Curriculum Guideline

Oral Presentations

Effective Date:
Course Code
CMNS 1125
Oral Presentations
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course emphasizes learning through doing. Students work together in small groups to examine and apply course concepts and they speak every class, beginning in the first session: Early speaking efforts, however, are not formally evaluated. Part of each class is given over to workshop practice of verbal, vocal and non-verbal speech delivery skills.  Students speak both extemporaneously and in an impromptu manner, serve as chairperson on speech occasions, and evaluate their own and their classmates' presentations using specific criteria developed in the course. They are expected to be familiar with the course text.

Course Description
This highly interactive course presents the foundational skills and knowledge that students need to prepare and deliver effective oral presentations. Students examine basic speech communications theory, practice vocal, verbal, and non verbal speech delivery skills, and gain knowledge of expository and persuasive organizing patterns. They experiment with appropriate physical and electronic visual aids to complement their presentation, and become familiar with a variety of special occasion speech formats. A workshop approach is taken, and learning activities are oriented toward small groups. Students must be competent in articulating and enunciating spoken English.
Course Content
  1. What Do We Need To Know And Do About Speech Anxiety?
    • causes of speech anxiety
    • positive and negative effects of speech anxiety
    • methods for managing speech anxiety
  2. What Theories Equip Us to Develop and Deliver an Effective Oral Presentation?
    • uncertainty reduction theory
    • anxiety and uncertainty management theory
    • social judgement theory
  3. How Does Audience Analysis Help Us Prepare an Effective Presentation?
    • the importance of audience analysis
    • methods for gathering information about the audience
    • assessing audience demographics, expectations, knowledge, and attitudes
    • adapting the speech to audience interest and needs
  4. How Does Listening Prepare Us to Offer Effective Feedback to Speakers?
    • active listening skills as a means to identify speech strengths and challenges
    • organizing and articulating specific feedback
    • reducing speaker resistance and defensiveness
  5. What Are Some Foundations of Speech Composition?
    • selecting and narrowing a topic
    • finding relevant information
    • developing the central idea of the speech
    • organizing the speech
      • introduction
      • main points
      • support materials
      • transitions
      • conclusions
    • developing an effective outline
  6. What Are Some Methods of Organizing Speech Content?
    • informative speeches
      • kinds of informative speeches
      • coherence patterns for organizing informative speeches
    • persuasive speeches
      • basic elements of persuasion
      • coherence patterns for organizing persuasive presentations
      • special considerations
    • special occasion speeches
      • speech of introduction
      • speech of tribute
      • speech of acceptance
    • speech forms in contemporary use
  7. What Are Some Elements of Effective Speech Delivery?
    • non verbal oral presentation skills
    • vocal characteristics and oral presentations
    • verbal speech communication skills
    • experimenting with and maximizing speech delivery skills
  8. How Do Speaking Prompts Enhance Speech Delivery?
    • kinds, benefits, and pitfalls of speech prompts
      • brief or elaborate cue cards
      • speaking notes
    • preparing effective speech prompts
    • maximizing the benefits of speech prompts
  9. How Do Basic Presentation Aids Enhance Speech Delivery?
    • purpose and selection of presentation aids
    • kinds of basic presentation aids
    • methods for using presentation aids
    • selection and use of slide display technologies
    • cautions
Learning Outcomes

Overarching goal:

By the end of the course, successful students are better equipped to prepare and deliver effective oral presentations in a variety of contexts.


By the end of the course, successful students are able to:

  • explain the causes and effects of speech anxiety
  • describe the relationship between and among speech anxiety, uncertainty, and ambiguity
  • articulate the purpose, benefits, and methods of audience analysis
  • describe a variety of coherence patterns for informative, persuasive and special occasion speeches
  • explain the elements of persuasion as they apply to public speaking
  • elaborate on the verbal, vocal, and non verbal elements of speech delivery
  • give details of the ingredients of effective presentation aids.


By the end of the course, successful students are able to:

  • develop a personal strategy for effectively managing speech anxiety
  • consider and integrate audience interest, needs, and knowledge when preparing a speech
  • listen critically to other speakers
  • constructively evaluate other students’ speeches
  • deliver effective impromptu speeches on assigned topics
  • effectively organize extemporaneous speeches using outlines and cue cards
  • effectively employ a variety of verbal, vocal, and non verbal techniques in speech delivery
  • use appropriate informative or persuasive strategies in their speeches
  • select or design and integrate appropriate and effective physical and electronic presentation aids
  • prepare and deliver effective special occasion speeches.


By the end of the course, successful students gain greater appreciation for:

  • the motivating effects of speech anxiety
  • the importance of adequate speech preparation and practice
  • the benefits and pitfalls of their preferred oral presentation style
  • the importance of ethical and professional public speaking behaviour.


Means of Assessment

Students will be assessed using a variety of methods such as those listed below.

Quizzes 10%
Written Audience Analysis Assignment 10%
Oral Presentations (including other Impromptu and extemporaneous speeches with presentation aids) 60%
Self and Peer Evaluations 10%
Attendance, Participation, Professional Conduct, and Ungraded Assignments 10%
TOTAL 100%
Textbook Materials

A course textbook, in current edition, such as one of the following will be selected for the course.  Wherever possible a Canadian edition will be chosen. 

  • Gregory, H. Public Speaking for College and Career. New York: McGraw Hill.
  • Lucas, S., Wattam, J. and Simeon, L. The Art of Public Speaking. New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
  • O'Hair, D., Stewart, R. and Rubinstein, H. A Speaker's Guidebook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
  • O'Hair, D.,; Rubenstein, H.; and Stewart, R. A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking. Boston:  Bedford/St. Martin's.