Citing Sources in Oral Presentations

Well developed presentations provide external support for the ideas delivered by the speaker to enhance the credibility of the speech. It is essential that when you use outside research that you include an oral reference to the work being referenced. Unlike written work, oral citations do not have a specific format that you must follow. However, some basic rules do apply. You should provide the listening audience with enough information that they could easily access the resource you are referencing. This means that you have to decide which information is most important for each different oral citation. You may include: author, date, title of work, publication, web source, editor, and/or the credentials of the author. You would NOT include all of this information, rather you should choose the necessary information.

How do I cite sources in my speech?

Direct Quotations: These should be acknowledged in your speech or presentation either as “And I quote…” or “As [the source] put it…”
Book: Include title and author: “According to April Jones, author of Readings on Gender…” Periodical/Magazine: Include title and date: “Time, March 28, 2005, explains…” or “The New York Times, June 5, 2006, explained it this way…”
Journal: Include journal title, date, and author: “Morgan Smith writes in the Fall 2005 issue of Science…” Website: For organizational or long-standing website, include title: “The center for Disease Control website includes information…”

For news or magazine websites, include title and date: “, on March 28, 2005, states…” (Note: CNN is an exception to the “don’t use the address” rule because the site is known by that name.) Interviews, lecture notes, or personal communication: Include name and credentials of source: “Alice Smith, professor of Economics at USM, had this to say about the growth plan…” or “According to junior Speech Communication major, Susan Wallace…”
Keep in mind that it’s easy to start falling into the “According to…” broken record. In order to avoid this routine, try to change it up a bit each time with phrases like, “This is also supported by…” “April Smith, founder of… says,” etc. You can also note when large sections of your presentation come from one source (as long as it is clear to the audience).

Also, it might be helpful to include a bibliography at the end of your PowerPoint presentation or in a handout if you feel that the audience should see the full citation. If you use this option, leave that screen up long enough for the audience to read. Finally, citations are important to make your speech sound credible. Like your papers, it is always better to over-cite than to under-cite.

Plagiarism in speeches?
According to the St. Martin’s Handbook, “To plagiarize is to use other people’s ideas or words without acknowledging the source.” The rule for avoiding plagiarism as a public speaker is straightforward: Any source that requires credit in written form should be acknowledged in oral form. In general, you should cite your sources whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing.

How do I avoid plagiarism?
One of the keys to a successful presentation is having support material for your points. However, it is equally essential to let your audience know exactly where you got your information. You do not have to include entire references in your oral presentations, but you must refer to your sources while speaking. As a rule, give your audience enough information about your sources such that they can track down the information on their own. That generally means that you need source titles, authors, and dates-not page numbers, volume numbers, web addresses, etc.

Talk show – Toastmasters

This was on the airwaves last week and i tracked down the recording.

Highly recommended.

or click here to go to the website.

Top 20 unforgettable speeches

According to a poll conducted by the ABC, the top twenty unforgettable speeches are :

  1. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. I have a dream, 28 August 1963, Washington DC.
  2. Jesus. Sermon on the Mount. c27.
  3. Paul Keating. The Redfern Address, 10 December 1992, Redfern Park.
  4. Winston Churchill. We Shall Fight on the Beaches, 4 June 1940, House of Commons.
  5. Abraham Lincoln. Gettysburg Address, 19 November 1863.
  6. John F. Kennedy. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Inaugural speech 20 January 1961, Washington DC.
  7. Earl Spencer. Funeral Oration for Diana Princess of Wales, 6 September 1997, Westminster Abbey.
  8. Henry V Act IV Scene III. Author William Shakespeare c 1599. St Crispin’s Day speech made before the Battle of Agincourt (which occurred on 25 October 1415).
  9. Gough Whitlam. The Dismissal, 11 November 1975, Parliament House steps.
  10. Queen Elizabeth I. I have the heart and stomach of a king, 9 August 1588. (Address to the troops at Tilbury as the Spanish Armada approached Britain.)
  11. Nelson Mandela. An Ideal for Which I am Prepared to Die. Statement at trial, 20 April 1964, Johannesburg.
  12. Mahatma Gandhi. Non-violence is the first article of my faith, 23 March 1922, Ahmadabad.
  13. Socrates. Statement at trial condemning him to death, 399BC, Athens.
  14. Robert Kennedy. Address to National Union of South African Students, 7 June 1966, Cape Town University.
  15. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We Now Demand Our Right To Vote, Keynote Address to Women’s Rights Convention, 19 July 1848 New York.
  16. William Wilberforce. Abolition of Slavery, 12 May 1789, House of Commons.
  17. Alfred Deakin. These are the times that try men’s souls, 15 March 1898, Bendigo.
  18. Pericles. Funeral Oration for the fallen of the Peloponnesian War, 431 BC.
  19. Mark Antony. Friends, Romans, Countrymen Lend Me Your Ears, Julius Caesar Act III Scene II. Author William Shakespeare c1599.
  20. Ben Chifley. The Light on the Hill, 12 June 1949, ALP Conference.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi World Champion of Public Speaking

Grammarian Role

Your Comedy Checklist.

