Monday, November 18, 2013

ESL Making Presentations

I think one of the biggest challenges my students face is speaking freely while giving a presentation.  Aside from the fact that they are all very nervous and afraid to make mistakes, they sometimes don't know how to transition from one point to another. This is not only an ESL problem though.  I know that when I had to do this I had exactly the same problem.  So I thought putting up a list of helpful vocabulary would be useful for both ESL students and every other professional who has to give a professional presentation.

Business Presentations

1.    Preparation- You should ALWAYS prepare for a presentation.

a.    Audience- Who will I be giving the presentation to? 

b.    Venue- Where will the presentation be given?   What equipment do I need and is it available?

c.    Objective- What do I want to do in the presentation?  

a.    Do I want to inform the audience about my company?

b.    Do I want to persuade the audience that my company is the right choice for them?

c.    Do I want to train the audience to do something?

d.    Do I want to see the audience a product?

d.    Time and length- Is there a time limit for the presentation?  How long will it take for questions and answers?

e.    Method- What approach do I want to use?

a.    formal/ informal

b.    visual aids/ PowerPoint

c.    serious/ humorous

f.     Content- What exactly will I say?

g.    Structure

Presentations are organized in three parts, followed by questions:

Short introduction
  • welcome your audience
  • introduce your subject
  • explain the structure of your presentation
  • explain rules for questions
Body of presentation
  • present the subject itself
Short conclusion
  • summarize your presentation
  • thank your audience
  • invite questions
Questions and Answers

2.    Delivery- How will you make the presentation?

a.    Nerves-Everyone is nervous at the beginning, but if you memorize your presentation and focus on it, it will help you calm down.

b.    Audience Rapport- Each person should feel that you are speaking directly to him or her. This means that you must look at each person in turn - in as natural a way as possible. This will also give you the opportunity to detect signs of boredom, disinterest or even disagreement, allowing you to modify your presentation as appropriate.

c.    Body Language- What you do not say is at least as important as what you do say. Your body is speaking to your audience even before you open your mouth. Your clothes, your walk, your glasses, your haircut, your expression - it is from these that your audience forms its first impression as you enter the room.  You can use this to your advantage and guide the audience with it.

d.    Cultural Considerations- Cultural differences can also be seen in body language.  Be aware of any differences in culture in the audience to which you’re giving the presentation.

e.    Voice Quality- It is, of course, important that your audience be able to hear you clearly throughout your presentation.  You should also vary your voice, so that it interest the audience and guides them through the presentation.  You can do this in many different ways.

                                          i.    Speed- You can speak at a normal rate, speed up or even stop or pause to give emphasis to something that you have just said.

                                        ii.    Intonation- you can change the pitch of your voice. You can speak in a high tone. You can speak in a low tone.

                                       iii.    Volume- you can speak at normal volume, you can speak loudly and you can speak quietly. Lowering your voice and speaking quietly can again attract your audience's interest.

f.     Visual Aids- 80% of what we learn comes through our eyes, so that means that visual aids, if you choose to use them, are very important.  non-native English speakers need not worry so much about spoken English - they can rely more heavily on visual aids

g.    Audience Reaction- If you receive particularly awkward questions, you might suggest that the questioners ask their questions after your presentation.  This is also a good suggestion for questions that you don’t understand.

3.    Language of a Presentation

a.    Use simple and clear language.  Don’t use terms or words that you aren’t sure that your audience will understand.

b.    Signpost your presentation- how can your audience know where they are? How can they know the structure of your presentation? How can they know what is coming next? They know because you tell them. Because you put up signposts for them, at the beginning and all along the route. This technique is called 'signposting' (or 'signaling'). During your introduction, you should tell your audience what the structure of your presentation is.

