The Perfect Presentation
Structure is Everything
I have had a few of my upper intermediate students ask for help with presentations usually within the workplace. Including the correct structure of a presentation and key phrases to be used, so I thought this would be a great topic for my next blog. There are lots of things to remember when carrying out a presentation, so I want to set out the key things to include so your presentation runs smoothly!
The first thing is to welcome everyone. The vocabulary used will depend on the audience and format – is it a team meeting, or a presentation to a potential customer, and is the presentation in person or online. Phrases like – ‘good morning/ good afternoon ladies/gentlemen/everyone’ or ‘on behalf of xxx, allow me to extend a warm welcome to you’. You can also welcome everyone in general to the event – ‘Welcome to xxx’. Follow this up with introducing yourself or the main speaker of the presentation. Again, the use of language will depend on your audience. Some useful phrases that you could use; ‘Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is xxx and I’m delighted to be here today to talk about xxx’ or ‘I’m xxx from xxx and today I’d like to talk to you about xxx’.
The next stage after welcoming and introducing yourself, is to introduce the topic of the presentation. Your audience should already have a general idea of the topic, but it is good practice to give a summary again as a refresher. Some useful phrases to introduce the topic are: ‘Today I’m here to talk about xxx’, ‘I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about’, ‘I’d like to give a short presentation about xxx’. Along with introducing the topic, you also need to provide an objective/ purpose for the presentation, so your audience understands what they will learn by the end. A few phrases here you can use are ‘the purpose of this presentation’ or ‘my objective today is xxx’. After introducing the topic and providing the objectives, you can go through the structure of your presentation. A brief summary of each section of the presentation will help your audience understand what to expect from each section. Here phrases such as ‘my talk/ presentation is divided into x parts’, ‘I’ll start with…/ first I’ll talk about…/ I’ll begin with…, then I will look at…, next… and finally…’.
Once you have introduced yourself and the presentation, you can then start the main part of your presentation. You can use phrases like ‘Let me begin by explaining…’, ‘Before I start, does anyone know…’, ‘As you are all aware…’. Then continue with the main part of your presentation. When you reach the end of the section, you can use ‘we’ve looked at…’ so your audience know you are moving onto the next section. Here you also want to review the section and ask if anyone has questions. To review the section, phrases such as ‘to sum up’, ‘let us briefly summarise what we have looked at’, ‘I’d like to recap the main points from this section’. After reviewing the section, this is a great time to invite questions from your audience. Ideally, your presentation will run uninterrupted without questions until you invite them, however this isn’t a guarantee and depends who is in your audience! Phrases to invite questions you can use are ‘does anyone have any questions?’, ‘I am happy to answer any questions now’, ‘do you have any questions before I move on?’
When moving onto the next chapter or section of your presentation, the following phrases are helpful, so the audience are clear you are moving on. ‘I’d now like to move onto the next part…’, ‘this leads me to my next point’, ‘now let’s turn to…’. Also, you may find you need to link information within your presentation to previous points. You can do this by using phrases such as ‘as I said at the beginning’, ‘this relates to what I was saying earlier’ and ‘let me go back to what I was saying earlier about’.
Often presentations will contain graphics, charts or graphs to help convey a message or share information (obviously this depends on the type of presentation) so the following phrases are helpful to get the message across – ‘I think the graph perfectly shows that…’, ‘let me use a graphic to explain’, ‘I’d like to illustrate this point by showing you…’.
If you are mid-way through your presentation and you think you have explained something incorrectly or unclearly or the audience have misunderstood something, you can paraphrase what you have said using simpler language. Some phrases to help with paraphrasing include – ‘in other words’, ‘to put it more simply’, ‘what I meant to say is’. To clarify the audience have then understood, you can use checking questions like ‘did I make myself clear?’, ‘does this answer your question?’.
When you get to the end of the presentation, make sure to give a summary and conclusion. In the summary, reiterate the important facts once again. To do this you can use phrases such as ‘I’d like to conclude by…’, ‘in conclusion, let me sum up my main points’. You can then finish the presentation by signing off with the following phrases, ‘that brings me to the end of my presentation. Thank you for listening/ your attention’, ‘thank you all for listening, it was a pleasure to be here today’, that brings me to the end of my presentation, thanks for your attention’.
Hopefully this will be a good starting point when you need to do a presentation, and if you follow this structure it will help to provide a stress free and smooth presentation! As always, please feel free to send me any feedback and share your experiences!
I am a native English teacher and TEFL qualified. I provide English lessons online via a secure platform and based around each students individual learning requirements. I cover all aspects of English language and conversation ..