Ask yourself these 10 questions to get the laughs you want.

When you turn on a light switch, you expect results. You expect the light to go on. If it doesn’t, you run through a checklist to correct the problem. Is the lamp plugged in? Is the light bulb burned out? Is the fuse blown? The same process is true of using humor in your presentation. You want the audience to laugh, and if they don’t, you need to figure out how to fix the problem.

This 10-point checklist will help you correct flaws so your humor will be effective.

1 – Does your humor end with a surprise? Surprise is an essential element of comedy. You often hear storytellers say, “Stop me if you’ve heard this one.” They realize that if you already know the ending, the joke has lost its power.

Your ending must be unexpected, a twist, a surprise. The suddenness of that surprise is the jolt that produces the laughter you want.

Whatever your punch line is, be sure the audience doesn’t see it coming. You might have to misdirect listeners—lead them to think in one direction and then suddenly redirect them to your real meaning.

2 – Is your humor based on recognizable reality? Each joke or tale you tell must be truthful. The listeners can only respond to your humor if they recognize the reality it is based on. This doesn’t mean you can’t be whimsical. Your truth doesn’t have to be the kind you swear to in a court of law. It can be exaggerated, distorted and hypothetical, as long as your audience can relate to it. You want people to think, Yeah, that has happened to me, too.

3 – Can you be heard and understood? People cannot laugh at a joke they don’t hear. In delivering humor, you must speak loudly enough to be heard by your entire audience or use a dependable sound system that will accomplish that for you.

In addition, speak clearly and distinctly, so the audience can understand the meaning of your message. Your vocabulary, too, should be appropriate for your audience. If you use words they don’t understand or phrases they’re not familiar with, they’re really not hearing your joke.

4 – Is your humor current? Humor should be up-to-date. Avoid any nostalgia. Your stories don’t need to be about current events, but they should be appropriate for current times. Use contemporary references and ideas.

5 – Is your humor concise? William Shakespeare said “brevity is the soul of wit.” That’s good advice, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that shorter is better. There are at least two parts to every joke—the setup, which furnishes information, and the punch line, which is the surprise twist to that information. Both are essential.
Economy may be a better word than brevity. Being concise means giving the listeners all the information they need to appreciate and understand the punch line, but not offering unnecessary information that weakens the effect. A workable rule of thumb: A joke that should be short and is, is better than a joke that should be short and isn’t.

6 – Does your humor create a vivid image? Although humorists work primarily with words, audiences “see” images. The more vivid picture you create in their minds, the better response you’ll receive.

There is a well-known line from the 1977 film Annie Hall, where the character played by Woody Allen says to his girlfriend: “There’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick.”

That gag worked because it instantly evoked a funny mental picture. The character could have described the spider as “a big bug” or even said, “It was as big as a car.” But the word “Buick” conjures up a more vivid image.

7 – Are you letting the audience know when to laugh? Presenting humor is like conducting an orchestra: You must control the tempo. You not only want your audience to laugh, you want them to laugh at the proper time. Therefore, you, as the conductor, must tell them when to laugh. Do that through voice inflection, gestures and facial expressions, and with the phrasing of your story.

As you prepare your presentation, know exactly where you demand laughter from your audience. If you don’t know, how can they be expected to?

8 – Are your references applicable and appropriate? Much humor consists of comparing two ideas. One is the basic topic; the other is a humorous reference to that topic.

An example: “I have a friend who is so cheap; he buys one Christmas card each year and sends it out in the form of a chain letter.”

The basic topic is the frugality of this person, and the reference is a Christmas card that circulates at other people’s expense.

Here’s another comedic reference to being cheap: “My friend always leaves a 20 percent tip—20 percent of what anyone else would leave.”

In creating humor, search for as many references as you can. The more you discover, the more ammunition you’ll have to generate effective comedy. Just make sure they’re applicable and appropriate.

9 – Is your humor right for this audience? Is this audience right for your humor? Certainly two components of humor are the presenter’s skill and the material’s quality. However, consider another key element: the audience. The more your humor applies to the people you’re directing it at, the better response it will get. Perform material your listeners will appreciate.

