Speaking Guide for Students

Public Speaking & Sociology

As a sociology student, you will have to become a skilled public speaker.

Many times when it comes to public speaking, students become nervous. However, with practice you will become more comfortable and proficient in this skill. This guide is meant to be a tool for you to reference when you are asked to prepare an oral presentation.

Below are some guidelines for you to follow:

  1. Know Your Topic.
    1. Make sure that you have done the necessary research to discuss your particular topic. You are the expert in this area during the speech and your credibility could be diminished if you give incorrect/misleading information
  2. Be Honest and Fair.
    1. When presenting, state your facts and opinions in a fair and honest manner. In other words, avoid the following: distorting or hiding information important to your topic, misrepresenting sources, telling only part of the story, citing unusual cases as typical examples, quoting out of context, and altering statistics. In addition, utilizing emotionally charged language when presenting an argument should be avoided. If others disagree with you, avoid using abusive language or name calling as a means to silence these individuals
  3. Use Credible Sources.
    1. Make sure that your sources are current, accurate, and reliable
  4. Avoid Plagiarism.
    1. Always cite your sources. If your are utilizing a visual aid such as PowerPoint or Prezi, utilize in-text citations throughout your presentation and include a bibliography at the end. If a visual aid isn’t required, simply state your sources throughout your speech.
  5. Have a Backup.
    1. If you are utilizing presentation software, always have a backup copy of your presentation in the event that something goes wrong. If you are utilizing any websites, make sure they are available offline in the event that there isn’t a network connection.

Speech Delivery Tips

  1. Relax.
    1. You may be nervous, but the audience doesn’t know your level of nervousness. Know that your presentation will probably go better than expected, and utilize your anxiety as motivation to deliver an excellent presentation.
  2. Begin your speech by informing the audience of your topic.
  3. Speak in a clear, audible tone.
  4. Make eye contact with your audience.
  5. Avoid mumbling your words.
  6. Stand up straight and avoid any distracting movements.
  7. Avoid turning your back to the audience.
  8. If given a time limit, adhere to it.
  9. At the end of your presentation, summarize your main points and ask for questions from the audience.

If you have any questions concerning your presentation, consult your instructor.

Also, utilizing any of the resources listed in the writing guide can be helpful.

In addition, click on the sources listed below for further information regarding oral presentations.


Bjerregaard, Malynda and Elaine Compton. 2011, “Public Speaking Handbook”, Ephraim, UT: Snow College. Retrieved July 2014, 2014.

Peoples, Deborah Carter. 2001, “Guidelines for Oral Presentations”, Ohio Wesleyan University: Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries. Retrieved July 2014, 2014.