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In an oral or video presentation, you’re usually combining visual and spoken messages. When you create presentation slides:

  • Decide what you will show on the slides
  • Plan what you will say
  • Make consistent and careful choices about fonts, colours and other design choices (see design tips below)

Visual & spoken messages

Example visual message: what you show

Visual message

Remember to follow APA and copyright rules for using images and other materials.

Example spoken message: what you say

Spoken message

It’s better to use a combination of visual graphics and spoken words and not to read aloud written text. Think about how the slides can enhance or add meaning to your spoken words.

Video (1:43)

Create meanings in your presentations:

  • Visually, by what you show, and
  • Verbally, by what you say

Related workshops

When you prepare your presentation slides, you have lots of design choices.

Example slide: Fonts, images & white space

In the above example slide, only one font and text colour is used, the image connects with the topic, and there’s lots of white space. Being consistent and sparing with your choices helps you communicate your message clearly.

Example slide: Fonts, colours & alignment

Image of slide featuring text: Use fonts no smaller than 20pts otherwise the text is too hard to read; Avoid light on light or dark on dark; Align text otherwise it can be annoying or confusing to read; show key words in bold.

The above slide shows good and bad examples of text choices. Larger font sizes, making text clearly contrasted from the background, consistent alignment, and sparing use of bold can all help you make your message clear.

Video (1:32)

Principles to follow when choosing fonts, colours and images.

When you give a presentation, your voice can sound great if you:

  • Use a conversational tone
  • Sound friendly and enthusiastic

You can sound friendly and enthusiastic by stressing the most important words in your message.

Image of two sentences of text with words and parts of words to verbally emphasize highlighted in bold.

In the above example of words spoken in a presentation, you might stress the bold words/syllables if they contain important details. You would say those words/syllables louder, longer and higher. You might also stress words/phrases if they contain new information (as shown in the red boxes).

If you’re preparing for an oral presentation, or recording a video, practise it:

  • Speak aloud while standing up
  • Speak at your normal pace
  • Record yourself and play it back
  • Listen for your friendly and enthusiastic tone
  • Breathe out air as you speak

Video (3:13)

Listen to examples of how to stress important words and syllables.

Please check your assignment instructions and the expectations of the School in which you are studying for specific guidelines about what to do for using visual sources in presentations.

The main thing is to differentiate between visual materials that you have personally created and those which come from others.

Example of using another person’s image on a slide

When you create slides, you can identify the image source by:

  1. using a caption number and title
  2. including small text under the caption that specifies the name of the image creator and the hyperlink to the page in which the image was found
  3. including the Creative Commons Licence (if available) which specifies how others may use the image

Using another person's image in a slide

Example of including an image in an oral presentation reference list

The last slide/s of the oral presentation should include a reference list which contains the full details of any images that were used (as well as other sources types).

Including an image in an oral presentation reference list

Example of using your own image

If you create your own image for your oral presentation, you can just use a caption number and heading. Without further details, it is assumed that the image has been created by you.

Using your own image in a slide

Example of adapting an image

You can make clear that you have adapted an image (changed the original version in some way) by:

  1. including your own name under the caption
  2. using the wording ‘adapted from’ + a hyperlink to the original source
  3. including the Creative Commons Licence (if available) which specifies how others may use the image

Adapting an image

Useful links

Presentations typically have a:

  1. Warm greeting
  2. Memorable opening
  3. Clear introduction
  4. Organised body
  5. Succinct closing/introduction

The body needs to be carefully organised:

Organised presentation

The number of points you include depends on the total talk time. Use content from your readings for the details and examples.

Sentence starters for oral presentations (PDF)

Video (1:40)

Strategies for planning your presentation:

  • Organising the content
  • Starting with a memorable opening
  • Shifting between points
  • Closing succinctly

Writing a script for your video presentation:

  • Helps you to choose your words carefully as you explain the main points on your presentation slides
  • Keeps what you say tight and focused

Example presentation script

Script example

In the above example script, hash (#) symbols show when to click to the next slide, animation or image. You can time each click at the exact moment that you start to say a new point or show an image. You can also mark where to leave short pauses (like the two second one above). Doing this will give your listener time to understand what you’ve said.

Edit your script before you record the finished video. Try some practice recordings, and read your script aloud to help you decide which words you can remove or change.

Video (2:11)

Strategies for writing a video presentation script.

You have a number of choices for which presentation software to use. AUT students have access to LinkedIn Learning, which has video tutorials on a lot of software, including for presentations.


Other presentation software: