Impromptu Speaking :

(Direct link to Toastmasters Impromptu Speaking )

Manuscript Presentations

Manuscript presentations  are the word-for-word iteration of a written message . The advantage of reading from a manuscript is the exact repetition of original words. In some circumstances, this exact wording can be extremely important. For example, reading a statement about your organization’s legal responsibilities to customers may require that the original words be exact. Acceptable uses of a manuscript include

  • Highly formal occasions (e.g. a commencement speech)
  • Particularly emotional speeches (e.g. a wedding speech, a eulogy)
  • Situations in which word-for-word reading is required (e.g. a speech written by someone else; a corporate statement; a political speech)
  • Within a larger speech, the reading of a passage from another work (e.g. a poem; a book excerpt).

Manuscript presentations, however, have a significant disadvantage: Your connection with the audience may be affected. Eye contact, so important for establishing credibility and relationship, may be limited by reading, your use of gestures will be limited if you are holding a manuscript, and a handheld manuscript itself might appear as a barrier between you and the audience. In addition, it is difficult to change language or content in response to unpredictable audience reactions. Reading a manuscript is not as easy as one might think. Keeping your place in a manuscript is difficult and most of us will sound monotone.

  • Write the speech in a conversational style, and
  • Practice your speech so that it flows naturally.

Preparation will make the presentation more engaging and enhance your credibility:

  • Select and edit material so that it fits within your time limit;
  • Select material that will be meaningful for your particular audience;
  • Know the material well so that you can look up at your audience and back at the manuscript without losing your place; and
  • Identify keywords for emphasis.

An essential part of preparation is preparing your manuscript. The following suggestions are adapted from the University of Hawai’i Maui Community College Speech Department:

  • Use a full 8.5 x 11inch sheet of paper, not notecards.
  • Use only one side of the page.
  • Include page numbers.
  • Use double or triple line spacing.
  • Use a minimum of 16 pt. font size.
  • Avoid overly long or complex sentences.
  • Use bold or highlight the first word of each sentence, as illustrated by the University of Hawai’i.

Example of words bolded at the beginning of a sentence for ease of reading a manuscript..

  • Add notations—“slow down,” “pause,” “look up,” underline keywords, etc. as reminders about delivery.
  • Highlight words that should be emphasized.
  • Add notes about pronunciation.
  • Include notations about time, indicating where you should be at each minute marker.

To deliver the speech effectively, make sure you are comfortable with the manuscript delivery style. To engage your audience,

  • Practice your presentation.
  • Try to avoid reading in a monotone. Just as contrast is important for document design, contrast is important in speaking. Vary your volume, pace, tone, and gestures.
  • Make sure that you can be clearly understood. Speak loud enough that the back of the room can hear you, pronounce each word clearly, and try not to read too fast.
  • Maintain good eye contact with your audience. Look down to read and up to speak.
  • Match gestures to the content of the speech, and avoid distracting hand or foot movements.
  • If there is no podium, hold the manuscript at waist height.

Memorized Speaking

Memorized speakin g is the recitation of a written message that the speaker has committed to memory. Actors , of course, recite from memory whenever they perform from a script in a stage play, television program, or movie scene. When it comes to speeches, memorization can be useful when the message needs to be exact and the speaker does not want to be confined by notes.

The advantage to memorization is that it enables the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout the speech. Being free of notes means that you can move freely around the stage and use your hands to make gestures. If your speech uses visual aids, this freedom is even more of an advantage. However, there are some real and potential costs.

First, unless you also plan and memorize every vocal cue (the subtle but meaningful variations in speech delivery, which can include the use of pitch, tone, volume, and pace), gesture, and facial expression, your presentation will be flat and uninteresting, and even the most fascinating topic will suffer and you will not effectively engage your audience. (Manuscript speaking often suffers the same fate.) Second, if you lose your place and start trying to ad lib, the contrast in your style of delivery will alert your audience that something is wrong. More frighteningly, if you go completely blank during the presentation, it will be extremely difficult to find your place and keep going. Memorizing a presentation takes a great deal of time and effort to achieve a natural flow and conversational tone.

Extemporaneous Presentations

The extemporaneous speaking style benefits from the flexibility and naturalness that comes with impromptu speaking as well as the benefits of well-developed content and organization that comes with manuscript or memorized speaking. This presentation delivery style maximizes all of the benefits of the various presentation styles while minimizing their challenges.

Extemporaneous presentations are carefully planned and rehearsed presentations, delivered in a conversational manner using brief notes or a slide deck . By using notes rather than a full manuscript, the extemporaneous presenter can establish and maintain eye contact with the audience and assess how well they are understanding the presentation as it progresses.

To avoid over-reliance on notes or slides, you should have a strong command of your subject matter.  Then select an organizational pattern that works well for your topic. Your notes or slide deck should reflect this organizational pattern. In preparation, create an outline of your speech.

Watch some of the following 10-minute videos of a champion speaker presenting an extemporaneous speech at the 2017 International Extemporaneous Speaking National Champion. :

(Direct link to 2017 International Extemporaneous Speaking National Champion video)

Presenting extemporaneously has some advantages. It promotes the likelihood that you, the speaker, will be perceived as knowledgeable and credible since you know the speech well  enough that you do not need to read it. In addition, your audience is likely to pay better attention to the message because it is engaging both verbally and non-verbally. It also allows flexibility; you are working from the strong foundation of an outline, but if you need to delete, add, or rephrase something at the last minute or to adapt to your audience, you can do so.

Adequate preparation cannot be achieved the day before you are scheduled to present, so be aware that if you want to present a credibly delivered speech, you will need to practice many times. Extemporaneous presenting is the style used in the great majority of business presentation situations.

7.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery Copyright © 2022 by Jordan Smith; Melissa Ashman; eCampusOntario; Brian Dunphy; Andrew Stracuzzi; and Linda Macdonald is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Module 6: Organizing and Outlining Your Speech

Methods of speech delivery, learning objectives.

Identify the four types of speech delivery methods and when to use them.

There are four basic methods of speech delivery: manuscript, memorized, impromptu, and extemporaneous. We’ll look at each method and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

George W. Bush’s manuscript page is lightly edited with a pen. It reads “Today our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring of strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any small way they could. Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful and prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open to business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong and the American economy will be open for business as well. The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

A manuscript page from President George W. Bush’s address to the nation on the day of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

A manuscript speech is when the speaker writes down every word they will speak during the speech. When they deliver the speech, they have each word planned and in front of them on the page, much like a newscaster who reads from a teleprompter.

The advantage of using a manuscript is that the speaker has access to every word they’ve prepared in advance. There is no guesswork or memorization needed. This method comforts some speakers’ nerves as they don’t have to worry about that moment where they might freeze and forget what they’ve planned to say. They also are able to make exact quotes from their source material.

When the exact wording of an idea is crucial, speakers often read from a manuscript, for instance in communicating public statements from a company.

However, the disadvantage with a manuscript is that the speakers have MANY words in front of them on the page. This prohibits one of the most important aspects of delivery, eye contact. When many words are on the page, the speakers will find themselves looking down at those words more frequently because they will need the help. If they do look up at the audience, they often cannot find their place when the eye returns to the page. Also, when nerves come into play, speakers with manuscripts often default to reading from the page and forget that they are not making eye contact or engaging their audience. Therefore, manuscript is a very difficult delivery method and not ideal.  Above all, the speakers should remember to rehearse with the script so that they practice looking up often.

Public Speaking in History

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, owed in large part to a momentary error made by an East German government spokesperson. At a live press conference, Günter Schabowski tried to explain new rules relaxing East Germany’s severe travel restrictions. A reporter asked, “when do these new rules go into effect?” Visibly flustered, Schabowski said, “As far as I know, it takes effect immediately, without delay.” In fact, the new visa application procedure was supposed to begin the following day, and with a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. Instead, thousands of East Berliners arrived within minutes at the border crossings, demanding to pass through immediately. The rest is history.

The outcome of this particular public-relations blunder was welcomed by the vast majority of East and West German citizens, and hastened the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe. It’s probably good, then, that Schabowski ran this particular press conference extemporaneously, rather than reading from a manuscript.

You can view the transcript for “The mistake that toppled the Berlin Wall” here (opens in new window) .

A memorized speech is also fully prepared in advance and one in which the speaker does not use any notes. In the case of an occasion speech like a quick toast, a brief dedication, or a short eulogy, word-for-word memorization might make sense. Usually, though, it doesn’t involve committing each and every word to memory, Memorizing a speech isn’t like memorizing a poem where you need to remember every word exactly as written. Don’t memorize a manuscript! Work with your outline instead. Practice with the outline until you can recall the content and order of your main points without effort. Then it’s just a matter of practicing until you’re able to elaborate on your key points in a natural and seamless manner. Ideally, a memorized speech will sound like an off-the-cuff statement by someone who is a really eloquent speaker and an exceptionally organized thinker!

The advantage of a memorized speech is that the speaker can fully face their audience and make lots of eye contact. The problem with a memorized speech is that speakers may get nervous and forget the parts they’ve memorized. Without any notes to lean on, the speaker may hesitate and leave lots of dead air in the room while trying to recall what was planned. Sometimes, the speaker can’t remember or find his or her place in the speech and are forced to go get the notes or go back to the PowerPoint in some capacity to try to trigger his or her memory. This can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable moment for the speaker and the audience, and is a moment which could be easily avoided by using a different speaking method.

How to: memorize a speech

There are lots of tips out there about how to memorize speeches. Here’s one that loosely follows an ancient memorization strategy called the method of loci or “memory palace,” which uses visualizations of familiar spatial environments in order to enhance the recall of information.

You can view the transcript for “How to Memorize a Speech” here (opens in new window) .

An impromptu speech is one for which there is little to no preparation. There is often not a warning even that the person may be asked to speak. For example, your speech teacher may ask you to deliver a speech on your worst pet peeve. You may or may not be given a few minutes to organize your thoughts. What should you do? DO NOT PANIC. Even under pressure, you can create a basic speech that follows the formula of an introduction, body, and conclusion. If you have a few minutes, jot down some notes that fit into each part of the speech. (In fact, the phrase “speaking off the cuff,” which means speaking without preparation, probably refers to the idea that one would jot a few notes on one’s shirt cuff before speaking impromptu.) [1] ) An introduction should include an attention getter, introduction of the topic, speaker credibility, and forecasting of main points. The body should have two or three main points. The conclusion should have a summary, call to action, and final thought. If you can organize your thoughts into those three parts, you will sound like a polished speaker. Even if you only hit two of them, it will still help you to think about the speech in those parts. For example, if a speech is being given on a pet peeve of chewed gum being left under desks in classrooms, it might be organized like this.

  • Introduction : Speaker chews gum loudly and then puts it under a desk (attention getter, demonstration). Speaker introduces themselves and the topic and why they’re qualified to speak on it (topic introduction and credibility). “I’m Katie Smith and I’ve been a student at this school for three years and witnessed this gum problem the entire time.”
  • Body : Speaker states three main points of why we shouldn’t leave gum on desks: it’s rude, it makes custodians have to work harder, it affects the next student who gets nastiness on their seat (forecast of order). Speaker then discusses those three points
  • Conclusion : Speaker summarizes those three points (summary, part 1 of conclusion), calls on the audience to pledge to never do this again (call to action), and gives a quote from Michael Jordan about respecting property (final thought).

While an impromptu speech can be challenging, the advantage is that it can also be thrilling as the speaker thinks off the cuff and says what they’re most passionate about in the moment. A speaker should not be afraid to use notes during an impromptu speech if they were given any time to organize their thoughts.

The disadvantage is that there is no time for preparation, so finding research to support claims such as quotes or facts cannot be included. The lack of preparation makes some speakers more nervous and they may struggle to engage the audience due to their nerves.

Extemporaneous

The last method of delivery we’ll look at is extemporaneous. When speaking extemporaneously, speakers prepare some notes in advance that help trigger their memory of what they planned to say. These notes are often placed on notecards. A 4”x6” notecard or 5”x7” size card works well. This size of notecards can be purchased at any office supply store. Speakers should determine what needs to go on each card by reading through their speech notes and giving themselves phrases to say out loud. These notes are not full sentences, but help the speakers, who turn them into a full sentence when spoken aloud. Note that if a quote is being used, listing that quote verbatim is fine.

The advantage of extemporaneous speaking is that the speakers are able to speak in a more conversational tone by letting the cards guide them, but not dictate every word they say. This method allows for the speakers to make more eye contact with the audience. The shorter note forms also prevent speakers from getting lost in their words. Numbering these cards also helps if one gets out of order. Also, these notes are not ones the teacher sees or collects. While you may be required to turn in your speech outline, your extemporaneous notecards are not seen by anyone but you. Therefore, you can also write yourself notes to speak up, slow down, emphasize a point, go to the next slide, etc.

The disadvantage to extemporaneous is the speakers may forget what else was planned to say or find a card to be out of order. This problem can be avoided through rehearsal and double-checking the note order before speaking.

Many speakers consider the extemporaneous method to be the ideal speaking method because it allows them to be prepared, keeps the audience engaged, and makes the speakers more natural in their delivery. In your public speaking class, most of your speeches will probably be delivered extemporaneously.

  • As per the Oxford English Dictionary' s entry for "Off the Cuff." See an extensive discussion at Mark Liberman's Language Log here: https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4130 ↵
  • Method of loci definition. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • The mistake that toppled the Berlin Wall. Provided by : Vox. Located at : https://youtu.be/Mn4VDwaV-oo . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • How to Memorize a Speech. Authored by : Memorize Academy. Located at : https://youtu.be/rvBw__VNrsc . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • Address to the Nation. Provided by : U.S. National Archives. Located at : https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2011/09/06/911-an-address-to-the-nation/ . License : Public Domain: No Known Copyright
  • Methods of Speech Delivery. Authored by : Misti Wills with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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Complete Guide for Effective Presentations, with Examples

July 9, 2018 - Dom Barnard

During a presentation you aim to look confident, enthusiastic and natural. You’ll need more than good words and content to achieve this – your delivery plays a significant part. In this article, we discuss various techniques that can be used to deliver an effective presentation.

Effective presentations

Think about if you were in the audience, what would:

  • Get you to focus and listen
  • Make you understand
  • Activate your imagination
  • Persuade you

Providing the audience with interesting information is not enough to achieve these aims – you need to ensure that the way you present is stimulating and engaging. If it’s not, you’ll lose the audience’s interest and they’ll stop listening.

Tips for an Effective Presentation

Professional public speakers spend hours creating and practicing presentations. These are the delivery techniques they consider:

Keep it simple

You shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with information – ensure that you’re clear, concise and that you get to the point so they can understand your message.

Have a maximum of  three main points  and state them at the beginning, before you explain them in more depth, and then state them at the end so the audience will at least remember these points.

If some of your content doesn’t contribute to your key message then cut it out. Also avoid using too many statistics and technical terminology.

Connect with your audience

One of the greatest difficulties when delivering a presentation is connecting with the audience. If you don’t  connect with them  it will seem as though you’re talking to an empty room.

Trying to make contact with the audience makes them feel like they’re part of the presentation which encourages them to listen and it shows that you want to speak to them.

Asking the audience questions during a presentation

Eye contact and smile

Avoiding eye contact is uncomfortable because it make you look insecure. When you  maintain eye contact  the audience feels like you’re speaking to them personally. If this is something you struggle with, try looking at people’s foreheads as it gives the impression of making eye contact.

Try to cover all sections of the audience and don’t move on to the next person too quickly as you will look nervous.

Smiling also helps with rapport and it reduces your nerves because you’ll feel less like you’re talking to group of faceless people. Make sure you don’t turn the lights down too much before your presentation so you can all clearly see each other.

Body language

Be aware of your body language and use it to connect:

  • Keep your arms uncrossed so your  body language is more open .
  • Match your facial expressions with what you’re saying.
  • Avoid fidgeting and displaying nervous habits, such as, rocking on your feet.
  • You may need to glance at the computer slide or a visual aid but make sure you predominantly face the audience.
  • Emphasise points by using hand gestures but use them sparingly – too little and they’ll awkwardly sit at your side, too much and you’ll be distracting and look nervous.
  • Vary your gestures so you don’t look robotic.
  • Maintain a straight posture.
  • Be aware of  cultural differences .

