Presentation Rubric: Is your deck ready for an A+?

We seem to have an unavoidable relationship with public speaking throughout our lives. From our kindergarten years, when our presentations are nothing more than a few seconds of reciting cute words in front of our class…


...till our grown up years, when things get a little more serious, and the success of our presentations may determine getting funds for our business, or obtaining an academic degree when defending our thesis.


Related Read: Investor Deck: Best Practices to Present Your Business


By the time we reach our mid 20’s, we become worryingly used to evaluations based on our presentations. Yet, for some reason, we’re rarely told the traits upon which we are being evaluated. Most colleges and business schools for instance use a Presentation Rubric to evaluate their students. Funny thing is, they’re not usually that open about sharing it with their students (as if that would do any harm!).

We’re used to giving presentations, yet we’re rarely told the traits upon which we’re being evaluated.


Well, we don’t believe in shutting down information. Quite the contrary: we think the best way to practice your speech is to know exactly what is being tested! By evaluating each trait separately, you can:

  1. Acknowledge the complexity of public speaking, that goes far beyond subject knowledge.

  2. Address your weaker spots, and work on them to improve your presentation as a whole.

I’ve assembled a simple Presentation Rubric, based on a great document by the NC State University, and I've also added a few rows of my own, so you can evaluate your presentation in pretty much any scenario!

What is tested in the Rubric?

The Rubric contemplates 7 traits, which are as follows:

Now let's break down each trait so you can understand what they mean, and how to assess each one:

Presentation Rubric

Trait/Score 4 3 2 1 You
Organization Subject presents information in logical, interesting sequence which audience can follow. Subject presents information in logical sequence which audience can follow. Audience has difficulty following presentation because subject jumps around. Audience cannot understand presentation because there is no sequence of information.
Subject Knowledge Subject demonstrates full knowledge (more than required) by answering all questions with explanations and elaboration. Subject is at ease with expected answers to all questions, but fails to elaborate. Subject is uncomfortable with information and is able to answer only rudimentary questions. Subject does not have grasp of information; subject cannot answer questions about subject.
Mechanics Presentation has no misspellings or grammatical errors. Presentation has no more than two misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Presentation has three misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Subject's presentation has four or more spelling errors and/or grammatical errors.
Eye Contact Subject maintains eye contact with audience, seldom returning to notes. Subject maintains eye contact most of the time but frequently returns to notes. Subject occasionally uses eye contact, but still reads most of the slides. Subject reads all of the slides with no eye contact.
Elocution Subject uses a clear voice and correct, precise pronunciation of terms so that all audience members can hear presentation. Subject's voice is clear. Subject pronounces most words correctly. Most audience members can hear presentation. Subject's voice is low. Subject incorrectly pronounces terms. Audience members have difficulty hearing presentation. Subject mumbles, incorrectly pronounces terms, and speaks too quietly for subjects in the back of room to hear.
Poise Subject displays relaxed, self-confident nature, with no mistakes. Subject makes minor mistakes, but quickly recovers from them; displays little or no tension. Subject displays mild tension; has trouble recovering from mistakes. Tension and nervousness is obvious; subject has trouble recovering from mistakes.
Enthusiasm Subject demonstrates a strong, positive feeling about topic during entire presentation. Subject occasionally shows positive feelings about topic. Subject shows some negativity toward topic presented. Subject shows absolutely no interest in topic presented.
Total Points:

How to use this Rubric?:

The Rubric is pretty self explanatory, so I'm just gonna give you some ideas as to how to use it. The ideal scenario is to ask someone else to listen to your presentation and evaluate you with it. The less that person knows you, or what your presentation is about, the better.

Wondering what your score may indicate?

  • 21-28 Fan-bloody-tastic!
  • 14-21 Looking good, but you can do better
  • 7-14 Uhmmm, you ain't at all ready

As we don't always have someone to rehearse our presentations with, a great way to use the Rubric is to record yourself (this is not Hollywood material so an iPhone video will do!), watching the video afterwards, and evaluating your presentation on your own. You'll be surprised by how different your perception of yourself is, in comparison to how you see yourself on video.

Related read: Webinar - Public Speaking and Stage Presence: How to wow?


It will be fairly easy to evaluate each trait! The mere exercise of reading the Presentation Rubric is an excelente study on presenting best practices.

If you're struggling with any particular trait, I suggest you take a look at our Academy Channel where we discuss how to improve each trait in detail!

It's not always easy to objectively assess our own speaking skills. So the next time you have a big presentation coming up, use this Rubric to put yourself to the test!

Need support for your presentation? Build awesome slides using our very own Slidebean.

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