ORGANIZING THE ORAL REPORT
Effective oral reports contain an introduction, body, and conclusion. The audience should recognize each of these sections.
Develop the Introduction
The introduction establishes both the tone and the topic of the speech. Your tone is your attitude toward the listeners and the subject matter. You need to be serious but not deadly dull. And avoid being so intense that no one-can laugh or so flip that the topic seems insignificant. To establish a topic, you need to introduce it succinctly. Be explicit about your purpose. Follow these guidelines:
• In industry or business, you do not need to begin your report with a humorous story, a quotation by an authority, or an anecdote.
• Capitalize on your listeners’ initial attention by saying something closely related to your topic in terms of time, space, money, equipment personnel or policy.
• Explain how your report is important to your audience.
• Present your conclusions or recommendations right away. Then the audience will have a viewpoint from which to interpret your data as you present it.
• Link yourself to the audience by explaining how you assembled your report.
• Indicate your special knowledge of or concern with the subject.
• Identify the situation that required you to prepare the report (or the person who requested it).
• Preview the main points so your listeners can understand the order in which you will present your ideas.
The order of-your ideas should be appropriate to the subject. Most subjects can be structured into chronological order, problem-to-solution order, least-to-most-important order, or spatial order, such as from outside to inside or from north to south. If your preview is clear, the listeners’ can follow and understand the major points in the report.
Develop the Body
Time is to an oral report as space is to a written one. An oral report, however, does not lend itself to the concise presentation good writers achieve in a written report. To communicate an idea verbally, a speaker must state a generalization, provide details to support it, and reinforce it with a summary.
Numerous studies have shown that listeners simply do not hear everything the speaker says, and if they miss an idea or an important detail,
they have no recourse. Therefore, the verbal communication process should consume several minutes per main idea long enough for the
speaker to get each main point across.
Use Transition Liberally Clear transitions are very helpful to audience members. By your transitions, you can remind them of the report’s structure, which you have established in the preview. Indicate how the next main idea fits into the overall report and why it is important to know about it. For instance, a proposal may seem very costly until the shortness of the payback period is emphasized.Select Important Details. Although providing extensive details to support main ideas is not possible in the time permitted for an oral report, you should select enough significant details to make the point valid. Choose details that are especially meaningful to the audience. Explain any anticipated changes in equipment, staff, or policy, and how these changes will be beneficial. . Impose a Time Limit Always impose your own. time limit on the report, and narrow your number of main ideas accordingly. It is much better to preent two or three main ideas carefully than to attempt to communicate more information than your listeners can grasp. If you select only the most important ideas, your speech will be concise enough to please the plant manager and detailed enough to satisfy her staff members.
Develop a Conclusion
The conclusion section restates the main ideas presented in the body of the report. Follow these guidelines:
• As you conclude your report, you should actually say “In conclusion to capture your listeners” interest.
• For a proposal, stress the main advantages of your ideas and urge your listeners to take specific action.
• For a recommendation report, emphasize the most significant data presented for each criterion and clearly present your recommendations.
• Use a visual to summarize the important data.
• End the report by asking if your listeners have any questions.