Move around

Avoid standing behind the lectern or computer because you need to reduce the distance and barriers between yourself and the audience.  Use movement  to increase the audience’s interest and make it easier to follow your presentation.

A common technique for incorporating movement into your presentation is to:

  • Start your introduction by standing in the centre of the stage.
  • For your first point you stand on the left side of the stage.
  • You discuss your second point from the centre again.
  • You stand on the right side of the stage for your third point.
  • The conclusion occurs in the centre.

Watch 3 examples of good and bad movement while presenting

Example: Movement while presenting

Your movement at the front of the class and amongst the listeners can help with engagement. Think about which of these three speakers maintains the attention of their audience for longer, and what they are doing differently to each other.

Speak with the audience

You can conduct polls using your audience or ask questions to make them think and feel invested in your presentation. There are three different types of questions:

Direct questions require an answer: “What would you do in this situation?” These are mentally stimulating for the audience. You can pass a microphone around and let the audience come to your desired solution.

Rhetorical questions  do not require answers, they are often used to emphasises an idea or point: “Is the Pope catholic?

Loaded questions contain an unjustified assumption made to prompt the audience into providing a particular answer which you can then correct to support your point: You may ask “Why does your wonderful company have such a low incidence of mental health problems?” The audience will generally answer that they’re happy.

After receiving the answers you could then say “Actually it’s because people are still unwilling and too embarrassed to seek help for mental health issues at work etc.”

Delivering a presentation in Asia

Be specific with your language

Make the audience feel as though you are speaking to each member individually by using “you” and “your.”

For example: asking “Do you want to lose weight without feeling hungry?” would be more effective than asking “Does anyone here want to lost weight without feeling hungry?” when delivering your presentation. You can also increase solidarity by using “we”, “us” etc – it makes the audience think “we’re in this together”.

Be flexible

Be prepared to adapt to the situation at the time, for example, if the audience seems bored you can omit details and go through the material faster, if they are confused then you will need to come up with more examples on the spot for clarification. This doesn’t mean that you weren’t prepared because you can’t predict everything.

Vocal variety

How you say something is just as is important as the content of your speech – arguably, more so.

For example, if an individual presented on a topic very enthusiastically the audience would probably enjoy this compared to someone who covered more points but mumbled into their notes.

  • Adapt your voice  depending on what are you’re saying – if you want to highlight something then raise your voice or lower it for intensity. Communicate emotion by using your voice.
  • Avoid speaking in monotone as you will look uninterested and the audience will lose interest.
  • Take time to pronounce every word carefully.
  • Raise your pitch when asking questions and lower it when you want to sound severe.
  • Sound enthusiastic – the more you sound like you care about the topic, the more the audience will listen. Smiling and pace can help with this.
  • Speak loudly and clearly – think about projecting your voice to the back of the room.
  • Speak at a  pace that’s easy to follow . If you’re too fast or too slow it will be difficult for the audience to understand what you’re saying and it’s also frustrating. Subtly fasten the pace to show enthusiasm and slow down for emphasis, thoughtfulness or caution.

Prior to the presentation, ensure that you  prepare your vocal chords :

  • You could read aloud a book that requires vocal variety, such as, a children’s book.
  • Avoid dairy and eating or drinking anything too sugary beforehand as mucus can build-up leading to frequent throat clearing.
  • Don’t drink anything too cold before you present as this can constrict your throat which affects vocal quality.
  • Some people suggest a warm cup of tea beforehand to relax the throat.

Practice Presentation Skills

Improve your public speaking and presentation skills by practicing them in realistic environments, with automated feedback on performance. Learn More

Pause to breathe

When you’re anxious your breathing will become quick and shallow which will affect the control you have on your voice. This can consequently make you feel more nervous. You want to breathe steadily and deeply so before you start speaking take some deep breaths or implement controlled breathing.

Controlled breathing is a common technique that helps slow down your breathing to normal thus reducing your anxiety. If you think this may be useful practice with these steps:

  • Sit down in an upright position as it easier for your lungs to fill with air
  • Breathe in through your nose and into your abdomen for four seconds
  • Hold this breathe for two seconds
  • Breathe out through your nose for six seconds
  • Wait a few seconds before inhaling and repeating the cycle

It takes practice to master this technique but once you get used to it you may want to implement it directly before your presentation.

Take a deep breath when delivering a presentation

Completely filling your lungs during a pause will ensure you reach a greater vocal range.

During the presentation delivery, if you notice that you’re speaking too quickly then pause and breathe. This won’t look strange – it will appear as though you’re giving thought to what you’re saying. You can also strategically plan some of your pauses, such as after questions and at the end of sections, because this will give you a chance to calm down and it will also give the audience an opportunity to think and reflect.

Pausing will also help you  avoid filler words , such as, “um” as well which can make you sound unsure.

  • 10 Effective Ways to use Pauses in your Speech

Strong opening

The first five minutes are  vital to engage the audience  and get them listening to you. You could start with a story to highlight why your topic is significant.

For example, if the topic is on the benefits of pets on physical and psychological health, you could present a story or a study about an individual whose quality of life significantly improved after being given a dog. The audience is more likely to respond better to this and remember this story than a list of facts.

Example: Which presentation intro keeps you engaged?

Watch 5 different presentation introductions, from both virtual and in-person events. Notice how it can only take a few seconds to decide if you want to keep listening or switch off. For the good introductions, what about them keeps you engaged?

More experienced and confident public speakers use humour in their presentations. The audience will be incredibly engaged if you make them laugh but caution must be exercised when using humour because a joke can be misinterpreted and even offend the audience.

Only use jokes if you’re confident with this technique, it has been successful in the past and it’s suitable for the situation.

Stories and anecdotes

Use stories whenever you can and judge whether you can tell a story about yourself because the audience are even more interested in seeing the human side of you.

Consider telling a story about a mistake you made, for example, perhaps you froze up during an important presentation when you were 25, or maybe life wasn’t going well for you in the past – if relevant to your presentation’s aim. People will relate to this as we have all experienced mistakes and failures. The more the audience relates to you, the more likely they will remain engaged.

These stories can also be  told in a humorous way  if it makes you feel more comfortable and because you’re disclosing a personal story there is less chance of misinterpretation compared to telling a joke.

Anecdotes are especially valuable for your introduction and between different sections of the presentation because they engage the audience. Ensure that you plan the stories thoroughly beforehand and that they are not too long.

Focus on the audience’s needs

Even though your aim is to persuade the audience, they must also get something helpful from the presentation. Provide the audience with value by giving them useful information, tactics, tips etc. They’re more likely to warm to you and trust you if you’re sharing valuable information with them.

You could also highlight their pain point. For example, you might ask “Have you found it difficult to stick to a healthy diet?” The audience will now want to remain engaged because they want to know the solution and the opportunities that you’re offering.

Use visual aids

Visual aids are items of a visual manner, such as graphs, photographs, video clips etc used in addition to spoken information. Visual aids are chosen depending on their purpose, for example, you may want to:

  • Summarise information.
  • Reduce the amount of spoken words, for example, you may show a graph of your results rather than reading them out.
  • Clarify and show examples.
  • Create more of an impact. You must consider what type of impact you want to make beforehand – do you want the audience to be sad, happy, angry etc?
  • Emphasise what you’re saying.
  • Make a point memorable.
  • Enhance your credibility.
  • Engage the audience and maintain their interest.
  • Make something easier for the audience to understand.

Visual aids being used during a presentation

Some general tips for  using visual aids :

  • Think about how can a visual aid can support your message. What do you want the audience to do?
  • Ensure that your visual aid follows what you’re saying or this will confuse the audience.
  • Avoid cluttering the image as it may look messy and unclear.
  • Visual aids must be clear, concise and of a high quality.
  • Keep the style consistent, such as, the same font, colours, positions etc
  • Use graphs and charts to present data.
  • The audience should not be trying to read and listen at the same time – use visual aids to highlight your points.
  • One message per visual aid, for example, on a slide there should only be one key point.
  • Use visual aids in moderation – they are additions meant to emphasise and support main points.
  • Ensure that your presentation still works without your visual aids in case of technical problems.

10-20-30 slideshow rule

Slideshows are widely used for presentations because it’s easy to create attractive and professional presentations using them. Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and author, suggests that slideshows should  follow a 10-20-30 rule :

  • There should be a maximum of 10 slides – people rarely remember more than one concept afterwards so there’s no point overwhelming them with unnecessary information.
  • The presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes as this will leave time for questions and discussion.
  • The font size should be a minimum of 30pt because the audience reads faster than you talk so less information on the slides means that there is less chance of the audience being distracted.

If you want to give the audience more information you can provide them with partially completed handouts or give them the handouts after you’ve delivered the presentation.

Keep a drink nearby

Have something to drink when you’re on stage, preferably water at room temperature. This will help maintain your vocal quality and having a sip is a subtle way of introducing pauses.

Practice, practice, practice

If you are very familiar with the content of your presentation, your audience will perceive you as confident and you’ll be more persuasive.

  • Don’t just read the presentation through – practice everything,  including your transitions  and using your visual aids.
  • Stand up and speak it aloud, in an engaging manner, as though you were presenting to an audience.
  • Ensure that you practice your body language and gesturing.
  • Use VR to  practice in a realistic environment .
  • Practice in front of others and get their feedback.
  • Freely improvise so you’ll sound more natural on the day. Don’t learn your presentation verbatim because you will sound uninterested and if you lose focus then you may forget everything.
  • Create cards to use as cues – one card should be used for one key idea. Write down brief notes or key words and ensure that the cards are physically connected so the order cannot be lost. Visual prompts can also be used as cues.

This video shows how you can practice presentations in virtual reality. See our  VR training courses .

Two courses where you can practice your presentations in interactive exercises:

  • Essential Public Speaking
  • How to Present over Video

Try these different presentation delivery methods to see which ones you prefer and which need to be improved. The most important factor is to feel comfortable during the presentation as the delivery is likely to be better.

Remember that the audience are generally on your side – they want you to do well so present with confidence.

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How to Deliver Great Presentations

Presenting like a pro.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

types of presentation delivery

Key takeaways:

  • Connect with and understand your audience . Who is attending and why? What are their needs and expectaions?
  • Prepare your content . How to start and finish strong. Tips to keep your audience engaged.
  • Deliver confidently . Get comfortable with your visual aids. How to use body language effectively.
  • Control the environment . Practice, practice, practice! Handling equipment failures. Have a back up plan.

Ever been to a really bad presentation? You know, the kind where the speaker stands behind the podium, uses slides that mirror what he is saying directly, and includes lots of data tables to validate his position.

But. "What's so bad about that?" you ask. "Isn't that how most presentations are given?" Yes. That is how most presentations are delivered, but that doesn't mean that's the most effective way to deliver them. This kind of presentation risks boring your audience to the point where they start wishing for a fire alarm to go off so they can escape. And once you lose someone, it is next to impossible to bring her attention back.

If the information you are presenting is important enough for you to deliver orally, then it demands an appropriate amount of planning and preparation so that the information you present is memorable – for the right reasons. Give a bad presentation and you'll be remembered all right: it just won't be the type of impression you want to leave in anyone's mind.

When someone presents well, it sends the message that the person is capable, confident, intelligent, and competent. These people get noticed and that type of attention bodes well for your career. Even if you don't make formal presentations in your current position, think about the future and keep in mind that you do have to present your ideas and opinions on a daily basis. The same basic principles of effective delivery apply.

Four Principles of Great Presentations

  • Connect With and Understand Your Audience.
  • Prepare Your Content.
  • Deliver Confidently.
  • Control the Environment.

1. Connect With and Understand Your Audience

To deliver a great presentation you have to consider the following audience characteristics:

  • Profile – Who are they? What is the common element that brings them together?
  • Needs – Why are they attending the presentation? What do they need to know after you've finished?
  • Wants – What do they want from the presentation? Do they want to increase knowledge, learn something or be entertained? How can you connect their interests with your message?
  • Expectations – What do they expect in terms of content and length?
  • Current Knowledge – How much explanation do you need to provide? What assumptions can you make?

When you know your audience, you can prepare content that appeals to them specifically. If you pass over this first crucial step you risk delivering a presentation that is content rich and relevance poor.

2. Prepare Your Content

Now that you know who you are presenting to and why they are there, you can determine what to present. Here are some tips for content preparation:

  • Don't try to cover everything. As Voltaire said, "The secret of being a bore is to tell all." Great presentations stimulate thoughts, questions, and discussion. Develop your content so that it covers the main points but leaves room for the audience to apply the information to their own circumstances.
  • Start off well with a great hook – you only have a few minutes right at the start to fully engage the audience. Don't use this time to present background information. Get your audience charged up and eager to listen. Make the relevance immediately obvious.
  • Also, start by telling your audience where you are heading. Don't make them wait for your conclusion, tell them up front what your premise or purpose is. This helps your audience stay focused. They may or may not agree with you at the start, but they will be able to quickly spot all of your supporting arguments.
  • Your presentation should have five to seven take-away points. This follows the chunking principle , which you can learn more about here .
  • Tell a story, make comparisons, and use lots of examples. Be sure to mix up the type of content to stimulate audience interest.
  • Present your ideas logically using supporting evidence as necessary.
  • Provide only as much background information as needed.
  • Outline actions or next steps that are required.
  • Develop a strong close, including a summary. Bring your conclusions back around to audience need and the hook you created. Consider ending with a question designed to stimulate further discussion.

For a similar but a subtly different approach, see our article on the Rhetorical Triangle .

3. Deliver Confidently

There are two main aspects of your delivery: your visual aids and your style. We'll look at them separately.

Unless your presentation is very short, you will need some sort of visual aid to keep the attention of your audience. There is a fine line, though, between drawing attention to your points, and distracting the audience from what you are saying. Here are some key factors to consider when designing slides:

  • Keep slides simple and easy to understand.
  • When explaining, start with the overall concept and then move to the details.
  • The information on the slide should add value to your presentation or summarize it – it is not meant to be your presentation.
  • Ensure that any charts, graphs or tables you include are very simple and easy to read. Use them sparingly.
  • Use images (clip art and photos) sparingly and make sure the image means something and isn't just there to fill up space.
  • Use pleasant color schemes, high contrast, simple fonts, and bold and italic to add meaning to words.
  • Don't use fly-ins, fade-ins or outs or other animations unless absolutely necessary to really emphasize a point. How many times have you been put into a hypnotic state watching words or lines fly into a presentation?

Delivery Style

The way you deliver the content is often what makes or breaks a presentation. Here are some pointers to remember:

  • Use gestures for meaning, not for comfort. Try not to talk with your hands or move about carelessly. Everything you do should have purpose i.e. gesture to the visual aid to draw the audience's attention.
  • Pause for effect after main points or after you present a visual aid.
  • Step out from behind the podium and connect with your audience – make sure you have a remote control device to change slides or cue other types of visuals.
  • Talk loudly enough for people at the back to hear, or use a microphone.
  • Make eye contact and hold it for three to five seconds. Any less and it looks like you are merely scanning the crowd.
  • Be passionate – show your audience that you care about what you are saying.
  • Consider putting up a blank or low-content screen between slides – this puts the attention where it should be: on you!
  • Change your pace and style from time to time.
  • Be natural – don't try to be a comedian if you're not.
  • Finish early rather than late.

When you present with confidence and authority, your audience will pay attention and react to you as someone who is worth listening to. Fake it if you need to, by turning your nervousness into creative and enthusiastic energy.

4. Control the Environment

You won't ever eliminate all sources of problems, but through diligent planning and preparation, you can mitigate your risks.

