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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab



Listening for extended periods can be tiring and it is important that you do not simply read from a text as your talk will sound monotonous. The following strategies can help make a talk more interesting.

Your presentation should contain the rise and fall of oral speech rather than the monotonous drone of reading out loud. Speakers use voice techniques to emphasise the introduction of new and important ideas.

The main techniques used are:

  • word stress (words spoken more slowly and loudly). During the presentation you need to speak clearly and try not to talk too fast. When you are nervous you tend to talk faster than usual. In fact, speaking slowly alleviates nerves and gives you time to collect your thoughts.
  • Tone and pitch (the rise and fall of the speech). Vary the stress, volume and tone.
  • Speed/pace remember to slow down the speed of your speaking - slower speech alleviates nervousness.


Observe how Christine uses voice techniques to emphasise the introduction of new and important ideas.


With the launch of the Learning Lab, I'm sure that the skills learnt will provide students with good, solid learning skills that will assist them in performing to their full potential in all their courses.

Voice techniques: Word stress.

Visual aids can add another dimension to an oral presentation and strengthen the listeners' comprehension.

Make your talk interesting by using well designed, colourful and self explanatory visuals such as:

  • pictures
  • diagrams
  • charts
  • graphs.

Notice how Christine:

  • varies her voice for emphasis
  • uses facial expressions to involve the audience
  • uses gestures and movements to add to the meaning of her talk
  • uses eye contact to keep the audience interested
  • uses visual aids to add to her talk.



This website consists of six links. There's the study skills link, which includes note taking skills, referencing and time management. Writing skills which, includes tips on how to summarise and paraphrase. There is also the assessment task section which, includes tips on how to go about completing assessment tasks. Maths essentials - which provides some revision of basic mathematical concepts that may have been forgotten since leaving high school.

Visual aids: The times when Christine points are highlighted in bold.

Your posture should be tall and straight not slumped, as this assists in relaxation and your breathing control. An open stance helps voice control and projection as well as presenting a confident and trusting image to your audience.

Use gestures to emphasise main points and facial expressions to enhance meaning. Move naturally and keep eye contact.



What I like about this website is how it sets out basic fundamentals that every student should know, but may be too embarrassed to ask. Sometimes when students reach university level, they don't feel that they should be asking because it's already expected of them to know all of this. However, by publicising the site to students, they will always have a site to go to if they are unsure of anything.

Use of body language: Notice how Christine smiles and has eye contact with her audience. Hint: Don't forget to smile!

Create an outline of your presentation in note form to prompt you as you speak. Do not write out complete sentences because you will be tempted to read them. You want your speech to flow naturally.


  • Highlight or underline parts of your talk you want to emphasise or pause and give examples.
  • Note where audio-visual aids will be used.



I know many students are still confused about how to reference and which style of referencing RMIT accepts. This site goes through all these skills step by step in an easy manner. In the assessment tasks section of the site, it shows students how to complete assessment tasks such as essays, reports and literature reviews.

Use of cards: Highlighted in bold.

Linking words and phrases work as signposts to tell the reader that something new/important is coming. They are a way for the speaker to tell the audience that they are about to move to a new topic or section of the talk.

  • The first important factor is...
  • Next I will talk about...
  • Another important aspect is...


Notice how Christine uses linking words and phrases to introduce her points and subpoints.


The Learning Lab website goes through the definition of the assessment task and walks the student through exactly what is expected of them and how to go about completing it. One of the most useful skills taught on the site is how to go about revising and preparing for exams.

Use of linking words: Highlighted in bold.