Effective Speechmaking and Presentations

Public speaking can be daunting, but sufficient preparation can reduce the stress of speaking in front of people. One of the most important things to remember in a speech is to make sure that the message you want to give the audience, is the message they are receiving.

A strong presentation is made up of two main factors: confidence and clarity of message. In order to achieve these two things, there are a few steps you need to make sure you follow.


  1. Select your topic and brainstorm what you already know about the topic.
  2. Develop a rough outline of what you might include – this can come from the assessment guidelines, or any key points your lecturer has told you to include. You can use a mind map to show connections between your key points.
  3. Research your topic. Wide reading is essential in this planning phase; gather enough material. This will help you focus your research in the preparation phase
  4. Compose a sentence that states your overall purpose of the speech. Work closely with this sentence, and the brief or question you are responding to.



  1. Organise your research into your draft outline. Keep the time limit in mind, and make any cuts of redundant or irrelevant information
  2. Write a draft of your speech. Remember a speech should still have an introduction, body (or main sections) and conclusion. Writing your speech out is especially a good idea if you are using difficult vocabulary that you might be finding difficult to remember.
  3. Summarise your written speech into concise notes. These will eventually become your cue cards. Remember to number your cue cards in the order you are presenting your key points.
  4. Use dot points for your notes, as anything written in sentences will encourage you to read, especially if you are nervous.
  5. Prepare any visuals that you are going to use to support your presentation. Remember visual aids are exactly that, aids. They should be simple and effective in supporting whatever you are saying at the time.



  1. Practice presenting your speech in front of a mirror, or do an audio recording for yourself, and if you have enough courage, ask a trusted friend or family member to watch you.
  2. Ask for constructive feedback. Any feedback in this phase is encouraged. Ask your audience (family, friends, and colleagues) for feedback about your volume, gestures, speed of delivery, and even the clarity of your message.



  1. Arrive to class early. If you have access to the room and there is time, practice standing at the front to get your feel for the room and space. Also, make sure any technology that you are using in the presentation is working and ready to go
  2. Have numberd cue cards ready to go (and in order!!)
  3. Have fun! You’ve worked hard to get to this point, so enjoy having everyone’s attention.


Speechmaking / Presentation Checklist

  • Do you have a clear structure?

  • Have you got a clear and engaging opening to your presentation?

  • Is the tone of the presentation right for the audience you are presenting to?

  • Are your cue cards made up of dot points and keywords?