This article outlines a strategy of developing two different outlines for any presentation – one a detailed written outline to ensure your thoughts are complete and a second one just outlining key points in order to liberate your delivery and avoid a simple reading of a prepared text.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Any subject area which requires students to make oral presentations to a group.

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the things I should key on when preparing and making a presentation?

New Terminology:

Moments of reflection

Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity


Students are often required to make verbal presentations to their peers. In preparing for these presentations the tendency is to focus on the details and facts that are necessary for a complete presentation. Frequently, the students fail to consider the delivery of the material and end up simply regurgitating a written script which often proves boring and lacking in impact. This article stresses the need for the written script to ensure logic and completeness but it also recognizes that a speaking outline needs to be prepared and used. This speaking outline contains only key ideas and phrases and allows the presenter to deliver the material with personality while focusing on the audience rather than a written text. This lesson will expose the students to this concept of developing and using the second script.


  • Begin the lesson by pairing up the students.
  • Once in pairs, ask the pairs to think of student presentations they have seen (or indeed have made) that were memorable for being either very good or very poor.
  • Have them list the reasons why those presentations were remarkable for either their strength or weakness. Stress with them that in preparing their answers they are to avoid mentioning anything that would identify the presenter.
  • Once they have completed their task, have the pairs report to the class.
  • As they report, compile a list of factors that made the presentations very good and a list of factors which caused the presentations to be weak.


  • Once this has been completed, have the pairs reflect on what has been presented and discuss what they would do differently now in preparing and making future presentations.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • The students will recognize the importance of a speaking outline and the need to interact with the audience and monitor their non-verbal feedback during the presentation.

Confirming Activity:

  • Provide the students with a copy of the article and have them read it and respond to what they have just read.