  • Practice, practice, practice: The ultimate goal is to deliver your presentation note-free. Short of that, you want to be sure you are comfortable with the material and that nothing comes as a surprise. Consider practicing in front of a video camera and reviewing your delivery. Don't take short-cuts here because it shows! The point is for the presentation to look effortless – when you struggle, the audience focuses on you, and not on what you are saying.
  • Keep the lights on: when you darken the room, the screen stands out, not you. And it also encourages sleep, which you want to avoid at all costs!
  • Always have back-ups and a backup plan. What if you forget your material? What will you do if the CD won't load? What if the equipment doesn't arrive on time? Plan for as many contingencies as possible.
  • Dress appropriately for the situation – find out in advance what the dress code will be.
  • Have a policy for answering questions – let your audience know when they can ask questions so you aren't inappropriately interrupted.
  • Finish on time, every time. Last impressions are just as important as first ones.

Presenting is not a natural activity and to do it well requires careful thought and lots of practice.

You can choose to be average, or even below average, by simply emulating what most other presenters do. Or, you can take your presentations to the next level and leave your audiences with a powerful message that they remember, while keeping them interested and connected from start to finish.

To do this you need to pay strict attention to your audience analysis, content preparation, delivery style, and the external environment. When you control these for optimum audience relevance, interest, and engagement you are ready to deliver a great presentation.

The final element you must add is lots and lots of practice. Make your next presentation great by planning and preparing well in advance and making it look like it does come naturally to you.

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types of speech delivery

The 4 Methods or Types of Speech Delivery

On a daily basis, people use several types of speech delivery to connect with others, influence decisions, and motivate change without realizing which occasions a specific method of speech delivery should be used.

Today we will talk about 4 types of speech delivery that are commonly used and sometimes happen almost unnoticed.

  • Manuscript Speech
  • Memorized Speech
  • Extemporaneous Speech
  • Impromptu Speech

All these types of speech delivery require that we have pre-knowledge about the subject we want to present, even if we are not experts, we need to know enough about the topic in order to present it meaningfully.

4 Different Types of Speech Delivery Methods

1. manuscript speech or presentation.

The manuscript speech is a method of delivering a speech in which we have the information generally in writing, that will be used to drive all the presentation.

If we play the speaker’s role, we need to have time before the presentation starts to read the guide and get to know a bit about what we are going to talk about it.

Here we don’t need to memorize the information as it happens in the memorized speech, but we need to know things such as what it is, how it occurs, and why we are bringing it up so that we don’t get lost and don’t pass the feeling that we are lost to the audience.

What you see when watching the news is an example of a manuscript speech; the reporter needs to have seen or heard the story before delivering it because he/she gives the information; unlike the viewers, he/she cannot be surprised.

It is common for the reporter to have a teleprompter or paper that will serve as a guide to the order and key themes that should be mentioned, and it cannot come across to the viewers as if the reporter is READING.

Examples of situations we may find a manuscript speech or presentation being delivered :

Learn more about the delivery of a Manuscript Speech or Presentation, HERE .

2. Memorized Speech or Presentation

The memorized speech is a method of delivering a speech in which the whole essence and goal are about using the memory as help. The speaker here usually has a paper in which with some notes and an outline of the presentation to serve as a guide.

In no instance, the audience expects that the speaker has a paper or carry notes to use to recall the content, so it usually is prepared with some time because the information is something the speaker needs to own.

Poetry Contests are typical examples of a memorized speech. Here the poet writes about a subject that he chose or was chosen, but then he needs to present in front of an audience and have recorded in the memory everything he is going to say.

Examples of situations we may find a memorized speech:

  • Poetry Contests;
  • Lectures/ Conferences;
  • Spelling competitions.

Learn more about the Memorized speech delivery method HERE .

3. Extemporaneous Speech or Presentation

For the delivery of an extemporaneous speech, we expect that the speaker has some background knowledge about the subject he or she is going to present, but ALSO that he has his own opinion formed about it.

The opinion can be formed right there, but to discuss the subject, the speaker needs to have heard about it at least twice or more because the people we are going to interact with know about it, so it wouldn’t sit well if the presenter was the least knowledgeable person in the room.

It is common to see extemporaneous speeches in situations like debates; here, the orator goes there knowing already what he will talk about. 

It can happen that the presenter will speak alone or with a group of people who will disagree with him while receiving questions from the audience.

Examples of situations we may find an extemporaneous speech:

  • Business Meetings;
  • Running for elections;\

Learn more about the extemporaneous speech delivery method HERE .

3. Impromptu Speech

In this speech, we are called to deliver a speech without prior announcement, and because of that, the audience expects that the content comes out naturally and properly.

If we deliver an impromptu speech, we are expected to have specific knowledge about the subject we will pitch about and look into paper or notes that are not shared.

Going to a job interview is often an impromptu speech. The recruiting enterprise needs that the applicant has a basic knowledge about where to work, know about his professional skills, talk about them, and maybe show.

We can improve our speech in training how the brain can answer and form an opinion on diverse subjects. 

We can read some books, find some friends in real life or online to make some cultural and social exchange that would allow us to know about a different subject in diverse ways.

Giving an impromptu speech requires that we pop up from content to content and think about it. If we don’t have much background knowledge, this can be a problem because we won’t know how to wing with it.

Examples of situations we may find an impromptu speech:

  • Job interviews;
  • Knowing someone new.

Learn more about impromptu speech or presentation delivery, HERE .

Coming next we have some bonus tips and the conclusion of the article. Before digging into that, let me add below some of the top related and interesting articles that can add to what you’re learning from this one. If any of the titles picks your interest, please click and open in a new tab, so you can check them out later. Enjoy!

8 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO ACE ANY JOB INTERVIEW

8 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO ACE ANY JOB INTERVIEW

The happiness when receiving a call marking the job interview gives rise to endless anxiety. After all, it’s only a few minutes to prove your worth, impress the recruiter and seize the opportunity. However, to do well at the job interview, you need to think about what you will say, how you will present yourself,…

TOP 7 Core Interpersonal Skills in Leadership

TOP 7 Core Interpersonal Skills in Leadership

At any time, a leader is seen as one who guides one or more people to fulfill something stipulated; today, however, we understand that this journey comprises the achievement of results and the evolution, in some way, of all who participate in the process. Leaders are people with high power to inspire those around them,…

An Easy Guide to All 15 Types of Speech

An Easy Guide to All 15 Types of Speech

We keep learning that there are three types of speeches, informative speeches, persuasive speeches and special occasion speeches. However, I believe and know that there are many more such as debates, motivational speeches, forensic speeches, impromptu speeches, eulogy, and so on. Here’s a growing list of over 13 types of speech and tips on how…

Types of Speech Delivery Summary Table with BONUS Tips

Speeches are more common than we think, and some of them can be performed without us even knowing the structure, and because of that, not know how to behave and improve when the day occurs.

None speech is impossible to face or to get ready to overcome these things by fulfilling our daily lives with people and activities that are meaningful and useful to our future.  

Reading and talking with different types of people can form opinions that may become an impromptu speech.

References and Further Reading

AceThePresentation. 80+ Impromptu Speech Topics & 7 Ways to Nail One.

AceThePresentation. Extemporaneous Presentation: Definition and Actionable Tips.

AceThePresentation. Manuscript Speech or Presentation: How to Deliver One.

AceThePresentation. Memorized Speech or Presentation: Preparing and Delivering.

College of Southern Idaho. Delivery: A Step-by-Step Approach.

Lumen. Delivering the Speech: Methods of Delivery.

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Chapter 32: Methods of Speech Delivery

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Distinguish between four methods of speech delivery: the impromptu speech, the manuscript speech, the memorized speech, and the extemporaneous speech
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of the four types of speeches
  • Explain why an extemporaneous is the preferred delivery style when using rhetorical theory

Key Terms and Concepts

  • extemporaneous

We have established that presentations involve much more than the transfer of information. Sure, you could treat a presentation as an opportunity to simply read a report you’ve written out loud to a group, but you would fail to both engage your audience and make a connection with them. In other words, you would leave them wondering exactly why they had to listen to your presentation instead of reading  it at their leisure.

The Four Methods of Speech Delivery

One of the ways to ensure that you engage your audience effectively is by carefully considering how best to deliver your speech. Each of you has sat in a class, presentation, or meeting where you didn’t feel interested in the information the presenter was sharing. Part of the reason for your disengagement likely originated in the presenter’s method of speech delivery .

For our purposes, there are four different methods—or types—of speech delivery used in technical communication:

  • Extemporaneous

Exercise #1: The Four Methods of Speech Delivery

What comes to mind when you think about the four methods of speech delivery? How do you think they are different from one another? Have you given a speech using any of these methods before?

Watch the video below for a brief overview of each one. After you are finished, answer the questions below:

  • Which method are you most comfortable with? Why?
  • Which method are you the least comfortable with? Why?
  • Which method do you think is the best for connecting with your audience?  Why?

The public speaking section of this course will require you to deliver a speech using an extemporaneous style, but let’s take a look at how all four differ in approach:

Impromptu Speeches

types of presentation delivery

Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advanced preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings. Self-introductions in group settings are examples of impromptu speaking: “ Hi, my name is Shawnda, and I’m a student at the University of Saskatchewan .”

Another example of impromptu speaking occurs when you answer a question such as, “What did you think of the movie?” Your response has not been pre-planned, and you are constructing your arguments and points as you speak. Even worse, you might find yourself going into a meeting when your boss announces to you, “I want you to talk about the last stage of the project” with no warning.

The advantage of this kind of speaking is that it’s spontaneous and responsive in an animated group context. The  disadvantage is that the speaker is giv en little or no time to contemplate the central theme of their message. As a result, the message may be disorganized and difficult for listeners to follow.

Here is a step-by-step guide that may be useful if you are called upon to give an impromptu speech in public:

  • Take a moment to collect your thoughts and plan the main point that you want to make (like a mini thesis statement).
  • Thank the person for inviting you to speak. Do not make comments about being unprepared, called upon at the last moment, on the spot, or uneasy. In other words, try to avoid being self-deprecating!
  • Deliver your message, making your main point as briefly as you can while still covering it adequately and at a pace your listeners can follow.
  • If you can use a structure, use numbers if possible: “Two main reasons. . .” or “Three parts of our plan. . .” or “Two side effects of this drug. . .” Past, present, and future or East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast are pre-fab structures.
  • Thank the person again for the opportunity to speak.
  • Stop talking. It is easy to “ramble on” when you don’t have something prepared. If in front of an audience, don’t keep talking as you move back to your seat.

Impromptu speeches are generally most successful when they are brief and focus on a single point.

We recommend practicing your impromptu speaking regularly. Do you want to work on reducing your vocalized pauses in a formal setting? Great! You can begin that process by being conscious of your vocalized fillers during informal conversations and settings.

Exercise #2: Impromptu Speech Example

Below are two examples of an impromptu speech. In the first video, a teacher is demonstrating an impromptu speech to his students on the topic of strawberries. He quickly jots down some notes before presenting.

What works in his speech? What could be improved?

Link to Original Video: tinyurl.com/impromptuteacher

In the above example, the teacher did an okay job, considering how little time he had to prepare.

In this next example, you will see just how badly an impromptu speech can go. It is a video of a best man speech at a wedding. Keep in mind that the speaker is the groom’s brother.

Is there anything that he does well? What are some problems with his speech?

Link to Original Video: tinyurl.com/badimpromptubestman

Manuscript Speeches

types of presentation delivery

Manuscript  speaking is the word-for-word iteration of a written message. In a manuscript speech, the speaker maintains their attention on the printed page except when using presentation aids.

The advantage to reading from a manuscript is the exact repetition of original words. This can be extremely important in some circumstances. For example, reading a statement about your organization’s legal responsibilities to customers may require that the original words be exact. In reading one word at a time, in order, the only errors would typically be the mispronunciation of a word or stumbling over complex sentence structure. A manuscript speech may also be appropriate at a more formal affair (like a funeral), when your speech must be said exactly as written in order to convey the proper emotion the situation deserves.

However, there are costs involved in manuscript speaking. First, it’s typically an uninteresting way to present. Unless the speaker has rehearsed the reading as a complete performance animated with vocal expression and gestures (well-known authors often do this for book readings), the presentation tends to be dull. Keeping one’s eyes glued to the script prevents eye contact with the audience.

For this kind of “straight” manuscript speech to hold audience attention, the audience must be already interested in the message and speaker before the delivery begins. Finally, because the full notes are required, speakers often require a lectern to place their notes, restricting movement and the ability to engage with the audience. Without something to place the notes on, speakers have to manage full-page speaking notes, and that can be distracting.

It is worth noting that professional speakers, actors, news reporters, and politicians often read from an autocue device such as a teleprompter. This device is especially common when these people appear on television where eye contact with the camera is crucial. With practice, a speaker can achieve a conversational tone and give the impression of speaking extemporaneously and maintaining eye contact while using an autocue device.

However, success in this medium depends on two factors:

  • the speaker is already an accomplished public speaker who has learned to use a conversational tone while delivering a prepared script, and
  • the speech is written in a style that sounds conversational.

Exercise #3: Manuscript Speech Example

Below is a video that shows an example of a manuscript speech. In the video, US Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, gives a speech about different US presidents.

What works in her speech? What could be improved?

Link to Original Video: tinyurl.com/goodwindepauw

Here’s a video that shows the dangers of relying on a manuscript for your speech:

Michael Bay heavily relied on his manuscript , so when he suddenly lost access to it, he was left feeling embarrassed and had to hastily leave the stage. As a result, he experienced face loss .

Link to original video: https://tinyurl.com/MBayManuscript

Memorized Speeches

types of presentation delivery

Memorized  speaking is reciting a written message that the speaker has committed to memory. Actors, of course, recite from memory whenever they perform from a script in a stage play, television program, or movie. When it comes to speeches, memorization can be useful when the message needs to be exact and the speaker doesn’t want to be confined by notes.

The advantage to memorization is that it enables the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout the speech. Being free of notes means that you can move freely around the stage and use your hands to make gestures. If your speech uses presentation aids, this freedom is even more of an advantage.

Memorization, however, can be tricky. First, if you lose your place and start trying to ad lib, the contrast in your style of delivery will alert your audience that something is wrong. If you go completely blank during the presentation, it will be extremely difficult to find your place and keep going. Obviously, memorizing a typical seven-minute classroom speech takes a great deal of time and effort, and if you aren’t used to memorizing, it is very difficult to pull off.

Exercise #4: Memorized Speech Example

Below is a video that shows an example of a memorized speech. In the video, former Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, responds to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address back in 2009.

Extemporaneous Speeches

types of presentation delivery

Extemporaneous speaking is the presentation of a carefully planned and rehearsed speech, spoken in a conversational manner using brief notes.

Speaking extemporaneously has some advantages. It promotes the likelihood that you, the speaker, will be perceived as knowledgeable and credible since you know the speech well enough that you don’t need to read it. In addition, your audience is likely to pay better attention to the message because it is engaging both verbally and nonverbally.

By using notes rather than a full manuscript (or everything that you’re going to say), the extemporaneous speaker can establish and maintain eye contact with the audience and assess how well they are understanding the speech as it progresses. It also allows flexibility; you are working from the strong foundation of an outline, but if you need to delete, add, or rephrase something at the last minute or to adapt to your audience, you can do so. The outline also helps you be aware of main ideas vs. subordinate ones.

types of presentation delivery

Compared to the other three types of speech delivery, an extemporaneous style is the best for engaging your audience and making yourself sound like a natural speaker.

The video below provides some tips on how to deliver a speech using this method:

Link to Original Video:  tinyurl.com/deliverextempres

The slide below provides a brief overview of tips for preparing your extemporaneous presentation:

types of presentation delivery

Exercise# 5: Extemporaneous Speech Example

Below is a video that shows an example of an extemporaneous speech. In the video, a former University of Saskatchewan student tries to persuade her peers to spend more solo time outside.

