What Is the Purpose of an Oral Presentation?

by Ginny Putscher ; Updated September 26, 2017
Businessman giving presentation, rear view

The main purpose of an oral presentation is to present subject content in an organized, concise and effective manner to a live audience. When delivering an oral presentation, certain challenges require ingenious techniques to engage into an impromptu interaction with the audience members. Planning, writing and completing are three key elements in any oral presentation process.

Presentation Planning

businessman using a laptop in an office

Planning a presentation is similar to planning a business communiqué. It requires careful analysis and research. The content and style of an oral presentation control the intent. Straightforward statements of information are best. The typical reasons for giving a presentation are to inform, persuade, motivate and entertain. You need to capture your audience's attention and maintain their interest thorough the entire oral presentation by defining the purpose clearly.

Writing a Presentation

Business meeting

When beginning to organize your oral presentation, here are five fundamentals to put into action.

1) Focus on your audience as you define the main concept. What is the one piece of information you want your audience to remember about your presentation? 2) Tailor the scope. Present the material in the time allotted. 3) Select your approach. Use simplicity in delivering your presentation. 4) Prepare an outline. The outline is a prepared script, helping you to keep the presentation audience-centered and within the allotted time. 5) Determine the most effective style of your presentation. For instance, choose a casual style when speaking to a small group, and encourage discussion. When speaking to a large audience, establish a more formal atmosphere.

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Oral Presentation Opportunities and Attention Getters

Businessman delivering presentation to executives in boardroom

Making an oral presentation before a group offers many opportunities. Once you have communicated your information, instant audience feedback presents itself. A chance to adjust the content and delivery of your message based on the audience's feedback and non-verbal reinforcement are cues to express and emphasize what is important. When making an oral presentation, attention-getter opportunities, which gain and maintain attention, are possible. Using humor that is not offensive to your audience and is relevant to your subject matter is appropriate. Tell an interesting story that relates to your presentation, illustrating an important point. If you are presenting a new candy mint, offer everyone a taste and appeal to your audience through their senses. Ask your audience questions; this activity will involve your audience and will give you information about them and their needs. Wake your audience up by stating a startling statistic.

Oral Presentation Challenges

Businesswoman presenting by projection screen, low angle view

When giving oral presentations, certain challenges are inevitable. As you compose your presentation, strategize on how you will confront these challenges. For instance, maintain control; the more interaction with your audience, the less control you will have. Help the audience understand what you want them to learn from your presentation. Shift topics smoothly; a comment from the audience may force you to shift topics, so when composing your presentation, try to anticipate and prepare for a possible move of this sort.

Completing a Presentation

Business Executives Listening to a CEO Give a Presentation in a Conference Room

When completing your oral presentation, evaluate your message, and edit your remarks for conciseness and effectiveness. Consider using visual aids, which can improve the impact of your oral presentation. The visual aids can illustrate points that are hard to explain and give the audience the ability to understand and remember important information. Visual aids can also help the speaker remember details about the material he is presenting. Lastly, the art of delivery is crucial; prepare through practice.


  • Communications for Business and the Professions, Courtland Bovee and John Thill, 2006

About the Author

Ginny Putscher, a 25-year information technology veteran, has worked with both private industry and federal government. Putscher’s experiences included traveling and working in many foreign countries, such as Egypt, El Salvador, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal. She received her B.A. in database development from Strayer University. Her first online writing experience was with eHow then with Examiner.com.

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