Oral Presentation Skills for PhD
Desmond Thomas,
University of Essex
Aims of workshop
• To raise awareness of specific skills and
strategies needed to deliver effective oral
presentations (in general)
• To discuss how developing OPS can contribute
to the success of a research project.
• To identify key elements in a “research in
progress” presentation
• To consider strategies for dealing with questions
after a presentation
What are the features of a good
oral presentations ?
• Content of presentation
• Structure? Organization?
• Communication Skills
• Language (eg pronunciation,
suitable style etc)
Points to note: Obama video
• Big difference between talking to an
audience and talking to camera
• Amount of preparation time possible
• Signposting – not just through words but
through pauses, stress, intonation
• Frequent use of deliberate repetition
• Importance of speed of delivery
• Importance of body language
The role of oral presentations in helping
your research project to progress
• Clarify your thinking in two ways – by the very
act of having to structure your thoughts and as a
result of listener feedback.
• Produce ideas that can feed back into writing
and can suggest new avenues to explore in your
• An integral part of a researcher’s experience:
upgrading interviews, final PhD viva, presenting
at conferences, delivering lectures etc etc
• Any other?
Plan a “research in progress” presentation
• What elements will you need to include?
Research topic/draft title
Reasons for choosing topic
Research questions and claims
Research methodology
Expected findings
Anticipated problems
• How will you present the information and how to achieve a balance
between …
 What is presented orally
 What is presenting in writing (handouts, text of slides …)
 What is presented visually (pictures, charts, diagrams, data tables
How to deal with questions?
• Anticipating likely questions
• Clarifying what questions mean
• Dealing with questions that you can’t
• Dealing with inappropriate questions
• Knowing when to cut short the debate
Reminder: Summer Term Topics
• Overview of key reading and writing skills
• The writing process – developing productive
routines and developing a structured chapter
• Writing chapter introductions and conclusions
• Reporting and analysing findings
• Developing academic style
• Editing your written work
• Oral Presentation Skills: The Viva

Oral Presentation Skills for MPhil Students - ORB