Link to Original Video: tinyurl.com/rcm401speech

Key Takeaways

  • When designing any speech, it’s important to consider how you will deliver that speech. In technical communication, there are four different types of speech delivery, each with their advantages and disadvantages. They are: impromptu , manuscript , memorized , and extemporaneous .
  • An impromptu  speech can take many forms such as a toast at a wedding, being asked to give a project update at a meeting, or even simply meeting someone for the first time. While this type of speech can be spontaneous and responsive, the speaker generally has little to no warning that they will need to speak.
  • A  manuscript speech is completely written out and read word for word.  It is often a good style when you want to nail the specific wording and do not want to make an error. However, this type of speech is not very persuasive because it does not take advantage of the immediacy of public speaking. It also completely removes audience relation from the process.
  • A  memorized  speech is when a speaker commits an entire speech to memory. This style also harms relation with the audience because the speaker is more focused on remembering the text of the speech rather than communicating with the audience. Additionally, if you lose your place and need to ad lib, it may be obvious to your audience.
  • An extemporaneous speech is done in a natural, conversational speaking style. While it is carefully planned, it is never completely written out like a manuscript.  It is also not read or memorized . Instead, an outline is used to help guide the speaker. As a result, more attention can be paid to the audience, allowing the speaker to better connect with them and make adjustments as necessary. This is the style we want you to use for your presentation assignment in RCM 200.

Attributions

This chapter is adapted from “ Communication for Business Professionals ” by eCampusOntario (on Open Library ). It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

This chapter is also adapted from “ Speak Out, Call In: Public Speaking as Advocacy ” by Meggie Mapes (on Pressbooks ). It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

a speech delivery method where a short message is presented without advanced preparation

a speech delivery method where a message is read word-for-word off a written page or autocue device

a speech delivery method where a message is presented after being committed to memory by the speaker

a speech delivery method where the presentation is carefully planned and rehearsed, but spoken in a conversational manner using brief notes

the experience of feeling judged, or feeling that people do not recognize us as we perceive ourselves to be

Effective Professional Communication: A Rhetorical Approach Copyright © 2021 by Rebekah Bennetch; Corey Owen; and Zachary Keesey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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The 8 Types of Presentation Styles: Which Category Do You Fall Into?

Meg Prater (she/her)

Updated: December 16, 2020

Published: September 24, 2018

Types of Presentations

  • Visual Style
  • Freeform Style
  • Instructor Style
  • Coach Style
  • Storytelling Style
  • Connector Style
  • Lessig Style
  • Takahashi Style

Everyone on the internet has an opinion on how to give the “perfect” presentation.

types-of-presentation-styles

One group champions visual aids, another thinks visual aids are a threat to society as we know it. One expert preaches the benefits of speaking loudly, while another believes the softer you speak the more your audience pays attention. And don’t even try to find coordinating opinions on whether you should start your presentation with a story, quote, statistic, or question.

But what if there wasn’t just one “right” way to give a presentation? What if there were several? Below, I’ve outlined eight types of presentation styles. They’re used by famous speakers like Steve Jobs and Al Gore -- and none of them are wrong.

Check out each one and decide which will be most effective for you.

→ Free Download: 10 PowerPoint Presentation Templates [Access Now]

Types of Presentation Styles

1. visual style.

What it is: If you’re a firm believer slides simply exist to complement your talking points, this style is for you. With this speaking style, you might need to work a little harder to get your audience engaged, but the dividends can be huge for strong public speakers, visionaries, and storytellers.

When to use it: This style is helpful when speaking to a large audience with broad interests. It’s also great for when you need to throw together slides quickly.

Visual style presenter: Steve Jobs

2. Freeform Style

What it is: This impromptu style of presenting doesn’t require slides. Instead, the speaker relies on strong stories to illustrate each point. This style works best for those who have a short presentation time and are extremely familiar with their talking points.

When to use it: Elevator pitches, networking events, and impromptu meetings are all scenarios in which to use a freeform style of speaking. You’ll appear less rehearsed and more conversational than if you were to pause in the middle of a happy hour to pull up your presentation on a tablet.

Freeform style presenter: Sir Ken Robinson

3. Instructor Style

What it is: This presentation style allows you to deliver complex messages using figures of speech, metaphors, and lots of content -- just like your teachers and professors of old. Your decks should be built in logical order to aid your presentation, and you should use high-impact visuals to support your ideas and keep the audience engaged.

When to use it: If you’re not a comfortable presenter or are unfamiliar with your subject matter (i.e., your product was recently updated and you’re not familiar with the finer points), try instructor-style presenting.

Instructor style presenter: Al Gore

4. Coach Style

What it is: Energetic and charismatic speakers gravitate towards this style of presenting. It allows them to connect and engage with their audience using role play and listener interaction.

When to use it: Use this presentation style when you’re speaking at a conference or presenting to an audience who needs to be put at ease. For example, this style would work well if you were speaking to a group of executives who need to be sold on the idea of what your company does rather than the details of how you do it.

Coach style presenter: Linda Edgecombe

5. Storytelling Style

What it is: In this style, the speaker relies on anecdotes and examples to connect with their audience. Stories bring your learning points to life, and the TED’s Commandments never let you down: Let your emotions out and tell your story in an honest way.

When to use it: Avoid this style if you’re in the discovery phase of the sales process. You want to keep the conversation about your prospect instead of circling every point or question back to you or a similar client. This style is great for conference speaking, networking events, and sales presentations where you have adequate time to tell your stories without taking minutes away from questions.

Storytelling style presenter: Jill Bolte Taylor

6. Connector Style

What it is: In this style, presenters connect with their audience by showing how they’re similar to their listeners. Connectors usually enjoy freeform Q&A and use gestures when they speak. They also highly encourage audience reaction and feedback to what they’re saying.

When to use it: Use this style of presenting early in the sales process as you’re learning about your prospect’s pain points, challenges, and goals. This type of speaking sets your listener at ease, elicits feedback on how you’re doing in real time, and is more of a dialogue than a one-sided presentation

Connector style presenter: Connie Dieken

7. Lessig Style

What it is: The Lessig Style was created by Lawrence Lessig , a professor of law and leadership at Harvard Law School. This presentation style requires the presenter to pass through each slide within 15 seconds. When text is used in a slide, it’s typically synchronized with the presenter’s spoken words.

When to use it: This method of presentation is great for large crowds -- and it allows the speaker to use a balance of text and image to convey their message. The rapid pace and rhythm of the slide progression keeps audiences focused, engaged, and less likely to snooze.

Lessig style presenter: Lawrence Lessig

8. Takahashi Style

What it is: This method features large, bold text on minimal slides. It was devised by Masayoshi Takahashi , who found himself creating slides without access to a presentation design tool or PowerPoint. The main word is the focal point of the slide, and phrases, used sparingly, are short and concise.

When to use it: If you find yourself in Takahashi’s shoes -- without presentation design software -- this method is for you. This style works well for short presentations that pack a memorable punch.

Takahashi style presenter: Masayoshi Takahashi

Slides from one of Takahashi’s presentations:

Whether you’re speaking on a conference stage or giving a sales presentation , you can find a method that works best for you and your audience. With the right style, you’ll capture attention, engage listeners, and effectively share your message. You can even ask an  AI presentation maker  tool to create presentations for you in your preferred style

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The 6 types of presentation (and why you need them)

Hrideep barot.

  • Presentation , Public Speaking

types of presentation delivery

We all have been exposed to different types of presentations right from school years.

Group presentations, lectures by teachers and professors, seminars, webinars or online presentations, e-learning, e-conferences, etc., are all different types of presentations that we come across in our daily lives.

But each of them work for different settings.

In this article, we will take a look at 6 such types of presentations and when and why you need them.

1. Informative Presentations

This is the most common type of presentation, be it in an educational setting or business or corporate setting.

The aim of an informative presentation is to give detailed information about a product, concept, or idea to a specific kind of audience.

They are often analytical or require a rational analysis of the data presented.

Training sessions or one-day workshops are good examples where this kind of presentation is used.

Here is an example of an informative presentation on public speaking and presentations.

Now, there are different situations where you can use informative presentations.

a) Reporting

Learn from observing the reporters!

Although a report is a written explanation of an event, it can also be verbal.

A perfect place to use informative presentations is news reporting , as it requires the presenter to present information systematically.

b) Briefing

types of presentation delivery

This involves explaining both positive and negative aspects of a particular topic in a few words.

It is providing information quickly and effectively about an issue to influence decisions or to come to solutions.

Hence, the decision-making bodies of an organization can make use of this kind of presentation to save time and effectively come to conclusions.

c) Research

Informative presentations are often used to present research findings to a specific audience , as it involves reporting the findings and briefing it to the audience.

Hence, almost everywhere where research takes place, be it in an educational context or occupational , can make use of this kind of presentation.

Tips for giving informative presentations

  • As there would be a lot of technical information and statistics, focus on the main points or agenda first and if you have more time, you can add them at the end
  • Keep your presentation simple and clear . Avoid complex sentence structures and graphics
  • Tell the outline of your presentation briefly in the introduction for a better flow
  • Make sure that your presentation does not stretch for too long. 10-15 minutes is what your audience can concentrate on
  • Restate your keyphrase at the end and briefly summarize all the important points of your presentation

Speech topics for an informative presentation

  • Cropping techniques
  • Organic Farming
  • Corporate Farming
  • Hydroponics
  • Sustainable Agriculture, etc
  • Climate change
  • Environmental issues
  • Eco-friendly ways of management
  • Eco-politics
  • Eco-feminism, etc
  • Gender studies
  • Gender and education
  • Religious studies
  • History of education
  • Philosophy of education, etc
  • Ethnic cultures
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Multiculturalism
  • Popular culture
  • Cultural trends, etc
  • Business administration
  • Business ethics
  • Business models
  • Promotion and marketing communications
  • Finance, etc

2. Persuasive presentations

Persuasion is the art of motivating or convincing someone to act or make a change in their actions or thoughts.

If you are planning to give a persuasive presentation, and are looking for how to give a persuasive speech, check out our article on A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Persuasive Speech to gain in-depth knowledge about the art of giving persuasive presentations.

Persuasive presentations are also widely used form after informative presentations.

There are various circumstances where persuasive presentations can be used.

a) Policy-making

Avoid taking too much time when you want to persuade any decision!

Government bodies make use of persuasion almost every time, be it the legislative or decision-making bodies, executive bodies, or even courts.

Even election campaigns involve using persuasive presentations as an instrument of their pre-determined goals of swaying the citizens.

For that matter, any executive or management body of an organization can make use of these kinds of presentations.

b) Value judgment

Give personal examples if you want to persuade someone's viewpoints!

This kind involves answering the question “why” and supplementing it with possible benefits.

Most Ted talks and YouTube videos try to persuade the audience and fall into the persuasive presentation category.

Even religious heads use this as a means of persuading their believers to follow their belief system.

Deciding on a procedure or telling an audience the correct procedure of doing something is another situation.

An example of a persuasive presentation

Bailey parnell: is social media hurting your mental health.

This TED talk by Bailey Parnell is a good example of a persuasive presentation.

She starts strong by asking rhetorical questions that set the mood for her further points.

We can also see how the speaker is genuinely concerned regarding the issue, engaging the audience till the end.

Tips for giving a persuasive presentation

  • Start your presentation with a relevant quote or statistics about your topic to establish credibility
  • Tell personal anecdotes and examples wherever necessary to develop an emotional connection with your audience
  • Deliver your presentation with passion and genuine interest to motivate your audience to think
  • Answer the question “why” for better understanding and clarity in your presentation
  • State your viewpoint clearly and clarify doubts if your audience seems to have any

Speech topics for persuasive presentations

  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Should cosmetic surgery be banned?
  • Can the death penalty be the only solution to the rising crime rates?
  • Should the legal age be 18?
  • Should immigration laws be revised?
  • Why you should never add your parents on Facebook
  • Guys are more interested in gossip than girls
  • It is your major duty to annoy your parents
  • You are not enjoying student life if you are not procrastinating
  • Endless memes can be made on my life, etc
  • Is taming wild and exotic animals ethical?
  • The importance of emotional support animals
  • Why are bunnies the perfect pet?
  • Why do animals make the best companions?
  • Why there is a need for patients to have emotional support animals, etc
  • How and why there is a need to do business analysis before opening your business?
  • Why small businesses are successful and more profitable?
  • Why do sales and customer service departments need to be paid more?
  • Why does the HR department need to be polite and understanding?
  • Why should you not do business with a family member?
  • How charity is a means of converting black money to white?
  • Why is detaining people on the suspicion of terrorism justified?
  • Should euthanasia be made legal?
  • Should violent crime offenders be sentenced to death?
  • Should foreigners be allowed to buy a property?

3. Demonstrative presentations

This involves demonstrating a process or the functioning of a product in a step-by-step fashion.

So, a master class on communication skills or making a product model is an example of a demonstrative presentation.

Usually, the audience is an active part of such presentations and these can work in any context where you want the audience to learn a new skill.

a) Instructions

Take it slow when instructing!

This involves giving guidelines or steps of a process or work .

Teaching how to make a car model step-by-step is a good example where you can use this kind of informative presentation to guide your audience.

Another instance can be at the workplace , to train the employees or introduce them to a new product at work.

This type also works with demonstrating recipes and cooking workshops.

An example of demonstrative presentation

The easy guide on making just about any smoothie.

In this recipe demonstration, he tells his audience how many ingredients are involved and briefs them about the outline of his presentation at the start of his speech.

He also shows all steps in real-time so that the audience have a better understanding of the process and keeps them engaged.

Tips to give a demonstrative presentation

  • Introduce your product and its function to your audience before telling them how to go about with the steps
  • Explain the steps with diagrams or show them in real-time along with the audience
  • Give equal time to every person in the audience for clearing doubts, if any
  • Keep your introduction short. Not more than 5 minutes
  • Discuss options or variations that the audience can try at the end of the presentation

Speech topics for demonstrative presentations

  • How to administer CPR
  • How to wrap a gift professionally
  • How to budget your monthly income
  • How to choose a car insurance
  • How to restore a piece of antique furniture

4. Inspirational presentations

As the name suggests, this type of presentation involves inspiring others!

The main aim of an inspirational presentation is to motivate or move your audience and is also known as a motivational presentation.

Using techniques like storytelling, narrating personal anecdotes , or even humor work wonders as your audience develops an emotional connection to the message.

This TED talk by Luvvie Ajayi Jones is humorous but a lot more inspirational. Check it out!

Tips for giving an inspirational presentation

  • Start with a question that will leave the audience thinking. Pause for some time and then begin with your presentation
  • Develop a sense of connection by narrating personal incidents and experiences to grow empathy
  • Have some main points that you want to emphasize on
  • Make use of humor ! It instantly builds a connection with the listener
  • Non-verbal elements like paralanguage, body language, speech modulations, tone, etc., makes a huge difference

Speech topics for an inspirational presentation

  • Importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Building mental resilience
  • Need for change management
  • Valuing small victories in life
  • How procrastinating is your enemy

5. Business presentations

In the corporate world, presentations are the go-to solution to do anything: planning or strategizing, articulating company goals, screening candidates, status reports , and many more.

Let us take a dive into the different types of business presentations.

a) Sales presentation

Make sure to practice before giving a sales presentation!

Also known as sales pitches , sales presentations involve providing information about a product or a service to sell it.

It has a pre-defined strategy of initiating and closing the sales deal.

This can be done in person or nowadays, on the phone, or via e-communication .

b) Training sessions

Make training sessions interesting by interacting with the audience!

Often employees have on-the-job training sessions that are aimed to increase the knowledge and skills of the employees.

This kind can also involve the audience to participate , like in demonstrative presentations.

c) Meetings

Take everyone's opinion before concluding a point!

Meetings can be called for for different reasons and can be of different forms as well.

Conferences ( both video and in-person), board meetings, informal team meetings, daily reporting, etc., are all various contexts of meeting in a business setting.

d) E- presentations

E- presentations existed before the COVID pandemic as well but were used seldom.

But, with the ongoing pandemic, e-presentations or remote presentations have replaced all other types of presentations and will be with us for a while longer.

However, on the brighter side, it is an eco-friendly alternative to normal face-to-face kind of a set-up, and it also saves transportation and other costs !

e) Seminars

Give ample time of breaks in a seminar to make it less tiring!

Seminars are widely used in the health sector , usually involving a panel of speakers on a topic. The audience is anywhere between 10 to 100.

It ends with a question and answers session , and the audience gets to take handouts with them.

f) One-on-one or 1:1

Pay attention to your body language, especially in an interview!

