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English as a Second Language (ESL)

Organizing Your Presentation

1. The introduction:
Though this is the first part of your presentation, it is planned and written last. Why? You need to plan the presentation and supporting details before you can introduce them.

In your introduction you should:

  • Get the attention of the audience.
  • This is the first impression the audience has of you so prepare it carefully. Introduce yourself and then the topic.
  • Some good techniques to use are:
    » a startling statement or statistic
    » a story, a question, a quotation, and humor
  • State the thesis or main point so that the audience knows exactly what you are going to talk about.
  • Preview the main supporting points so that your presentation will be easy to understand.

2. Main point: This is what your presentation is about.

  • Think about what you want to tell your audience.
  • Decide on your point of view or concept.
  • Emphasize the main point by:
    » using different tones or pitches of your voice (softer, louder, lower)
    » changing the rate of your speech (slow down or pause)
    » listing and/or numbering points (first, second, third, finally)

3. Supporting points: These are the examples, details, explanations or definitions that you use to give more information about your main point.

  • These supporting points can also be visuals.
  • Use descriptive language that appeals to the senses of smell, sight, sound, touch or taste. This makes the presentation more interesting for you and the audience.

4. The conclusion: This is the last thing your audience will hear. It is the last impression you will make. You want them to have a positive impression.

  • Use the conclusion to review and restate the main points.
  • Develop a concluding attention-getter like a story, personal experience, or other example.
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