Annotations

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Realistic context. In a technical-writing course, your audience is obviously the instructor and fellow students. However, if your instructor agrees you can establish a realistic context as is done here. Explain the audience and situation to the class before beginning your oral report. Ask students in the class to imagine they are that audience and listen to and evaluate your report accordingly.

Introduction. The start of an oral report is essential. Notice what this speaker does:

Notice finally the overall energetic, cheerful tone of her script—she knows she has a tough audience!

Verbal headings. In an oral presentation, make it abundantly clear when you are moving from major section to the next and what the purpose or topic is of each new section is. Scroll through the script of this oral report to see all the transitions. Notice the strong transition it provides: it announces the upcoming topic ("how your computer keeps time") and the topic following ("testing"). Notice how each section follows a careful pattern¾here's the next step; here's what well do and why; here's how to do it; here's what the results mean.

Humor. Notice how this speaker injects humor into her presentation along with reassurances to her listeners this presentation will not be over their heads.

Reassurance. Notice how this presenter provides reassurance occasionally. Notice how direct and personal this speaker is with her listeners—lots "you," a little humor with out becoming obnoxous, and simple language.

Handouts. Notice this reference to a handout. Listeners don't have to remember all this or take notes. The speaker has provided a handout with the details.

Tone. Once again notice how perky, direct, and personal this oral presentation is. The speaker is constantly checking her listeners to see if they have "zoned out" and are not comprehending.

Visuals. Notice how the speaker refers to her visuals and explains things about them. Don't just display visuals without talking about them.

Transitions. Notice the use of strong transitions here as well as throughout. Because listeners cannot go back and re-listen the way readers can go back and re-read, you must keep them fully oriented in your oral report. Ensure they know where they have been and where they are going (in your report, that is).

Thanks to Julie Brady, former Kennesaw State University technical-writing student for this oral report and permission to adapt it here.

That completes the comments for this example.