Interviews are usually one-on-one and involve presenting your achievements and capabilities to your prospective employer.

Apart from interviews, 1:1 meetings are also used in sales and marketing to crack a business deal.

Tips for giving business presentations

  • Include key phrases and other important details on your slides and make them bold
  • Avoid casual slangs and informal tone of speech
  • If you are giving a sales presentation, explain your product or service in simple and clear words , and list the reasons why it is beneficial for your potential clients
  • Make sure to be on time ! Delaying your audience will work against you and leave a bad impression on you and your company
  • Know your material or content thoroughly to answer the questions asked by your audience

Speech topics for business presentations

  • Implementing an Agile Project
  • Introduction to data modeling
  • Introduction to UML(Unified Modeling Language)
  • Social Media strategies for a successful business
  • Business writing for managers

6. Powerpoint presentations

PowerPoint presentations or PPTs are the most effective ones among all types of presentations simply because they are convenient and easy to understand .

They are available in different formats and are suitable to use in practically any type of presentation and context, be it business, educational, or for informal purposes.

There are various types of PowerPoint presentations that you can use depending on the context.

a) PPTs for general audience

Use inclusive language when addressing to a general audience.

  • For general audiences, avoid using jargon terms

If you feel that you need to use them, provide the audience some background information about the field or topic being covered

  • Avoid using more than 8 words per line, as anything more than that becomes difficult to remember
  • Use bullets or a numbered list for better retention
  • Try not to read from your PPT
  • Give handouts or record your presentation in case anyone wants it

b) PPTs for teaching

Include pictures when teaching through a ppt.

  • In this case, the PowerPoint is content-based
  • Make sure that the words on the slides are visible
  • Use bigger font and avoid fancy fonts
  • Add relevant pictures and graphics to keep your audience engaged
  • You can also add documentaries or relevant videos to aid in understanding

c) Repurpose PPTs

  • This involves reinventing an earlier ppt or combining 1 or more than 1 PowerPoints
  • Giving new touches to an earlier PPT or changing the format
  • You can take any slide of your PPT and upload it on social media for growing your brand or business
  • You can even convert your PPT into mp4 , i.e, video format
  • You can even add voice and save the mp4 format, and you have a good marketing plan!

d) PechaKucha

Chat for only 6 minutes and 40 seconds!

  • This type of PowerPoint presentation comes from the Japanese word PechaKucha meaning sound of a conversation or chit-chat
  • This involves changing slides every 20 seconds
  • There can be a maximum of 20 slides , which means your presentation lasts for only 6 minutes and 40 seconds
  • The PPT mostly has graphics and fewer words
  • This type of presentation is best suited for telling a story or a personal anecdote

e) Multimedia presentations

Make full use of the multimedia ppt!

  • This is the best kind of PPT to engage your audience
  • It contains texts along with pictures, videos, infographics, music, illustrations, GIFs , and many more
  • Add higher resolution images and videos , or even a 360-degree snapshot if you are in the sales and marketing industry
  • Adding infographics such as charts and graphs makes the process of understanding easier and saves time
  • Music in a PPT helps your audience to be relaxed, at the same time making them alert and engaged

Types of slides in a presentation

PowerPoint presentation slides are broadly classified into 3 categories: Text, Visual, and Mixed slides.

1. Text slides

As the name suggests, this category of slides involve words or texts.

You can format the text as plain sentences or pointers.

You may even arrange them all in a single slide or one line per slide.

The slide seen below is an example where every point is mentioned in a single slide.

Archived Material (Presentations): Not too much text

2. Visual slides

This type of slide has visual elements such as images or videos , and are better known as conceptual slides since they are a better option than text slide to explain a particular concept.

You can use them at the start of the presentation to better visualize and grasp the meaning of the presentation.

The slide right below is a good example of a visual slide.

Illustration 1 exercise: Visual Metaphor | David Howcroft's OCA Art Journey

3. Mixed slides

Mixed slides combine the texts and visuals to give a comprehensive understanding of any concept or a speech.

Graphs and charts are the best examples of mixed slides.

Mixed slides have an advantage over the other slides; they keep your audience engaged, listening and participating more actively!

Presentation Design: A Visual Guide to Creating Beautiful Slides [Free  E-Book]

Types of Oral presentations

So far we came across 6 types of presentations, and they all share one common feature. They are all one of the types of oral presentations.

Oral presentations involve the use of verbal and non-verbal elements to deliver a speech to a particular or general audience.

All the types we discussed fall into these 4 broad categories:

1. Extemporaneous presentations

This type of presentation involves making short pointers or key phrases to aid while speaking.

You do not memorize, but organize the points and structure the speech way in advance.

Hence, on the day of your presentation, by just looking at the key points , you expand on them and move to the next point.

2. Impromptu presentations

Impromptu presentations are spoken without any preparation . It can be nerve-wracking for many, and hence not many are in favor of it.

There is a valid reason for their fear, as you have to make your speech as you say it!

However, those who are experts in their fields and are called upon to share a few words can easily give this type of presentation.

3. Manuscript presentations

The other extreme of the spectrum is manuscript presentations.

Here you have a script and you speak from it, word by word.

News anchors and show announcers usually engage in this type, since there are a lot of specific details that cannot be said wrong, and also, time constraints.

Usually, a prompter is used, from which the speaker speaks to their audience.

Nowadays, there are teleprompters , that are heavily used in the entertainment and media industry.

It is a digital screen that displays the contents, and the speaker speaks from it.

4. Memorized presentations

This type does not have any notes or cues , but you memorize or rote learn the whole speech.

School and some presentations at the workplace involve using this kind of presentation.

In most cases, we recommend not to memorise your speech in most cases. We’ve made a video on the same and how it could lead to you potentially blanking out on stage. Highly recommend you view this quick vid before choosing memorisation as a presentation path:

But, if you do choose it for whatever reason, since you are free from notes, you are free to focus on other aspects, such as body language and gestures.

Types of presentation styles

There are various presenting styles, but they do not work for all types of presentations.

Let us get familiar with them, and know which style works with which type.

a) The storyteller

There's a reason why we all love to hear stories!

This style of presentation involves the speaker narrating stories and engaging the audience emotionally .

This technique works best with persuasive and inspirational types of presentation.

So, how to tell a story in a presentation?

  • Understand and know your audience : Knowing your audience will help you with how you will frame your story, at the same time gauging the relevance of your narrative
  • Know your message : Be clear with what you want to convey through your story or how you are connecting the story with your actual presentation
  • Try narrative a real-life story : Inspiring presenters often take their own stories or the stories of people whom they know as a supplement to their presentation. When the audience listens to your real-life examples, they become genuinely interested in your story
  • Add visual aids : Using visual aids such as pictures, videos, multimedia, etc., increases the memory retention and engagement of your audience
  • Use the “you” attitude : Tell the story keeping your audience in mind because ultimately they are going to be the receivers and hence, the story should be relevant and should include their point of view as well

Want more storytelling tactics? Mystery, characterisation and the final takeaway are some more key elements of a good story for your next presentation. We’ve gone deeper into this topic in this video if you would like to know more:

b) The Visual style

Make use of the visual aids to keep your audience engaged.

Most of us are visual learners, making visual information easy to understand and retain.

Visual aids like graphics, images, diagrams, key pointers or phrases , etc., are very useful when giving any type of presentation.

Some tips of presenting with visual style:

  • Include only important pointers in your PowerPoint presentation and highlight or bold them
  • Try including visuals that complement what you are saying and use them as a supplementary tool to aid in understanding your audience
  • If you are giving a business presentation and want to include visuals, instead of plain texts, include graphics and charts to make information simpler to present and understand
  • Avoid overly complex visuals as it will confuse the audience more
  • Avoid using more than 6 lines per slide

c) Analytic style

Provide examples to support your data findings!

If you have data records or statistical information to be presented, an analytic style will be more helpful.

It works best for Informative and Business types of presentations.

Tips to deliver in analytic style:

  • Give handouts so that the audience is on track with your presentation and the information will be easier to comprehend
  • Focus and speak on selected data as too much data statistics can be overwhelming for the audience
  • You can make use of humor and personal anecdotes to keep the presentation interesting and engaging
  • If you have too much data and are worried that you will not be able to explain it in the time frame given, avoid writing content of more than 2000 words

Quick tip: In case you have a PDF to present and want to edit the data points, there are multiple software programs that you can use to allow you to easily do this. Check out this list of the Best Free Recording Software Programs to know more.

d) The Connector

Make an impactful presentation by simply connecting with your audience!

The connector style of presentation involves the speaker establishing a connection with the audience by pointing out similarities between them and the listeners.

This style works well with Sales and marketing presentations.

How to give a presentation using connector style?

  • Have a Q & A round with the audience at the end of your presentation for clarifying any doubts and avoiding miscommunication
  • Use audience polls at the start of your presentation to know your audience and tailor your speech accordingly
  • Make use of body language and gestures for delivering your presentation effectively. If you are confused or want to know more about the aspects of how to use body and gestures, check out our article on To walk or stand still: How should you present when on stage?
  • Ask questions to your audience at regular intervals for a better audience engagement
  • Make use of multimedia sources to keep your audience engaged and entertained

Which type of presentation is best?

Although all the presentation types have their own bonuses and are suitable for certain circumstances, some are universal and can be used with a little bit of modification almost everywhere!

These are persuasive presentations!

You can use them in various settings; from political, business to educational.

Just remember to choose the right topic for the right audience, and a style that you think is the most suitable and you are good to go!

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To conclude

We saw 6 types of presentation and understood it in detail.

We also gained some tips on how to make our presentation more engaging and also came across things to avoid as well.

We then explored the types of slides that you can use, and also the types of presenting orally.

We also gave you some tips and a few topic ideas that you can incorporate in your next speech!

Hrideep Barot

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Blog Beginner Guides

8 Types of Presentations You Should Know [+Examples & Tips]

By Krystle Wong , Aug 11, 2023

Types of Presentation

From persuasive pitches that influence opinions to instructional demonstrations that teach skills, the different types of presentations serve a unique purpose, tailored to specific objectives and audiences.

Presentations that are tailored to its objectives and audiences are more engaging and memorable. They capture attention, maintain interest and leave a lasting impression. 

Don’t worry if you’re no designer —  Whether you need data-driven visuals, persuasive graphics or engaging design elements, Venngage can empower you to craft presentations that stand out and effectively convey your message.

Venngage’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface, extensive presentation template library and customizable design options make it a valuable tool for creating slides that align with your specific goals and target audience. 

Click to jump ahead:

8 Different types of presentations every presenter must know

How do i choose the right type of presentation for my topic or audience, types of presentation faq, 5 steps to create a presentation with venngage .

types of presentation delivery

When it comes to presentations, versatility is the name of the game. Having a variety of presentation styles up your sleeve can make a world of difference in keeping your audience engaged. Here are 8 essential presentation types that every presenter should be well-acquainted with:

1. Informative presentation

Ever sat through a presentation that left you feeling enlightened? That’s the power of an informative presentation. 

This presentation style is all about sharing knowledge and shedding light on a particular topic. Whether you’re diving into the depths of quantum physics or explaining the intricacies of the latest social media trends, informative presentations aim to increase the audience’s understanding.

When delivering an informative presentation, simplify complex topics with clear visuals and relatable examples. Organize your content logically, starting with the basics and gradually delving deeper and always remember to keep jargon to a minimum and encourage questions for clarity.

Academic presentations and research presentations are great examples of informative presentations. An effective academic presentation involves having clear structure, credible evidence, engaging delivery and supporting visuals. Provide context to emphasize the topic’s significance, practice to perfect timing, and be ready to address anticipated questions. 

types of presentation delivery

2. Persuasive presentation

If you’ve ever been swayed by a passionate speaker armed with compelling arguments, you’ve experienced a persuasive presentation . 

This type of presentation is like a verbal tug-of-war, aiming to convince the audience to see things from a specific perspective. Expect to encounter solid evidence, logical reasoning and a dash of emotional appeal.

With persuasive presentations, it’s important to know your audience inside out and tailor your message to their interests and concerns. Craft a compelling narrative with a strong opening, a solid argument and a memorable closing. Additionally, use visuals strategically to enhance your points.

Examples of persuasive presentations include presentations for environmental conservations, policy change, social issues and more. Here are some engaging presentation templates you can use to get started with: 

types of presentation delivery

3. Demonstration or how-to presentation

A Demonstration or How-To Presentation is a type of presentation where the speaker showcases a process, technique, or procedure step by step, providing the audience with clear instructions on how to replicate the demonstrated action. 

A demonstrative presentation is particularly useful when teaching practical skills or showing how something is done in a hands-on manner.

These presentations are commonly used in various settings, including educational workshops, training sessions, cooking classes, DIY tutorials, technology demonstrations and more. Designing creative slides for your how-to presentations can heighten engagement and foster better information retention. 

Speakers can also consider breaking down the process into manageable steps, using visual aids, props and sometimes even live demonstrations to illustrate each step. The key is to provide clear and concise instructions, engage the audience with interactive elements and address any questions that may arise during the presentation.

types of presentation delivery

4. Training or instructional presentation

Training presentations are geared towards imparting practical skills, procedures or concepts — think of this as the more focused cousin of the demonstration presentation. 

Whether you’re teaching a group of new employees the ins and outs of a software or enlightening budding chefs on the art of soufflé-making, training presentations are all about turning novices into experts.

To maximize the impact of your training or instructional presentation, break down complex concepts into digestible segments. Consider using real-life examples to illustrate each point and create a connection. 

You can also create an interactive presentation by incorporating elements like quizzes or group activities to reinforce understanding.

types of presentation delivery

5. Sales presentation

Sales presentations are one of the many types of business presentations and the bread and butter of businesses looking to woo potential clients or customers. With a sprinkle of charm and a dash of persuasion, these presentations showcase products, services or ideas with one end goal in mind: sealing the deal.

A successful sales presentation often has key characteristics such as a clear value proposition, strong storytelling, confidence and a compelling call to action. Hence, when presenting to your clients or stakeholders, focus on benefits rather than just features. 

Anticipate and address potential objections before they arise and use storytelling to showcase how your offering solves a specific problem for your audience. Utilizing visual aids is also a great way to make your points stand out and stay memorable.

A sales presentation can be used to promote service offerings, product launches or even consultancy proposals that outline the expertise and industry experience of a business. Here are some template examples you can use for your next sales presentation:

types of presentation delivery

6. Pitch presentation

Pitch presentations are your ticket to garnering the interest and support of potential investors, partners or stakeholders. Think of your pitch deck as your chance to paint a vivid picture of your business idea or proposal and secure the resources you need to bring it to life. 

Business presentations aside, individuals can also create a portfolio presentation to showcase their skills, experience and achievements to potential clients, employers or investors. 

Craft a concise and compelling narrative. Clearly define the problem your idea solves and how it stands out in the market. Anticipate questions and practice your answers. Project confidence and passion for your idea.

types of presentation delivery

7. Motivational or inspirational presentation

Feeling the need for a morale boost? That’s where motivational presentations step in. These talks are designed to uplift and inspire, often featuring personal anecdotes, heartwarming stories and a generous serving of encouragement.

Form a connection with your audience by sharing personal stories that resonate with your message. Use a storytelling style with relatable anecdotes and powerful metaphors to create an emotional connection. Keep the energy high and wrap up your inspirational presentations with a clear call to action.

Inspirational talks and leadership presentations aside, a motivational or inspirational presentation can also be a simple presentation aimed at boosting confidence, a motivational speech focused on embracing change and more.

types of presentation delivery

8. Status or progress report presentation

Projects and businesses are like living organisms, constantly evolving and changing. Status or progress report presentations keep everyone in the loop by providing updates on achievements, challenges and future plans. It’s like a GPS for your team, ensuring everyone stays on track.

Be transparent about achievements, challenges and future plans. Utilize infographics, charts and diagrams to present your data visually and simplify information. By visually representing data, it becomes easier to identify trends, make predictions and strategize based on evidence.

types of presentation delivery

Now that you’ve learned about the different types of presentation methods and how to use them, you’re on the right track to creating a good presentation that can boost your confidence and enhance your presentation skills . 

