• Course Introduction

        • Time: 22 hours
        • Free Certificate
        Your employer will likely ask you to present your ideas and knowledge, whether to make a sales pitch, offer your point of view, or present an award to a colleague. Most oral presentations, whether delivered face-to-face or online, follow specific protocols. In this course, you will practice your skills to become a more proficient, confident presenter, both face-to-face and online.

        This course has two parts. First, we explore the elements of communication and what they mean. We study how to analyze an audience to develop a clear, appropriate, and effective presentation that informs, persuades, or entertains. We discuss how to deliver a presentation with expertise, organize presentation materials, offer relevant supporting evidence, and include references to establish credibility and authority. We will also explain how to tailor your speech for your audience with compelling presentation aids.

        Next, we explore how to deliver an oral presentation that incorporates appropriate language and effective delivery techniques. We discuss how to use proper tone, volume, rate, and modulation of voice, body language, eye contact, and other forms of nonverbal communication. We also discuss how to present online and explore strategies for managing public speaking anxiety and planning for the unexpected.

        First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me in this course". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

      • Unit 1: The Elements of Communication

        We begin by exploring several components of communication and the factors that set oral presentations apart from other forms of content delivery. Understanding how these elements work together will paint a picture of what happens when we give a presentation.

        Scholars think about our communications as processes where senders and receivers interact. We exchange messages with each other simultaneously, and participants constantly adapt their message based on their interpretations of contextual stimuli. In other words, we communicate with other people at the same time that they communicate with us, and we modify what we say and do based on what we see or hear from others.

        In this unit, we apply this one-to-one person communication model to public contexts. The interaction happens simultaneously, and the setting of a presentation will determine how each participant reacts.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

      • Unit 2: Analyze Your Audience

        Audience analysis provides context and is the foundation for speaking effectively and appropriately to any audience. In this unit, we explore what audience analysis is, some methods for analyzing an audience, and how the language we choose affects our communication.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

      • Unit 3: Making Your Presentation Relevant

        In this unit, we explore how to research and write the content to include in your presentation. First, you need to identify a topic. You will want to answer a few questions to determine whether the topic is right for you. Is it relevant to you? Is it relevant to your audience? Is it relevant to the time and place you will deliver your presentation?

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

      • Unit 4: Structuring Your Presentation

        Now that you have a topic and have considered how to make it relevant to your audience, you need to choose the content for your presentation. Here, we will explore how to create an outline of your presentation to identify and clarify your central message with supporting points. We will also explore how to select an appropriate speech pattern to organize your presentation's main points.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

      • Unit 5: Providing Supporting Content

        By now, you should have nearly completed the outline for your presentation based on what you already know and your preliminary research. In Unit 5, we take a deep dive into how to create appropriate supporting material for your presentation that will convince your audience that you are credible. Then, we examine the most widely-accepted ways to cite your sources.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

      • Unit 6: Creating Your Presentation Aids

        Now that you have outlined the content you want to convey, you are ready to begin developing the materials you will use to support your presentation. Your presentation aids include everything from yourself (your clothing or a physical demonstration) to flip charts, handouts, models, illustrations, audio or video clips, and more common slideshow presentations like PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi.

        Your written and visual content should reinforce and enhance your spoken message by adding something beyond what you state directly. The key to designing successful presentation aids is to give your audience another way to access your content. The design should be simple and clear, and it should use space, color, fonts, and media in ways that help explain your message without being overwhelming or distracting.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

      • Unit 7: Delivering Your Presentation

        You know your audience, have researched your topic, outlined your presentation, and created your presentation aid. The next step is to give your presentation. In this unit, we explore how to incorporate the fundamentals of an oral presentation: tone, volume, rate, voice modulation, body language, eye contact, and other forms of nonverbal communication.

        We begin this unit by watching some presenters with exceptional speaking skills to study their delivery style. Then we explore how you can use vocal and nonverbal communication techniques to improve a presentation.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

      • Unit 8: Categories of Presentation Delivery

        Scholars categorize four methods for delivering a message: impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, and memorized. The event will usually determine the format you should use. As we discussed in the previous unit, your goal is to sound conversational regardless of the delivery method you use. After you study these descriptions, you will notice that this course focuses on extemporaneous and impromptu speeches.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

      • Unit 9: Speaking to an Online Audience

        You may be asked to deliver a presentation online, which can take on various forms. However, online presentations contain most, if not all, of the elements of presenting that we have studied so far. Your presentation aids should be the same regardless of the delivery method. You should incorporate the same elements of presentation style we have discussed throughout this course. The particular format of your delivery largely depends on the technology your audience has available.

        In this unit, we examine some common online environments and technical guidelines you should follow to ensure a smooth and professional delivery online.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

      • Unit 10: Using Your Presentation Aids

        In unit 6, we discussed how to create or prepare your presentation aids. In this unit, we explore how to use them during your actual presentation. Using your presentation aids successfully involves revealing each slide when it is germane, integrating the material into your speech, concealing your presentation aid as soon as you finish discussing it, and moving on. Do not read your presentation aid verbatim. Be prepared if the technology fails. These rules apply to face-to-face and online presentations.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

      • Unit 11: Overcoming Anxiety and Uncertainty

        The unpredictable nature of live real-time presentations causes most of us to feel some apprehension before speaking in public. One factor in managing public speaking anxiety is becoming familiar with our responses (physical and psychological) to speaking in public and developing strategies for managing that anxiety. Another important part of managing public speaking anxiety is learning how to control the unexpected things that commonly occur. In this unit, we examine outside factors that affect presentations, such as the audience, question and answer sessions, the location and time, and last-minute changes. This way, we can develop contingency plans to respond appropriately.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

      • Course Feedback Survey

        Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

        If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org or post in our discussion forum.

      • Certificate Final Exam

        Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

        To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

        Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.