How to Prepare for an Oral Report

Two Parts:What Do You Know About Your Topic?Putting the Presentation Together

Spending long hours working on an oral report can be tedious. You have to research for accuracy, plan the layout, memorize what you are going to say. Knowing that you're going about the preparation in a fruitful way can help make the exercise seem more worthwhile.

Part 1
What Do You Know About Your Topic?

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    Research your topic. If your topic initially seems quite boring, it means that you have taken a fairly superficial approach to it. There is always a story behind every topic and there are always things to discover that you didn't know. Look for the unusual, the untold and the unknown behind even the most commonplace and well known of topics. Plan to bedazzle your classmates with interesting facts that they didn't know.
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    Search online and in books. Don't presume that all there is to know is available on the internet. A lot of it is yet to make it online, and much of what is online is often opinion rather than fact. So get down to the library, haul out some good books and learn different angles and greater details than simple web trawling will return.
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    Ask other people for their experience and ideas. Some topics will be perfect for you to do real world research on. Family, friends, local businesses, professionals and experts are good people to ask questions of. Note the time and date of your interviews with them and keep a written record of the key points so that you can reference these if classmates or the teacher ask. Oral evidence of your topic can often be the most engaging, as it comes from people who know the subject-matter well and can bring to light real life examples. Practical examples that relate to real life can help everyone to learn better.

Part 2
Putting the Presentation Together

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    Take notes. Don't be afraid to jot down details.
    • Make your writing interesting. Be sure to use better words than the standard and obvious "nice" or "big." Rather opt for words such as "gigantic" or "fantastic."
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    Add a little something to your oral report. Perhaps add pictures or make a life size model from the topic. Drawing a time line, especially if it's a history report, can also work well to help others visualize the period or occasion to which you're referring.
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    Use layout to your advantage. Put the report together in such a way that you can find the information with ease, keep your place and learn as much of the material by heart as possible.
    • Make bullet points. These are easier to memorize and read from quickly.
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    Look over and review your written report. Add details where needed and exchange words with those that would fit the report better. If you have made statements that are bold or controversial, do you have sound references to back them up? Make sure that you have easy access to these.
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    Practice the report before giving it. Look at yourself in the mirror and talk as if you're in front of people. Make sure that you're not leaning or fumbling around when you talk. With a bit more practice, you will be able to ace that report and look good at the same time
    • Don't try to say your oral word for word; this will make you nervous and queasy if you try to remember everything word for word. It can also look a bit over-the-top unless you are engaging in your delivery; avoid simply reciting something learned off-by-heart.
    • Tell the story; it doesn't have to be said exactly the way you wrote it––you just need to tell the story. That said, your oral presentation should reflect some of the things you wrote in the report.


  • Ask your crowd if they have any questions, and always be prepared to answer them. If you don't know something, say so and ask the audience if anyone does have the answer or an idea about it. Don't be afraid to draw in the crowd rather than avoid it.
  • Make your visual aid colorful and eye- catching. However, do not let the color take away from the power of your presentation, as it is made to aid your project, not dominate it.
  • Enthusiasm is good; false excitement is cheesy. Look for the right balance.


  • When you take notes, be absolutely sure that you aren't plagiarizing, copying word for word as written. Reference everything that you have taken from another source, including someone else's line of reasoning.
  • Keep the speech short and to the point. Long drawn out reports are considered boring and risk losing you marks or positive reactions.

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