Selecting the most suitable presentation style is akin to choosing the right outfit for an occasion – it greatly influences how your message is perceived. Here’s a more detailed guide to help you make that crucial decision:

1. Define your objectives

Begin by clarifying your presentation’s goals. Are you aiming to educate, persuade, motivate, train or perhaps sell a concept? Your objectives will guide you to the most suitable presentation type. 

For instance, if you’re aiming to inform, an informative presentation would be a natural fit. On the other hand, a persuasive presentation suits the goal of swaying opinions.

2. Know your audience

Regardless if you’re giving an in-person or a virtual presentation — delve into the characteristics of your audience. Consider factors like their expertise level, familiarity with the topic, interests and expectations. 

If your audience consists of professionals in your field, a more technical presentation might be suitable. However, if your audience is diverse and includes newcomers, an approachable and engaging style might work better.

types of presentation delivery

3. Analyze your content

Reflect on the content you intend to present. Is it data-heavy, rich in personal stories or focused on practical skills? Different presentation styles serve different content types. 

For data-driven content, an informative or instructional presentation might work best. For emotional stories, a motivational presentation could be a compelling choice.

4. Consider time constraints

Evaluate the time you have at your disposal. If your presentation needs to be concise due to time limitations, opt for a presentation style that allows you to convey your key points effectively within the available timeframe. A pitch presentation, for example, often requires delivering impactful information within a short span.

5. Leverage visuals

Visual aids are powerful tools in presentations. Consider whether your content would benefit from visual representation. If your PowerPoint presentations involve step-by-step instructions or demonstrations, a how-to presentation with clear visuals would be advantageous. Conversely, if your content is more conceptual, a motivational presentation could rely more on spoken words.

types of presentation delivery

6. Align with the setting

Take the presentation environment into account. Are you presenting in a formal business setting, a casual workshop or a conference? Your setting can influence the level of formality and interactivity in your presentation. For instance, a demonstration presentation might be ideal for a hands-on workshop, while a persuasive presentation is great for conferences.

7. Gauge audience interaction

Determine the level of audience engagement you want. Interactive presentations work well for training sessions, workshops and small group settings, while informative or persuasive presentations might be more one-sided.

8. Flexibility

Stay open to adjusting your presentation style on the fly. Sometimes, unexpected factors might require a change of presentation style. Be prepared to adjust on the spot if audience engagement or reactions indicate that a different approach would be more effective.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the best type of presentation may vary depending on the specific situation and your unique communication goals. By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the most effective presentation type to successfully engage and communicate with your audience.

To save time, use a presentation software or check out these presentation design and presentation background guides to create a presentation that stands out.    

types of presentation delivery

What are some effective ways to begin and end a presentation?

Capture your audience’s attention from the start of your presentation by using a surprising statistic, a compelling story or a thought-provoking question related to your topic. 

To conclude your presentation , summarize your main points, reinforce your key message and leave a lasting impression with a powerful call to action or a memorable quote that resonates with your presentation’s theme.

How can I make my presentation more engaging and interactive?

To create an engaging and interactive presentation for your audience, incorporate visual elements such as images, graphs and videos to illustrate your points visually. Share relatable anecdotes or real-life examples to create a connection with your audience. 

You can also integrate interactive elements like live polls, open-ended questions or small group discussions to encourage participation and keep your audience actively engaged throughout your presentation.

Which types of presentations require special markings

Some presentation types require special markings such as how sales presentations require persuasive techniques like emphasizing benefits, addressing objections and using compelling visuals to showcase products or services. 

Demonstrations and how-to presentations on the other hand require clear markings for each step, ensuring the audience can follow along seamlessly. 

That aside, pitch presentations require highlighting unique selling points, market potential and the competitive edge of your idea, making it stand out to potential investors or partners.

Need some inspiration on how to make a presentation that will captivate an audience? Here are 120+ presentation ideas to help you get started. 

Creating a stunning and impactful presentation with Venngage is a breeze. Whether you’re crafting a business pitch, a training presentation or any other type of presentation, follow these five steps to create a professional presentation that stands out:

  • Sign up and log in to Venngage to access the editor.
  • Choose a presentation template that matches your topic or style.
  • Customize content, colors, fonts, and background to personalize your presentation.
  • Add images, icons, and charts to enhancevisual style and clarity.
  • Save, export, and share your presentation as PDF or PNG files, or use Venngage’s Presentation Mode for online showcasing.

In the realm of presentations, understanding the different types of presentation formats is like having a versatile set of tools that empower you to craft compelling narratives for every occasion.

Remember, the key to a successful presentation lies not only in the content you deliver but also in the way you connect with your audience. Whether you’re informing, persuading or entertaining, tailoring your approach to the specific type of presentation you’re delivering can make all the difference.

Presentations are a powerful tool, and with practice and dedication (and a little help from Venngage), you’ll find yourself becoming a presentation pro in no time. Now, let’s get started and customize your next presentation!

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12.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery

The importance of delivery.

photo of a young woman delivering a presentation

Delivery is an important component to giving presentations. This chapter is designed to help you give the best delivery possible and to approach the task in a relaxed and confident way. To do that, you should first dismiss the myth that public speaking is just reading and talking at the same time. Speaking in public has more formality than talking. During a speech, you should present yourself professionally. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must wear a suit or “dress up”, but it does mean making yourself presentable by being well groomed and wearing clean, appropriate clothes. It also means being prepared to use language correctly and appropriately for the audience and the topic, to make eye contact with your audience, and to look like you know your topic very well.

While speaking has more formality than talking, it has less formality than reading. Speaking allows for flexibility, meaningful pauses, eye contact, small changes in word order, and vocal emphasis. Reading is a more or less exact replication of words on paper without the use of any non-verbal interpretation. Speaking, as you will realize if you think about excellent speakers you have seen and heard, provides a more animated message.

There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a presentation:

12.2.1: Impromptu Speaking

  • 12.2.2 Manuscript Presentation s

12.2.3 Extemporaneous Presentations

12.2.4 memorized speaking.

Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings. Self-introductions in group settings are examples of impromptu speaking: “Hi, my name is Steve, and I’m an account manager.” Another example of impromptu presenting occurs when you answer a question such as, “What did you think of the report?” Your response has not been preplanned, and you are constructing your arguments and points as you speak. Even worse, you might find yourself going into a meeting and your boss says, “I want you to talk about the last stage of the project. . . “ and you had no warning.

The advantage of this kind of speaking is that it’s spontaneous and responsive in an animated group context. The disadvantage is that the speaker is given little or no time to contemplate the central theme of his or her message. As a result, the message may be disorganized and difficult for listeners to follow.

Here is a step-by-step guide that may be useful if you are called upon to give an impromptu presentation in public:

  • Take a moment to collect your thoughts and plan the main point you want to make.
  • Thank the person for inviting you to speak. Avoid making comments about being unprepared, called upon at the last moment, on the spot, or feeling uneasy.
  • Deliver your message, making your main point as briefly as you can while still covering it adequately and at a pace your listeners can follow.
  • If you can use a structure, using numbers if possible: “Two main reasons . . .” or “Three parts of our plan. . .” or “Two side effects of this drug. . .” Timeline structures are also effective, such as “past, present, and future or East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast”.
  • Thank the person again for the opportunity to speak.
  • Stop talking (it is easy to “ramble on” when you don’t have something prepared). If in front of an audience, don’t keep talking as you move back to your seat.

Impromptu presentations:  the presentation of a short message without advance preparation . Impromptu presentations are generally most successful when they are brief and focus on a single point.

For additional advice on impromptu speaking, watch the following 4 minute video from Toastmasters: Impromptu Speaking

( Toastmasters International, 2013 )

12.2.2 Manuscript Presentations

Manuscript presentations  are the word-for-word iteration of a written message . In a manuscript presentation, the speaker maintains their attention on the printed page except when using visual aids. The advantage of reading from a manuscript is the exact repetition of original words. In some circumstances this can be extremely important. For example, reading a statement about your organization’s legal responsibilities to customers may require that the original words be exact.

A manuscript presentation may be appropriate at a more formal affair (like a report to shareholders), when your presentation must be said exactly as written in order to convey the proper emotion or decorum the situation deserves.

However, there are costs involved in manuscript presentations. First, it’s typically an uninteresting way to present. Unless the presenter has rehearsed the reading as a complete performance animated with vocal expression and gestures, the presentation tends to be dull. Keeping one’s eyes glued to the script prevents eye contact with the audience. For this kind of “straight” manuscript presentation to hold audience attention, the audience must be already interested in the message and presenter before the delivery begins.

It is worth noting that professional speakers, actors, news reporters, and politicians often read from an autocue device, commonly called a teleprompter, especially when appearing on television, where eye contact with the camera is crucial. With practice, a presenter can achieve a conversational tone and give the impression of speaking extemporaneously and maintaining eye contact while using an autocue device. However, success in this medium depends on two factors: (1) the presenter is already an accomplished public speaker who has learned to use a conversational tone while delivering a prepared script, and (2) the presentation is written in a style that sounds conversational and in spoken rather than written, edited English.

Extemporaneous presentations  are carefully planned and rehearsed presentations, delivered in a conversational manner using brief notes . By using notes rather than a full manuscript, the extemporaneous presenter can establish and maintain eye contact with the audience and assess how well they are understanding the presentation as it progresses. Without all the words on the page to read, you have little choice but to look up and make eye contact with your audience.

Watch the following 10 minute video of a champion speaker presenting his extemporaneous speech: 2017 International Extemporaneous Speaking National Champion — Connor Rothschild Speech

( Rothschild, 2017 )

Presenting extemporaneously has some advantages. It promotes the likelihood that you, the speaker, will be perceived as knowledgeable and credible since you know the speech well  enough that you don’t need to read it. In addition, your audience is likely to pay better attention to the message because it is engaging both verbally and nonverbally. It also allows flexibility; you are working from the strong foundation of an outline, but if you need to delete, add, or rephrase something at the last minute or to adapt to your audience, you can do so.

The disadvantage of extemporaneous presentations is that it in some cases it does not allow for the verbal and the nonverbal preparation that are almost always required for a good speech.

Adequate preparation cannot be achieved the day before you’re scheduled to present, so be aware that if you want to present a credibly delivered speech, you will need to practice many times. Because extemporaneous presenting is the style used in the great majority of business presentation situations, most of the information in the subsequent sections of this chapter is targeted toward this kind of speaking.

Memorized speakin g is the recitation of a written message that the speaker has committed to memory. Actors , of course, recite from memory whenever they perform from a script in a stage play, television program, or movie scene. When it comes to speeches, memorization can be useful when the message needs to be exact and the speaker doesn’t want to be confined by notes.

The advantage to memorization is that it enables the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout the speech. Being free of notes means that you can move freely around the stage and use your hands to make gestures. If your speech uses visual aids, this freedom is even more of an advantage. However, there are some real and potential costs.

First, unless you also plan and memorize every vocal cue (the subtle but meaningful variations in speech delivery, which can include the use of pitch, tone, volume, and pace), gesture, and facial expression, your presentation will be flat and uninteresting, and even the most fascinating topic will suffer. Second, if you lose your place and start trying to ad lib, the contrast in your style of delivery will alert your audience that something is wrong. More frighteningly, if you go completely blank during the presentation, it will be extremely difficult to find your place and keep going. Obviously, memorizing a typical seven-minute presentation takes a great deal of time and effort, and if you aren’t used to memorizing, it is very difficult to pull off. Realistically, you probably will not have the time necessary to give a completely memorized speech. However, if you practice adequately, your approach will still feel like you are being extemporaneous.

Rothschild, C. (2017, June 27). 2017 International Extemporaneous Speaking National Champion: Connor Rothschild Speech [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/lzoUu1fDmWE

Toastmasters International. (2013, July 3). Impromptu Speaking [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/GefKPy5YYHI

12.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery Copyright © 2022 by John Corr; Grant Coleman; Betti Sheldrick; and Scott Bunyan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Chapter 10. Designing and Delivering Presentations

In this chapter.

  • Strategies for developing professional oral presentations and designing clear, functional slides
  • Discussion of what makes presentations challenging and practical advice for becoming a more engaging and effective presenter
  • Tips for extending the concepts of high quality presentations to creating videos and posters

Presentations are one of the most visible forms of professional or technical communication you will have to do in your career.  Because of that and the nature of being put “on the spot,” presentations are often high pressure situations that make many people anxious. As with the other forms of communication described in this guide, the ability to present well is a skill that can be practiced and honed.

When we think of presentations, we typically imagine standing in front of a room (or auditorium) full of people, delivering information verbally with slides projected on a screen. Variations of that scene are common. Keep in mind, though, that the skills that make you a strong presenter in that setting are incredibly valuable in many other situations, and they are worth studying and practicing.

Effective presentation skills are the ability to use your voice confidently to communicate in “live” situations—delivering information verbally and “physically,” being able to engage your audience, and thinking on your feet. It also translates to things like videos, which are a more and more common form of communication in professional spheres.  You will have a number of opportunities during your academic career to practice your presentation skills, and it is worth it to put effort into developing these skills. They will serve you well in myriad situations beyond traditional presentations, such as interviews, meetings, networking, and public relations.

This chapter describes best practices and tips for becoming an effective presenter in the traditional sense, and also describes how best practices for presentation skills and visuals apply to creating videos and posters.

Process for Planning, Organizing, and Writing Presentations

Similar to any other piece of writing or communication, to design a successful presentation, you must follow a thoughtful writing process (see Engineering Your Writing Process ) that includes planning, drafting, and getting feedback on the presentation content, visuals, and delivery (more on that in the following section).Following is a simple and comprehensive way to approach “writing” a presentation:

Step 1: Identify and state the purpose of the presentation. Find focus by being able to clearly and simply articulate the goal of the presentation—what are you trying to achieve? This is helpful for you and your audience—you will use it in your introduction and conclusion, and it will help you draft the rest of the presentation content.

Step 2: Outline major sections. Next, break the presentation content into sections. Visualizing sections will also help you assess organization and consider transitions from one idea to the next. Plan for an introduction, main content sections that help you achieve the purpose of the presentation, and a conclusion.

Step 3: Draft content. Once you have an outline, it’s time to fill in the details and plan what you are actually going to say. Include an introduction that gives you a chance to greet the audience, state the purpose of the presentation, and provide a brief overview of the rest of the presentation (e.g. “First, we will describe the results of our study, then we’ll outline our recommendations and take your questions”). Help your audience follow the main content of the presentation by telling them as you move from one section of your outline to the next—use the structure you created to keep yourself and your audience on track.

End with a summary, restating the main ideas (purpose) from the presentation and concluding the presentation smoothly (typically thanking your audience and offering to answering any questions from your audience). Ending a presentation can be tricky, but it’s important because it will make a lasting impression with your audience—don’t neglect to plan out the conclusion carefully.

Step 4: Write presentation notes. For a more effective presentation style, write key ideas, data, and information as lists and notes (not a complete, word-for-word script). This allows you to ensure you are including all the vital information without getting stuck reading a script. Your presentation notes should allow you to look down, quickly reference important information or reminders, and then look back up at your audience.

Step 5: Design supporting visuals. Now it’s time to consider what types of visuals will best help your audience understand the information in your presentation. Typically, presentations include a title slide, an overview or advance organizer, visual support for each major content section, and a conclusion slide. Use the visuals to reinforce the organization of your presentation and help your audience see the information in new ways.

Don’t just put your notes on the slides or use visuals that will be overwhelming or distracting—your audience doesn’t need to read everything you’re saying, they need help focusing on and really understanding the most important information. See Designing Effective Visuals .

At each step of the way, assess audience and purpose and let them affect the tone and style of your presentation. What does your audience already know? What do you want them to remember or do with the information? Use the introduction and conclusion in particular to make that clear.

For in-class presentations, look at the assignment or ask the instructor to make sure you’re clear on who your audience is supposed to be. As with written assignments, you may be asked to address an imagined audience or design a presentation for a specific situation, not the real people who might be in the room.

