In modern English, presentations tend to be much less formal than they were twenty years ago. Most audience these days prefer a relatively informal approach. However, there is a certain structure to the opening of a Presentation that you should observe.
- Get people's attention
- Welcome them
- Introduce yourself
- State the purpose of your presentation
- State how you want to deal with questions
Get people's attention
- If I could have everybody's attention.
- If we can start.
- Perhaps we should begin?
- Let's get started.
- Welcome to (name of company).
- Thank you for coming today.
- Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
- On behalf of (name of company), I'd like to welcome you.
- My name's ..... I'm responsible for (your position at the company).
- For those of you who don't know me, my name's ....
- As you know, I'm in charge of (your position at the company).
- I'm the new (your position at the company).
State the purpose of your presentation
- This morning I'd like to present (a product).
- Today I'd like to discuss...
- This afternoon, I'd like to report on ...
- What I want to do this morning is to talk to you about ....
- What I want to do is to tell you about...
- What I want to do is to show you...
State how you want to deal with questions.
- If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them as we go along.
- Feel free to ask any questions.
- Perhaps we can leave any questions you have until the end?
- There will be plenty of time for questions at the end.
It is important to state your purpose clearly at the beginning of your talk. Here are some ways to do this:
talk about = to speak about a subject
- Today I'd like to talk about our plans for the new site.
- I'm going to be talking to you about the results of our survey.
report on = to tell you about what has been done.
- I'm going to be reporting on our results last quarter.
- Today I will be reporting on the progress we have made since our last meeting.
take a look at = to examine
- First, let's take a look at what we have achieved so far.
- Before we go on to the figures, I'd like to take a look at the changes we have made.
tell you about = to speak to someone to give them information or instructions
- First, I will tell you about the present situation, then go onto what we are going to do.
- When I have finished, Jack will then tell you about what is happening in Europe.
show = to explain something by doing it or by giving instructions.
- The object of this morning's talk is to show you how to put the theory into practice.
- Today I'm going to show you how to get the most out of the new software.
outline = to give the main facts or information about something.
- I'd like to outline the new policy and give you some practical examples.
- I will only give you a brief outline and explain how it affects you.
fill you in on = to give some extra or missing information
- I'd like to quickly fill you in on what has happened.
- When I have finished outlining the policy, Jerry will fill you in on what we want you to do.
give an overview of = to give a short description with general information but no details.
- Firstly, I would like to give you a brief overview of the situation.
- I'll give you an overview of our objectives and then hand over to Peter for more details.
highlight = draw attention to or emphasize the important fact or facts.
- The results highlight our strengths and our weaknesses.
- I'd now like to go on to highlight some of the advantages that these changes will bring.
discuss = to talk about ideas or opinions on a subject in more detail.
- I'm now going to go on to discuss our options in more detail.
- After a brief overview of the results, I'd like to discuss the implications in more detail.
When you want to make your next point, you ‘move on’.
- Moving on to the next point.
- I’d like to move on to the next point if there are no further questions
When you want to change to a completely different topic, you ‘turn to’.
- I’d like to turn to something completely different.
- Let’s turn now to our plans for next year.
When you want to give more details about a topic you ‘expand’ or ‘elaborate’.
- I’d like to expand more on this problem we have had in Chicago.
- Would you like me to expand a little more on that or have you understood enough?
- I don’t want to elaborate any more on that as I’m short of time.
When you want to talk about something which is off the topic of your presentation, you ‘digress’.
- I’d like to digress here for a moment and just say a word of thanks to Bob for organizing this meeting.
- Digressing for a moment, I’d like to say a few words about our problems in Chicago.
When you want to refer back to an earlier point, you ‘go back’.
- Going back to something I said earlier, the situation in Chicago is serious.
- I’d like to go back to something Jenny said in her presentation.
To just give the outline of a point, you ’summarize’.
- If I could just summarize a few points from John’s report.
- I don’t have a lot of time left so I’m going to summarize the next few points.
To repeat the main points of what you have said, you ‘recap’.
- I’d like to quickly recap the main points of my presentation.
- Recapping quickly on what was said before lunch,……
For your final remarks, you ‘conclude’.
- I’d like to conclude by leaving you with this thought ……
- If I may conclude by quoting Karl Marx …….------------------------------------------------------------------If you get your facts wrong.
- I am terribly sorry. What I meant to say was this.
- Sorry. What I meant is this.
- Let me just recap on that.
- I want to recap briefly on what I have been saying.
- Sorry, I should just mention one other thing.
- If I can just go back to the previous point, there is something else that I forgot to mention.
- So, basically, what I am saying is this.
- So, basically, the point I am trying to get across is this.
- Sorry, perhaps I did not make that quite clear.
- Let me rephrase that to make it quite clear.
- Sorry, what is the word I am looking for?
- Sorry, my mind has gone blank. How do you say 'escargot' in English?
- So just to give you the main points.
- As we are short of time, this is just a quick summary of the main points.
At the end of your talk, you may get questions. You don't have to answer all the questions - they may not be good questions!
When you get a question, comment on it first. This will give you time to think. Here are some useful expressions to help you do that:
- If it is a good question, thank the person and answer it.
- Some of the questions may be irrelevant and not connected to what you want to say. Say so and get another question.
- Some may be unnecessary because you have already given the answer. Repeat the answer briefly and get the next question.
- And some may be difficult because you don't have the information. Again, say so and offer to find the information or ask the person asking the question what they think.
- That's a very interesting question.
- I'm glad you've asked that question.
- A good question.
- I'm sorry but I don't have that information to hand.
- Can I get back to you about that?
- I'm afraid I can't answer that.
- I'm not in a position to comment on that.
- As I said earlier, …
- I think I answered that when I said …
- I did mention that.
- I don't see the connection.
- I'm sorry, I don’t follow you.
- I think that is a very different issue.
When you don't want to answer:
When someone interrupts you:
- To be honest, I'm not really the person to ask about that.
When you finally understand what they want to know:
- Sorry, could I just finish?
When you realise they don't understand what you said:
- Oh I see. So what you are asking is …
If you don't want to tell everyone:
- Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. What I was trying to say was …
To close off the presentation:
- Perhaps we can talk about it when I have finished.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Here are some ways of getting an answer when you are the QUESTIONER:When the answer doesn't give you the information you want:
- If there are no more questions, we should stop there.
When the answer is evasive:
- Yes, that may be so, but what I want to know is …
If you are sceptical and want more detail:
- Yes, but you still haven't answered my question.
If you don't agree:
- Well, I'm not so sure. Can you give us an example to illustrate that?
- That may be so, but I still think ...