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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 2.10

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations can be formal or informal, depending upon their explicit and implicit purposes and the delivery situation. An oral presentation can be almost any report type, such as a design review, a proposal, or a conference talk. Whatever the specific type, however, an effective oral presentation is carefully planned with your objectives in mind and pays close attention to the demands of your audience.

Oral presentations differ significantly from written documents in several ways.

Written Documents Oral Presentations
Publication permits potentially unlimited audience over time and place. Audience generally limited to time and place of delivery.
No direct audience interaction. High level of audience interaction is possible.
Refined argumentative structure. Simple presentation of main points.
Large volume of detailed information can be communicated. Limited information transfer.
Precise syntax and diction. Conversational syntax and diction.
Emphasis on text. Emphasis on visuals.
Reader controls pace of presentation. Speaker controls pace of presentation.

Effective oral communication is a combination of many skills: outlining and planning, preparing overheads or other display media, rehearsing and delivery.

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