In summary, successful presentations

  • have a stated purpose and focus;
  • are clearly organized, with a beginning, middle, and end;
  • guide the audience from one idea to the next, clearly explaining how ideas are connected and building on the previous section; and
  • provide multiple ways for the audience to absorb the most important information (aurally and visually).

Developing a Strong Presentation Style

Since presentation are delivered to the audience “live,” review and revise it as a verbal and visual presentation, not as a piece of writing. As part of the “writing” process, give yourself time to practice delivering your presentation out loud with the visuals . This might mean practicing in front of a mirror or asking someone else to listen to your presentation and give you feedback (or both!). Even if you have a solid plan for the presentation and a strong script, unexpected things will happen when you actually say the words—timing will feel different, you will find transitions that need to be smoothed out, slides will need to be moved.

More importantly, you will be better able to reach your audience if you are able to look up from your notes and really talk to them—this will take practice.

Characteristics of a Strong Presentation Style

When it comes time to practice delivery, think about what has made a presentation and a presenter more or less effective in your past experiences in the audience. What presenters impressed you? Or bored you? What types of presentation visuals keep your attention? Or are more useful?

One of the keys to an effective presentation is to keep your audience focused on what matters—the information—and avoid distracting them or losing their attention with things like overly complicated visuals, monotone delivery, or disinterested body language.

As a presenter, you must also bring your own energy and show the audience that you are interested in the topic—nothing is more boring than a bored presenter, and if your audience is bored, you will not be successful in delivering your message.

Verbal communication should be clear and easy to listen to; non-verbal communication (or body language) should be natural and not distracting to your audience. The chart below outlines qualities of both verbal and non-verbal communication that impact presentation style. Use it as a sort of “rubric” as you assess and practice your own presentation skills.

As you plan and practice a presentation, be aware of time constraints. If you are given a time limit (say, 15 minutes to deliver a presentation in class or 30 minutes for a conference presentation), respect that time limit and plan the right amount of content. As mentioned above, timing must be practiced “live”—without timing yourself, it’s difficult to know how long a presentation will actually take to deliver.

Finally, remember that presentations are “live” and you need to stay alert and flexible to deal with the unexpected:

  • Check in with your audience.  Ask questions to make sure everything is working (“Can everyone hear me ok?” or “Can you see the screen if I stand here?”) and be willing to adapt to fix any issues.
  • Don’t get so locked into a script that you can’t improvise. You might need to respond to a question, take more time to explain a concept if you see that you’re losing your audience, or move through a planned section more quickly for the sake of time. Have a plan and be able to underscore the main purpose and message of your presentation clearly, even if you end up deviating from the plan.
  • Expect technical difficulties. Presentation equipment fails all the time—the slide advancer won’t work, your laptop won’t connect to the podium, a video won’t play, etc. Obviously, you should do everything you can to avoid this by checking and planning, but if it does, stay calm, try to fix it, and be willing to adjust your plans. You might need to manually advance slides or speak louder to compensate for a faulty microphone. Also, have multiple ways to access your presentation visuals (e.g., opening Google Slides from another machine or having a flash drive).

Developing Strong Group Presentations

Group presentations come with unique challenges. You might be a confident presenter individually, but as a member of a group, you are dealing with different presentation styles and levels of comfort.

Here are some techniques and things to consider to help groups work through the planning and practicing process together:

  • Transitions and hand-off points. Be conscious of and plan for smooth transitions between group members as one person takes over the presentation from another. Awkward or abrupt transitions can become distracting for an audience, so help them shift their attention from one speaker to the next. You can acknowledge the person who is speaking next (“I’ll hand it over to Sam who will tell you about the results”) or the person who’s stepping in can acknowledge the previous speaker (“So, I will build on what you just heard and explain our findings in more detail”). Don’t spend too much time on transitions—that can also become distracting. Work to make them smooth and natural.
  • Table reads. When the presentation is outlined and written, sit around a table together and talk through the presentation—actually say what you will say during the presentation, but in a more casual way. This will help you check the real timing (keep an eye on the clock) and work through transitions and hand-off points. (Table reads are what actors do with scripts as part of the rehearsal process.)
  • Body language. Remember that you are still part of the presentation even when you’re not speaking. Consider non-verbal communication cues—pay attention to your fellow group members, don’t block the visuals, and look alert and interested.

Designing Effective Visuals

Presentation visuals (typically slides, but could be videos, props, handouts, etc.) help presenters reinforce important information by giving the audience a way to see as well as hear the message. As with all other aspects of presentations, the goal of visuals is to aid your audience’s understanding, not overwhelm or distract them. One of the most common ways visuals get distracting is by using too much text. Plan and select visuals aids carefully—don’t just put your notes on the screen, but use the visuals to reinforce important information and explain difficult concepts.

The slides below outline useful strategies for designing professional, effective presentation slides.

  • Write concise text. Minimize the amount of reading you ask your audience to do by using only meaningful keywords, essential data and information, and short phrases. Long blocks of text or full paragraphs are almost never useful.
  • Use meaningful titles. The title should reveal the purpose of the slide. Its position on the slide is highly visible—use it to make a claim or assertion, identify the specific focus of the slide, or ask a framing question.
  • Use images and graphics. Wherever possible, replace wordy descriptions with visuals. Well chosen images and graphics will add another dimension to the message you are trying to communicate. Make sure images are clear and large enough for your audience to see and understand in the context of the presentation.
  • Keep design consistent. The visual style of the slides should be cohesive. Use the same fonts, colors, borders, backgrounds for similar items (e.g., all titles should be styled the same way, all photos should have the same size and color border). This does not mean every slide needs to look identical, but they should be a recognizable set.
  • Use appropriate contrast. Pay attention to how easy it is to see elements on the screen. Whatever colors you choose, backgrounds and overlaid text need to be some version of light/dark. Avoid positioning text over a patterned or “busy” background—it is easy for the text to get lost and become unreadable. Know that what looks ok on your computer screen might not be as clear when projected.

Key Takeaway

  • Create a structure for your presentation or video that clearly supports your goal.
  • Practice effective verbal and non-verbal communication to become comfortable with your content and timing. If you are presenting as a group, practice together.
  • Use visuals that support your message without distracting your audience.

Additional Resources

Fundamentals of Engineering Technical Communications Copyright © by Leah Wahlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Is delivery important in an academic presentation?

types of presentation delivery

This is the first of three chapters about Delivery Strategies . To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Discuss the concept of academic presentations

– Explore the four most important aspects of a presentation

– Provide fourteen strategies for the successful delivery of an academic presentation

Chapter 1: Is delivery important in an academic presentation?

Chapter 2: Which 7 delivery strategies are most effective?

Chapter 3: Which 7 examples of poor delivery should I avoid?

Before you begin reading...

  • video and audio texts
  • knowledge checks and quizzes
  • skills practices, tasks and assignments

Whether you’re being assessed by your tutor, are having a job interview or are simply pitching an idea to friends, whatever your reason is for delivering a presentation there are a number of factors that can greatly improve the success of your speech and the engagement of your audience. This short three-chapters reader on delivery strategies   focuses specifically on the elements of delivery, such as voice, pace, confidence and body language , that can make or break a formal presentation. While our focus at Academic Marker might be on connecting our advice to academic contexts, in truth anyone new to giving presentations should benefit from learning about the concepts of delivery (Chapter 1), the strategies that lead to success (Chapter 2) and the pitfalls that might often lead to failure (Chapter 3).  

What is an academic presentation?

Although there might be many motivations for creating a presentation such as having a job interview or conducting a business meeting, there are four key types of presentation that students might be required to complete when involved with an academic institution such as a university:

types of presentation delivery

While not every student will encounter all of these academic presentation types, it’s highly likely that during a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree , almost all students will be required to complete at least an informal seminar-based presentation and a formal assessed presentation. With this in mind, it’s clear that effective presentation skills and strategies are highly important for students that are dedicated to receiving the most positive feedback and the highest of grades.

What are the most important aspects of a presentation?

Students may not at first realise that there are many aspects that must be considered for a presentation to be successful. In truth, few people are naturally skilled at presenting (especially not the first time), and so practice and energy must be spent in evaluating personal weaknesses and in improving upon those weaknesses wherever necessary. While each of the following categories has its own more detailed short reader, we’ve summarised these aspects for your reference below.

types of presentation delivery

  • Body Language = gestures, facial expressions, stance, posture, and the interactions between the presenter, the audience and the presentation
  • Delivery Strategies = pace, volume, pronunciation, confidence, fluency, use of notes and controlled use of humour
  • Presentation Language = the structures that are used to introduce a topic or visual aid, transition between topics, or provide examples and sources
  • Using Visual Aids = the videos, handouts, Prezis, PowerPoints, diagrams, whiteboards or posters that a presenter may use in their presentation

Because an academic presentation, particularly an assessed one, will likely be judged on all four of these aspects, it’s easy to see how delivery strategies are quite an important feature in this context. In truth, delivery is probably the most critical of all four of the above categories. Even if your body language is excellent, your PowerPoint slides are perfect and the language you select is appropriate and well-formed, if the audience cannot hear what you’re saying because you speak too quietly or cannot follow your words and content because you deliver your presentation too quickly, your performance  will not receive a positive response.

Which strategies should I remember and avoid?

Although the following fourteen tips and pitfalls are explored in much more detail in Chapters 2 and 3 respectively, we’ve introduced them briefly below so that students can have a better understanding of the overall features involved in delivering a successful academic presentation.

types of presentation delivery

Downloadables

Once you’ve completed all three chapters about delivery strategies , you might also wish to download our beginner, intermediate and advanced worksheets to test your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks .

Our delivery strategies  academic reader (including all three chapters about this topic) can be accessed here at the click of a button.

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Speechwriting

13 Presentation Aids

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In this chapter . . .

Most public speeches given today are supplemented by presentation aids. While these can be useful in providing a visual element and helping clarify speech, if used poorly they can be more distracting. In this chapter we cover both technological presentation aids such as slide shows as well as other less conventional methods.

When you perform a speech, your audience members will experience your presentation through all five of their senses: hearing, vision, smell, taste, and touch. In some speaking situations, the speaker appeals only to the sense of hearing. But the speaking event can be greatly enriched by appeals to the other senses. This is the role of presentation aids.

Presentation aids are the resources beyond the speech words and delivery that a speaker uses to enhance the message conveyed to the audience. The type of presentation aids that speakers most typically make use of are visual aids: slideshows, pictures, diagrams, charts and graphs, maps, and the like. Audible aids include musical excerpts, audio speech excerpts, and sound effects. A speaker may also use fragrance samples or food samples as olfactory (sense of smell) or gustatory (sense of taste) aids. Finally, presentation aids can be three-dimensional objects, animals, and people.

When used correctly, presentation aids can significantly improve the quality of a speech performance.

Why Use Presentation Aids

Public speakers can deploy presentation aids for many useful reasons, including to highlight important points, clarify confusing details, amuse the audience, express emotions that are impossible to convey through words alone, and much more.

Presentation Aids Support Audience Understanding

As a speaker, your most basic goal is to help your audience understand your message. Presentation aids can reduce the possibility of misunderstanding. Presentation aids do this by clarifying or emphasizing what you are saying in your speech.

Clarification is important in a speech because if some of the information you convey is unclear, your listeners will come away puzzled or possibly even misled. Presentation aids can help clarify a message if the information is complex or if the point being made is a visual one.

Clarifying is especially important when a speaker wants to help audience members understand a visual concept. For example, if a speaker is talking about the importance of petroglyphs in Native American culture, just describing the petroglyphs won’t completely help your audience to visualize what they look like. Instead, showing an example of a petroglyph, as in Figure 1.1 (“Petroglyph”) can more easily help your audience form a clear mental image of your intended meaning.

Image of petroglyphs

Another way presentation aids improve understanding is through emphasis. When you use a presentational aid for emphasis, you impress your listeners with the importance of an idea. In a speech on rising levels of CO2, you might show a chart. When you use a chart like the one in Figure 1.2 (“Global CO2 Emissions”) you give a pictorial emphasis on the changes in levels of CO2.

Global CO2

Presentation Aids Help Retention and Recall

Presentation aids can also increase the audience’s chances of remembering your speech. An image can serve as a memory aid to your listeners. Moreover, people remember information that is presented in sequential steps more easily than if that information is presented in an unorganized pattern. When you use a presentation aid to display the organization of your speech (such as can be done with PowerPoint slides), you’ll help your listeners to observe, follow, and remember the sequence of information you conveyed to them. This is why some instructors display a lecture outline for their students to follow during class and why a slide with a preview of your main points can be helpful as you move into the body of your speech.

Another advantage of using presentation aids is that they can boost your memory while you’re speaking. Using your presentation aids while you rehearse your speech will familiarize you with the association between a given place in your speech and the presentation aid that accompanies that material.

Presentation Aids Add Variety and Interest

Furthermore, presentation aids simply make your speech more interesting. For example, wouldn’t a speech on varieties of roses have greater impact if you accompanied your remarks with a picture of each rose? Similarly, if you were speaking to a group of gourmet cooks about Indian spices, you might want to provide tiny samples of spices that they could smell and taste during your speech.

Presentation Aids Enhance a Speaker’s Credibility

Even if you give a good speech, you run the risk of appearing unprofessional if your presentation aids are poorly executed. Conversely, a high-quality presentation will contribute to your professional image. This means that in addition to containing important information, your presentation aids must be clear, uncluttered, organized, and large enough for the audience to see and interpret correctly. Misspellings and poorly designed presentation aids can damage your credibility as a speaker. If you focus your efforts on producing presentation aids that contribute effectively to your meaning, that look professional, and that are managed well, your audience will appreciate your efforts and pay close attention to your message.

Types of Presentation Aids

Slideshow: When we think of public speaking presentation aids, our thoughts go first to a slideshow. Slide presentation software is the most common tool used by speakers to accompany their speeches. The most well-known one is PowerPoint, although there are several others like Prezi and Keynote. A slideshow is a presentation aid that is made up of slides that typically contain words, images, or a combination of both.

Video: A speaker may wish to show the audience a clip of a video or other moving image in their speech. This can be played stand-alone or incorporated into a slideshow.

Music or Sound: Similarly, sound and music can be used as a presentation aid, recorded or live. Similarly, a sound recording could be played stand-alone or incorporated into a slideshow.

Physical Objects: A speaker may bring in a model, or other physical object, as an aid to presentation. For example, if you were doing a speech about the importance of emotional support animals, you might bring in a dog.

People: It is possible to use a person as a presentation aid, as in the case of demonstrations.

Other Aids: Other “low-tech” presentation aids include printed handouts, whiteboards, and flipcharts.

The sections that follow will discuss each of these types in more depth.

Designing Slideshows

In many industries and businesses, there is an assumption that speakers will use presentation slideshows. They allow visualization of concepts, they are easily portable, and they can be embedded with videos and audio. You’ll probably be expected to have slide presentations in future assignments in college. Knowing how to use them, beyond the basic technology, is vital to being a proficient presenter.

But when do presentation slides become less effective? We have all sat through a presenter who committed the common error of putting far too much text on the slide. When a speaker does this, the audience is confused—do they read the text or listen to the speaker? An audience member can’t do both. Then, the speaker feels the need to read the slides rather than use PowerPoint for what it does best, visual reinforcement and clarification.

We have also seen many poorly designed PowerPoint slides, either through haste or lack of knowledge: slides where the graphics are distorted (elongated or squatty), words and graphics not balanced, text too small, words printed over photographs, garish or nauseating colors, or animated figures left up on the screen for too long and distracting the audience.

There are principles you can follow to create slides and slideshows that are effective. In addition to the rules below, Microsoft offers tips on best practices for PowerPoint slides.

Unity and Consistency

Generally, it’s best to use a single font for the text on your visuals so that they look like a unified set. Or you can use two different fonts in consistent ways, such as having all headings and titles in the same font and all bullet points in the same font. Additionally, the background should remain consistent.

Each slide should have one message, often only one photo or graphic. The audience members should know what they are supposed to look at on the slide.