Introducing the subject
  • I'd like to start by...
  • Let's begin by...
  • First of all, I'll...
  • Starting with...
  • I'll begin by...
Finishing one subject...
  • Well, I've told you about...
  • That's all I have to say about...
  • We've looked at...
  • So much for...
...and starting another
  • Now we'll move on to...
  • Let me turn now to...
  • Next...
  • Turning to...
  • I'd like now to discuss...
  • Let's look now at...
Analyzing a point and giving recommendations
  • Where does that lead us?
  • Let's consider this in more detail...
  • What does this mean for ABC?
  • Translated into real terms...
Giving an example
  • For example,...
  • A good example of this is...
  • As an illustration,...
  • To give you an example,...
  • To illustrate this point...
Dealing with questions
  • We'll be examining this point in more detail later on...
  • I'd like to deal with this question later, if I may...
  • I'll come back to this question later in my talk...
  • Perhaps you'd like to raise this point at the end...
  • I won't comment on this now...
Summarizing and concluding
  • In conclusion,...
  • Right, let's sum up, shall we?
  • I'd like now to recap...
  • Let's summarize briefly what we've looked at...
  • Finally, let me remind you of some of the issues we've covered...
  • If I can just sum up the main points...
  • Firstly...secondly...thirdly...lastly...
  • First of that...finally...
  • To start finish up...

4.    The presentation itself - As a general rule in communication, repetition is valuable. In presentations, there is a golden rule about repetition:  Say what you are going to say, say it, then say what you have just said.  In other words, use the three parts of your presentation to reinforce your message. In the introduction, you tell your audience what your message is going to be. In the body, you tell your audience your real message. In the conclusion, you summarize what your message was.

a.    Introduction- You should use the introduction to:

                                          i.    welcome your audience,

                                        ii.    introduce your subject,

                                       iii.     outline the structure of your presentation,

                                       iv.    give instructions about questions

Possible language
1 Welcoming your audience
  • Good morning, ladies and gentlemen
  • Good morning, gentlemen
  • Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman
  • Good afternoon, everybody
2 Introducing your subject
  • I am going to talk today about...
  • The purpose of my presentation is to introduce our new range of...
3 Outlining your structure
  • To start with I'll describe the progress made this year. Then I'll mention some of the problems we've encountered and how we overcame them. After that I'll consider the possibilities for further growth next year. Finally, I'll summarize my presentation (before concluding with some recommendations).
4 Giving instructions about questions
  • Do feel free to interrupt me if you have any questions.
  • I'll try to answer all of your questions after the presentation.
  • I plan to keep some time for questions after the presentation.

b.    Body- This is the “real” presentation.  The body should be well structured, divided up logically, with plenty of carefully spaced visuals.

                                          i.    Remember these key points while delivering the body of your presentation:

1.    do not hurry

2.    be enthusiastic

3.    give time on visuals

4.    maintain eye contact

5.    modulate your voice

6.    look friendly

7.    keep to your structure

8.    use your notes

9.    signpost throughout

10. remain polite when dealing with difficult questions

c.    Conclusion- Use the conclusion to:

                                          i.    Sum up

                                        ii.    (Give recommendations if appropriate)

                                       iii.    Thank your audience

                                       iv.    Invite questions

Possible language
1 Summing up
  • To conclude,...
  • In conclusion,...
  • Now, to sum up...
  • So let me summarize/recap what I've said.
  • Finally, may I remind you of some of the main points we've considered.
2 Giving recommendations
  • In conclusion, my recommendations are...
  • I therefore suggest/propose/recommend the following strategy.
3 Thanking your audience
  • Thank you very much for your attention.
  • I would like to thank you all for being such an attentive audience.
4 Inviting questions
  • Now I'll try to answer any questions you may have.
  • Can I answer any questions?
  • Are there any questions?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Are there any final questions?

d.    Questions- Questions are a good opportunity for you to interact with your audience. It may be helpful for you to try to predict what questions will be asked so that you can prepare your response in advance. You may wish to accept questions at any time during your presentation, or to keep a time for questions after your presentation. Normally, it's your decision, and you should make it clear during the introduction. Be polite with all questioners, even if they ask difficult questions. They are showing interest in what you have to say and they deserve attention. Sometimes you can reformulate a question. Or answer the question with another question. Or even ask for comment from the rest of the audience.



We implement the stage

First we speak to the director of the theater.

What is possible?

Develop a sketch.


How do we reach the goal?

Make suggestions.

Considerations: Noise level, financial considerations, height, material, freight

member of the audience

make sure that the company stays within the budget




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