Oral Communication

Identifying the Purpose

By firstly identifying the purpose or objective of your presentation, you will be better able to ensure that what you say is focused, clear, concise and purposeful! Although you may feel inclined to say everything you know about a given topic, the outcome will be of a far higher quality if you channel your knowledge and opinions into a clear and informative argument. As you prepare and rehearse your presentation keep asking yourself "Why am I saying this?" "What is the purpose of telling my audience this?" Being clear about the purpose of your presentation helps you decide what to include or omit.

Identifying the purpose also helps you to decide what approach(es) and structure are most appropriate to use. Will your approach be formal or informal? Do you want your audience to interact with you? Will you include role play, a PowerPoint presentation, a demonstration or a discussion?

It is important that you communicate to the audience what the purpose of you presenting to them is, so that they are aware of their role and can begin to think about how the presentation will be useful to them and any questions they may have.

Questions to consider:

  • What are you hoping to achieve with your presentation?
  • Is the presentation to inform, train, persuade, show your ability, entertain or demonstrate?
  • Do you aim to get ideas or feedback from the audience, as well as sharing your ideas? If so, how will you do this?

Watch and Learn

The video clips on the right hand side of the screen illustrate several of the points made above and the discussion points aim to support you in evaluating these examples and your own practice.

Follow the reading list and useful websites links for further suggestions.


Brunel University (West London)

Stating the Purpose of your Presentation

Explaining the Purpose of your Presentation