Another area related to unity and consistency is the use of animation or movement. There are three types of animation in slideshows:

  • little characters or icons that have movement. These may seem like fun, but they can be distracting.
  • movement of text or objects on and off the screen. Although using this function takes up time when preparing your slides, it’s very useful. You can control what your audience sees. It also avoids bringing up all the text and material on a slide at one time.
  • slide transitions, which is the design of how the next slide appears.

Emphasis, Focal Point, and Visibility

Several points should be made about how to make sure the audience sees what they need to see on the slides.

  •  make sure the information is large enough for the audience to see. Text being at least 22-point font is best for visibility.
  • the standard rule for amount of text is that you should have no more than seven horizontal lines of text and the longest line should not exceed seven words.
  • you should also avoid too many slides. Less sometimes really is more. Again, there is no fixed rule, but a ten-minute speech probably needs fewer than ten slides.
  • Good contrast between the text and background is extremely important. Sans serif fonts such as Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana are better for reading from screens than serif fonts such as Times New Roman, or Garamond.

Fonts, color, clip art, photographs, and templates all contribute to tone, which is the attitude being conveyed in the slides. If you want a light tone, such as for a speech about cruises, some colors (springtime, pastel, cool, warm, or primary colors) and fonts (such as Comic Sans) and lots of photographs will be more appropriate. For a speech about the Holocaust, more somber colors and design elements would be more fitting, whereas clip art would not be.

Scale and Proportion

Although there are several ways to think about scale and proportion, we will discuss two here.

First, bullet points. Bullet points infer that the items in the bulleted list are equal, and the sequence doesn’t matter. If you want to communicate order, sequence, or priority, then use numbers. Bullet points should be short—not long, full sentences—but at the same time should be long enough to mean something. In a speech on spaying and neutering pets, the bullet point “pain” may be better replaced with “Pet feels little pain.”

Second, when you’re designing your slides, it’s best to choose a template and stick with it. If you input all your graphics and material and then change the template, the format of the slide will change, in some cases dramatically, and you’ll have distorted graphics and words covered up. You’ll then have to redesign each slide, which can be unnecessarily time-consuming.

Suitable Visual Images

Often, a speaker alternates text slides with slides containing visual images. Sometimes, a slideshow is made up entirely of images. Let’s look at the kinds of images you might use in a slideshow.

Charts : A chart is commonly defined as a graphical representation of data (often numerical) or a sketch representing an ordered process. Whether you create your charts or do research to find charts that already exist, it’s important for them to exactly match the specific purpose in your speech. Three common types of charts are statistical charts , sequence-of-steps chart , and decision trees . Graphs : A graph is a pictorial representation of the relationships of quantitative data using dots, lines, bars, pie slices, and the like. Common graphs speakers utilize in their speeches include line graphs, bar graphs, pie graphs, and pictographs. Diagrams: Diagrams are drawings or sketches that outline and explain the parts of an object, process, or phenomenon that can’t be readily seen. Maps : Maps are extremely useful if the information is clear and limited. There are all kinds of maps, including population, weather, ocean current, political, and economic maps. Photographs: and/or Drawings : Sometimes a photograph or a drawing is the best way to show an unfamiliar but important detail. Audiences expect high quality photographs, and as with all presentation aids, they should enhance the speech.

Using Video and/or Audio Recordings

Another particularly useful type of presentation aid is a video or audio recording. Whether it’s a short video from a website such as YouTube or Vimeo, a segment from a song, or a piece of a podcast, a well-chosen video or audio recording may be a good choice to enhance your speech.

There is one major warning to using audio and video clips during a speech: don’t forget that they are supposed to be aids to your speech, not the speech itself. Be sure to avoid these five mistakes that speakers often make when using audio and video clips:

  • Avoid choosing clips that are too long for the overall length of the speech.
  • Practice with the audio or video equipment prior to speaking. Fiddling around will not only take your audience out of your speech but also have a negative impact on your credibility. Be sure that the speakers on the computer are on and at the right volume level.
  • Cue the clip to the appropriate place prior to beginning your speech.
  • In addition to cueing up clip to the appropriate place, the browser window should be open and ready to go.
  • The audience must be given context before a video or audio clip is played, specifically what the clip is and why it relates to the speech. At the same time, the video should not repeat what you have already said but add to it.

Objects or Models

Objects refer to anything you could hold up and talk about during your speech, as in Figure 1.3. If you’re talking about the importance of not using plastic water bottles, you might hold up a plastic water bottle and a stainless-steel water bottle as examples.

types of presentation delivery

We can often use ourselves or other people to adequately demonstrate an idea during our speeches. If your speech is about ballroom dancing or ballet, you might use your body to demonstrate the basic moves in the cha-cha or the five basic ballet positions.

In some cases, such as for a demonstration speech, you might want to ask someone else to serve as your presentation aid. You should arrange ahead of time for a person (or persons) to be an effective aid—don’t assume that an audience member will volunteer on the spot. The transaction between you and your human presentation aid must be appropriate, especially if you’re going to demonstrate something like a dance step. In short, make sure your helper will know what is expected of them and consents to it.

Other Types of Presentation Aids

Dry-erase board.

Numerous speakers utilize dry-erase boards effectively. Typically, these speakers use the dry-erase board for interactive components of a speech. For example, maybe you’re giving a speech in front of a group of executives. You may have a PowerPoint all prepared, but at various points in your speech you want to get your audience’s responses.

If you ever use a chalk or dry-erase board, follow these four simple rules:

  • Write large enough so that everyone in the room can see.
  • Print legibly; don’t write in cursive script.
  • Write short phrases; don’t take time to write complete sentences.
  • Be sure you have markers that will not go dry; clean the board afterward.

A flipchart is useful for situations when you want to save what you have written for future reference or to distribute to the audience after the presentation. As with whiteboards, you’ll need good markers and readable handwriting, as well as a strong easel to keep the flipchart upright.

Handouts are appropriate for delivering information that audience members can take away with them.

  • make sure the handout is worth the trouble of making, copying, and distributing it. Does the audience really need the handout?
  • make sure to bring enough copies of the handout for each audience member to get one.
  • Stay away from providing a single copy of a handout to pass around. It’s distracting and everyone will see it at different times in the speech, which is also true about passing any object around the room.
  • If you have access to the room ahead of time, place a copy of the handout at or on each seat in the audience. If the handout is a “takeaway,” leave it on a table near the door so that those audience members who are interested can take one on their way out.

How to Perform with Presentation Aids

Just as everything else in public speaking performance, it takes practice to effectively perform a speech while seamlessly incorporating presentation aids. Below are some tips and tricks for how to include presentation aids as part of a strong speech delivery.

Speaking with a Slide Presentation

The rhythm of your slide presentation should be reasonably consistent—you would not want to display a dozen different slides in the first minute of a five-minute presentation and then display only one slide per minute for the rest of the speech.

Whether using a remote “clicker” or the attached mouse, you should connect what is on the screen to what you’re talking about at the moment. Put reminders in your notes about when you need to change slides during your speech.

A basic presentation rule is to only show your visual aid when you’re talking about it and remove it when you no longer are talking about it. If you’re using PowerPoint and if you’re not talking about something on a slide, put a black slide between slides in the presentation so that you have a blank screen for parts of the speech.

Some other practical considerations are as follows:

  • Be sure the file is saved in a format that will be “readable” on the computer where you’re presenting.
  • Any borrowed graphic must be cited on the slide where it’s used; the same would be true of borrowed textual material. Putting your sources only on the last slide is insufficient.
  • A strong temptation for speakers is to look at the projected image rather than the audience during the speech. This practice cuts down on eye contact, of course, and is distracting for the audience. Two solutions for that are to print your notes from the presentation slides and/or use the slides as your note structure. Also remember that if the image is on the computer monitor in front of you, it’s on the screen behind you.
  • Always remember—and this can’t be emphasized enough—technology works for you, not you for the technology. The presentation aids are aids, not the speech itself.
  • As mentioned before, sometimes life happens—technology does not work. It could be that the projector bulb goes out or the Internet connection is down. The show must go on.
  • If you’re using a video or audio clip from an Internet source, it’s probably best to hyperlink the URL on one of the slides rather than minimize the program and change to the Internet site.
  • Finally, it’s common for speakers to think “the slide changes, so the audience know there is a change, so I don’t need a verbal transition.” Please don’t fall into this trap. Verbal transitions are just as, and maybe more, necessary for a speech using slides.
  • Do not obscure your visual aid– practice standing to the side of your aid when rehearsing.
  • Remember to keep eye contact with the audience, even when referring to a visual aid. Certainly, never turn your back on the audience!
  • Rehearse with your visual aids. You want to have transitions between showing and hiding visual aids to be seamless, with as little filler time or distractions as possible. Practice makes perfect in this regard.
  • As will be mentioned again below: simplicity is key. Avoid anything too distracting, too complicated, anything that will take a lot of time away from your speech content. You always want aids to supplement, not supplant, your speech content and delivery.

Avoiding Problems with Presentation Aids

Presentation aids can be tricky to use, as they can easily distract from the focus of your speech: the content and your delivery. One tip to keep in mind is to use only as many presentation aids as necessary to present your message or to fulfill your classroom assignment. The number and the technical sophistication of your presentation aids should never overshadow your speech.

Another important consideration is technology. Keep your presentation aids within the limits of the working technology available to you. As the speaker, you’re responsible for arranging the things you need to make your presentation aids work as intended. Test the computer and projector setup. Have your slides on a flash drive AND send it to yourself as an attachment or upload to a Cloud service. Have an alternative plan prepared in case there is some glitch that prevents your computer-based presentation aids from being usable. And of course, you must know how to use the technology.

More important than the method of delivery is the audience’s ability to see and understand the presentation aid. It must deliver clear information, and it must not distract from the message. Avoid overly elaborate or confusing presentation aids. Instead, simplify as much as possible, emphasizing the information you want your audience to understand. Remember the acronym KISS: Keep it Simple, Speaker!

Another thing to remember is that presentation aids don’t “speak for themselves.” When you display a visual aid, you should explain what it shows, pointing out and naming the most important features.

To finish this chapter, we will recap and remind you about the principles of effective presentation aids. Whether your aid is a slide show, object, a person, or dry erase board, these standards are essential:

  • Presentation aids must be easily seen or heard by your audience.
  • Presentation aids must be portable, easily handled, and efficient.
  • Presentation aids should disappear when not in use.
  • Presentation aids should be aesthetically pleasing, which includes in good taste. Avoid shock value just for shock value.

Media Attributions

  • Petroglyphs © Jim Bouldin is licensed under a CC BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) license
  • Rise in Global CO2 Emissions, 2022 © International Energy Agency is licensed under a CC BY (Attribution) license
  • Speech with Prop © Ralf Rebmann is licensed under a CC BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) license

Public Speaking as Performance Copyright © 2023 by Mechele Leon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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COMMENTS

  1. 39 Methods of Presentation Delivery

    There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a presentation. Impromptu Speaking Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings.

  2. The 4 modes of speech delivery: an overview, plus their pros and cons

    memorized. impromptu. extemporaneous. 1. Manuscript. One of the most common ways to deliver a speech is to use a manuscript: a word by word document of everything you plan to say from beginning to end. This ensures, when you read it out loud, what you say is exactly what you intend, without deviation.

  3. 14.1 Four Methods of Delivery

    14.1 Four Methods of Delivery Learning Objectives Differentiate among the four methods of speech delivery. Understand when to use each of the four methods of speech delivery. Maryland GovPics - House of Ruth Luncheon - CC BY 2.0. The easiest approach to speech delivery is not always the best.

  4. 4 Presentation Delivery Styles You'll Want to Consider

    When it comes time to deliver your big presentation, you have at least 4 major delivery styles you can choose from: memorized, manuscript, impromptu, and extemporaneous. Each of these styles has advantages and disadvantages that you'll want to weigh when choosing which style to use. Memorized

  5. 7.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery

    There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality and memorization when giving a presentation. Impromptu Speaking Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings.

  6. 12.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery

    There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a presentation. Impromptu Speaking Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings.

  7. Methods of Speech Delivery

    Learning Objectives. Identify the four types of speech delivery methods and when to use them. There are four basic methods of speech delivery: manuscript, memorized, impromptu, and extemporaneous. We'll look at each method and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

  8. Complete Guide for Effective Presentations, with Examples

    These are the delivery techniques they consider: Keep it simple You shouldn't overwhelm your audience with information - ensure that you're clear, concise and that you get to the point so they can understand your message.

  9. Delivering Great Presentations

    If you pass over this first crucial step you risk delivering a presentation that is content rich and relevance poor. 2. Prepare Your Content. Now that you know who you are presenting to and why they are there, you can determine what to present. Here are some tips for content preparation:

  10. The 4 Methods or Types of Speech Delivery

    4 Different Types of Speech Delivery Methods. 1. Manuscript Speech or Presentation. The manuscript speech is a method of delivering a speech in which we have the information generally in writing, that will be used to drive all the presentation. If we play the speaker's role, we need to have time before the presentation starts to read the ...

  11. Chapter 32: Methods of Speech Delivery

    Chapter 32: Methods of Speech Delivery. Distinguish between four methods of speech delivery: the impromptu speech, the manuscript speech, the memorized speech, and the extemporaneous speech. List the advantages and disadvantages of the four types of speeches. Explain why an extemporaneous is the preferred delivery style when using rhetorical ...

  12. Delivery

    A Step-By-Step Approach Now that you have spent countless hours crafting the words of this speech, it is time to think about delivering the presentation to the class. There are four basic types of speech delivery: 1. Impromptu Delivery As the name implies, this is delivery with little or no preparation.

  13. Types of Speech Delivery

    The four types of speech delivery this lesson will cover are: extemporaneous speech manuscript speech memorized speech impromptu speech Where is manuscript speech delivery used?...

  14. The 8 Types of Presentation Styles: Which Category Do You Fall Into?

    1. Visual Style What it is: If you're a firm believer slides simply exist to complement your talking points, this style is for you. With this speaking style, you might need to work a little harder to get your audience engaged, but the dividends can be huge for strong public speakers, visionaries, and storytellers.

  15. The 6 types of presentation (And why you need them)

    1. Informative Presentations This is the most common type of presentation, be it in an educational setting or business or corporate setting. The aim of an informative presentation is to give detailed information about a product, concept, or idea to a specific kind of audience.

  16. 8 Types of Presentations You Should Know [+Examples & Tips]

    1. Informative presentation Ever sat through a presentation that left you feeling enlightened? That's the power of an informative presentation. This presentation style is all about sharing knowledge and shedding light on a particular topic.

  17. 9.1 Methods of Presentation Delivery

    There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a presentation. Impromptu Speaking Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings.

  18. 12 styles of presentation to use in the workplace

    Styles of presentations are the ways of delivering information clearly to different types of audiences. Presentations have different aims and objectives and involve careful planning and delivery. Professionals use different presentation styles to communicate their subject matter. These styles often vary according to the presentation's audience ...

  19. 12.2 Methods of Presentation Delivery

    There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a presentation: 12.2.1: Impromptu Speaking 12.2.2 Manuscript Presentation s 12.2.3 Extemporaneous Presentations 12.2.4 Memorized Speaking 12.2.1: Impromptu Speaking

  20. Chapter 10. Designing and Delivering Presentations

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  21. Is delivery important in an academic presentation?

    Body Language = gestures, facial expressions, stance, posture, and the interactions between the presenter, the audience and the presentation; Delivery Strategies = pace, volume, pronunciation, confidence, fluency, use of notes and controlled use of humour; Presentation Language = the structures that are used to introduce a topic or visual aid, transition between topics, or provide examples and ...

  22. 9 Presentation Aids to Use to Make Your Presentation Stand Out

    In this list, you'll find nine different types of presentation aids that you might consider using to help demonstrate your main points. 1. Charts and Graphs. Charts and graphs are a form of presentation aid used to visually compare statistics and figures.

  23. Presentation Aids

    Presentation aids are the resources beyond the speech words and delivery that a speaker uses to enhance the message conveyed to the audience. The type of presentation aids that speakers most typically make use of are visual aids: slideshows, pictures, diagrams, charts and graphs, maps, and the like. Audible aids include musical excerpts, audio ...