Remember that the audience is the final judge of your comedy. If they laugh, it’s funny. If they don’t laugh, it needs work.

10 – Is your humor clever and incisive? Humor is all around us. It’s up to the humorist to uncover it and expose it to listeners.

For example, take this line: “Any time you see a man open the car door for his wife, you know right away that either the car is new, or the wife is.”

People quickly recognize the irony of that line, but only after the comic points it out to them. As a humorist, your duty is to uncover truths, idiosyncrasies, ironies and contradictions, and then couch them in a unique way that produces laughter.

Follow this checklist, and both you and your audience will enjoy lots of laughs.

(Perret, n.d)

Gene Perret is an Emmy Award–winning writer who has written for legendary comics such as Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett and others. His latest book is The Ten Commandments of Comedy. Visit his website at


Reference List


Perret, G. (n.d). Your Comedy Checkilist. from



Gestures and Body Language

If not used properly, gestures and body language can be distracting and detract from the message of your speech. Learn to hone your speaking skills by channeling nervous energy into purposeful movement.

To be truly successful at public speaking you must be in command of your gestures and body language

Tip 1: prevent nervous with practice
• Nervous gestures (eg. Running your hands, moving form side to side, adjusting clothes, distracts audience and lessens the impact of your message.

• Plan and practice your speech and decide what gestures will help convey your message

Tip 2: understand types of gestures
• Descriptive showing the size
• Emphatic (eg. Show strong emotion of by clenching goal first)
• Suggestive (eg. shrugging shoulder to show irony)
• Prompting (eg. Rise your hands to encourage you audience to ask questions)

Tip 3: take control of your own nervous gestures (eg. Rocking from side to side work on those gestures that come naturally and help convey your message
Tip 4: be culturally sensitive (eg. A point finger may be offensive in some cultures)
• Know your audience and your speech

Tip 5: Coordinating gestures eye contact and walking is difficult according
• It’s hard to maintain eye contact when you walk
• Limit the mount of times you walk
• When you arrive your destination, stop and look at your audience

Breaking the ice

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, ‘Breaking the Ice’ is defined as

“to make people who have not met before feel more relaxed with each other”

Whether you want to start a conversation with a new guy or girl you find attractive or you want to get a training session off to a great start, a good ice breaker can help you make a memorable first impression. It can turn that first encounter with someone new into something wonderful that blossoms into lasting friendships and valuable partnerships.

A bad ice breaker, however, can be a recipe for disaster. It can spiral out of control pretty quickly and at best be a terrible waste of time or worse an embarrassment for everyone involved. So, how do you start a meaningful conversation with someone new and avoid embarrassments or awkward moments of silence? Where do you begin?

Understand that it’s normal to feel a bit nervous when approaching someone new. Everyone gets a little shy at first—after all, you don’t know what this other person is like. Start by filling your idea vault with possible ice breakers to start a conversation, and follow-up questions to sustain the conversation. Listen attentively to the other person’s responses because this can make or break your follow-up questions. To help you out with ideas for starting a conversation, here are ten of the most effective ice breakers you can use in different scenarios to get a conversation off and running.

“How Are You Doing Today?”

A genuine hello accompanied by a heartwarming, three second smile is one of the most basic, highly effective ice breakers there is. Often, we brush simple things aside as being too simple not realizing the simplest things can have the biggest impact in life.

Think about the people who say “good morning” or “howdy” to their neighbors. This simple greeting is usually followed up with “how are you” or “how are the kids?” Before long, the two parties are talking about their families and even favorite sports teams.

“Nice Earrings!”

This comment represents a classic technique that is quite effective for starting a conversation. Regardless of whom you are talking to, saying something genuinely nice about their outfit, accessories, or even mood will usually be received well.

The person receiving the compliment will thank you and possibly say something nice about you in return. In doing this, a dialogue begins. Keep the dialogue going by asking a question like “Where did you buy the earrings? I really like them.”

“Does This Shop Always Have Such Long Lines?”

Simply commenting on an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation that you both experience in your immediate surroundings is another effective strategy for starting a conversation. You can comment about a long bathroom line or wobbly waiting-room chair.

By focusing on an unpleasant situation that you both find yourselves in and subtly complaining about it, you cleverly suck the other person into an unwitting pact that unites both of you against a common enemy.

“Chicago Really Is the Windy City!”

Yes. Talk about the weather. It may sound clichéd, but it works wonders in real life. People talk about the weather all the time—it’s a topic everyone has an opinion on. Think of how you have an opinion about what dress or fashion choice is right for different weather.

