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Oral Communication Center - Resources

OCC Resources

What can we offer you? 

Free, one-on-one consultations on presentations. Our staff will work with you at any stage of the process (brainstorming, outlining, editing, delivery and more) and on all types of oral communication (presentations, class discussion or debate, group presentations, interviews, etc.). Just schedule an appointment and come prepared to create a great presentation.

Creating Your Presentation

Let's take a look at the speech writing process. 

Speech writing takes a great deal of work. If you think about approaching the process in stages it will be less intimidating. The following is an outline of the steps of speech writing.

Step 1:

Find the right topic. Consider your interests and, more importantly, the audience's interests. Also consider speech expectations (assignment or informal expectations). At this stage, do some brainstorming and initial research to get some ideas.

Here is some brainstorming advice from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Writing Center.

Advice for giving an informative speech.

Step 2:

Narrow down your topic. Given time limitations and audience attention span, you'll need to narrow down what you will discuss in the presentation. Think about what topics/information will best connect with your audience.

Step 3:

Find support materials. Now is the time to dig into your research and find some interesting facts and arguments to include in the presentation. Again, let your audience be your guide. What will they find most interesting/compelling? 

Advice on audience analysis. 

Advice on citing sources.

Step 4:

Plan your speech. Now that you have some support, start thinking about ways to pull it all together. Consider the basic components of a speech, organization options and visual aid options. 

Advice on introductions and conclusions. 

Advice on using transitions. 

Advice on using PowerPoint.

Step 5:

Outline your speech. This is a critical step and one that is often overlooked by speakers. Now that you have sketched out a plan for the presentation, create a formal outline based on that plan. The writing process will aid in memory and will give you something to work with as you edit and refine the presentation. 

Advice on a basic outline. 

Advice from the Purdue Online Writing Lab on outlining.

Step 6:

Edit your speech just as you would with drafts of a paper -- go through and refine your speech outline, thinking about clarity, language, organization, audience adaptation and time limits.

Step 7:

Practice the presentation several times. Give yourself time to talk through the speech on your own and in front of an audience (friend, roommate, Speaking Center tutor, etc.). 

Advice on practicing. 

Advice on delivery (general) and extemporaneous speaking (specifically). 

Advice on self evaluation of your speech.

Step 8:

Present the speech. It's the big day and you are a little nervous. That's normal. Think of the last few tips that might be helpful. 

Advice on speech anxiety.

Need help with any of these steps? Set up an appointment with a Speaking Center tutor.

Good luck with the speech writing process!

Basic Speaking Advice
Advanced Speaking Advice
Faculty Resources

What do we provide for you? 

See all of your options below.

Schedule a Class Visit or Center Tour 

We can come in for 10-15 minutes and give a general introduction to the Speaking Center or we can come for an entire class and give a more general talk about effective presentation skills. You can also schedule tours of the Speaking Center. To schedule a class visit or tour, please email ssdurham@nvcc.edu. You can also contact the Oral Communication Center Director, Shaunda Durham, at ext. 25091. Our schedule is limited, so please send your requests as early as possible.

Guides for Faculty

Information about designing and grading oral assignments:

Design & Grade Oral Assignments (PDF)

Incorporate Oral Assignments Into Your Class (PDF)

Grading Oral Presentations (PDF)

Using Debate Assignments (PDF)

Using Oral Assignments in Large Classes (PDF)

Teaching With Pecha Kucha (PDF)

Rubrics and Critique Sheets

Oral Communication Rubric (PDF Version) (Editable Word Version)

Adapted Rubric (PDF Version) (Editable Word Version)

Discussion Rubric (PDF Version) (Editable Word Version)

Speech Critique (PDF Version) (Editable Word Version)

Group Presentation Critique (PDF Version) (Editable Word Version)

Interview Rubric (Word)

Speech Feedback form used in Speaking Center (Word)

PRCA-24: An assessment tool to use for communication apprehension.