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It is common practice for students' oral communication skills to be assessed by a global impressionistic mark based on the skills displayed during presentation. Yet little is known about which skill components are influential in the determination of the final mark. This study uses three methods of analysis to determine the criteria staff apply in assessing engineering students' oral presentation skills. Two major outcomes from the study are discussed: the first relates to providing further guidance to students on the skills which are crucial in making a successful presentation; and the second to the use of methodologies for developing a better understanding of what criteria are being applied when global assessments are made.