Once the person responds, you can ease into the conversation with “small talk” like, “The wind is so strong; it nearly blew me over!”

“Oh, Did You Hear About…”

Kick-start a conversation with a description of an interesting, entertaining and/or funny story. Get right in to your story description and then allow the other person to make a remark or share an opinion of the story.

If your story is interesting enough, there really is no telling where it could take the ensuing dialogue and for how long you could stretch the conversation once your new friend gets on board.

“What Kind of Drink is That?”

People love eating and drinking. If the person you want to start a conversation with has a nice-looking drink or a delicious-looking burger, comment on how delicious (or not delicious) the burger is. Alternatively ask what kind of drink he or she’s having.

When he or she replies, follow up with something like “Do you really like it?” or “Can I buy you another?” Introduce yourself and don’t forget to flash your best smile.

“That’s a Lovely Name; Are You Named After Someone?”

This works especially well in a workplace setting, business meeting, or conference where people are wearing name tags. If he or she has an interesting name, walk up to them and say something like, “Camille, lovely name. What’s the origin of the name?” She’ll probably be excited to tell you about her name and before you know it, a conversation has ensued.

“Hello, Do You Work Here?”

This also works well at a workplace or business setting where people are wearing name tags. Even if you know the answer, ask whether he or she works there anyway. If you know some people who work at his or her company or retail store, mention them.

Follow up with related questions like, “What do you do here?”; “Have you been working here a long time?”; “Do you like it here?”; “What’s your favorite/worst part of your job?

“People Call Me David, but You Can Call Me TONIGHT.”

Okay, telling a joke is easier said than done. Jokes can be tricky, but they’re some of the best conversations starters to throw at someone new. They help the other person see a witty, fun side of your personality.

That said, unless you’re really confident about your joke-telling skills, it’s probably a good idea to avoid them or start with a self-deprecating joke. You can’t possibly offend yourself, can you?

“Excuse Me, I Just Thought I Should Come Over and Talk to You.”

Sometimes the best and most fun ice breaker is honesty. Walk up to him or her and just be honest. Tell him or her that you want to talk. Point out how awkward and funny the situation actually is for both of you and that you are trying to make the best of it. Honesty really can be the best policy.

5 Basic Public Speaking Tips

Tip 1: Know your subject and your speech

– master your topic by researching well and become an authority on the topic

– master your presentation by practicing and knowing the order of your main points

Tip 2: Know your audience and your space

– find out about the people you are presenting to – their culture, age, demographics – and tailor your speech to suit

– check the location of where you are presenting so you know what facilities are available

Tip 3: Never apologise

– if you make a mistake, just keep going – no-one will notice!

Tip 4: Imagine yourself giving a GREAT speech

– see yourself making important and interesting points

– see yourself using appropriate gestures

Tip 5: Focus on your message, not yourself

– focusing on yourself and your gestures will only make you nervous

– try to focus on your message instead and be convinced that what you have to say is important


Some other useful tips!

– Prepare, prepare, prepare

– Remember to pause

– Remember to have good posture

– Make the audience believe that what you have to say is important and relevant to them

– Try to have a good ‘hook’ at the beginning – to draw your audience in

– Use humour!

How to give a toast

What’s in a Toast? 

“During the early 1900s the word “toastmaster” referred to a person who proposed the toasts and introduced the speakers at a banquet,” according to Toastmaster’s International.

The Toastmasters Club founder, Ralph C. Smedley, thought the title “Toastmaster” conveyed a social and pleasant atmosphere which was the objective for the first Toastmasters clubs and continues today as the modus operandi of modern day Toastmasters clubs worldwide.

The skill or some might even say art of giving or receiving a toast is an important asset as there will be times where one will be asked to make a toast or receive a toast in recognition of achievements.

Toastmasters Tips on giving a toast:

  • To give a good toast, it is important to understand its purpose.
  • Don’t make the Toast about you.
  • Do your research for whom/what you are toasting and show this using a story, show personal connection, and sincerity. For example, use humor to recognize the person or item being toasted. Don’t use embarrassing stories – embarrassing isn’t the same as funny.
  • Try to stick with just one story or if you simply must – a maximum of two.
  • A toast is meant to be short in length, and not a 10 minute speech about the person/item, so keep it concise by using only the most important information you would like to convey.
  • Write and rehearse. Don’t even think about winging it.

Above all, when you’re asked to give a toast, you want to make your words count.

In this video learn what to do—and what not to do—to make the most of the moment.

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