At some time in your business career you are likely to have to give a presentation, this may be a formal presentation at a conference, a more informal talk to staff or a short presentation as part of a meeting. Often, this is a chance to improve your career prospects, or conversely to damage your chances of future promotion. In the next few columns, I will look at the language of presentations. Like much of business English, presentations have a fairly set structure and it helps to learn a few phrases.
At the beginning, you should introduce yourself and state the purpose of your presentation. For example look at the two openings below, the first is informal and the second more formal.
1) Right then, let’s get started. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m John Smith, Head of PR. Today, I’m going to be showing you……….
2) Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Let me first introduce myself, my name is John Smith and my role in Jarndice and Jarndice is Head of Public Relations. This morning my objective is to ………
Once you have greeted the audience and introduced yourself, you must then explain the content of your presentation. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the most common method is to outline briefly the structure. To do this you should use some connectors or signaling language. For example, look at the presentation introduction below and note the language highlighted.
My presentation will look at three key areas. Firstly/I’ll begin by introducing the …………. After that, I’ll talk about the need to………….. Finally, I will explore possible solutions to………. .
Unlike writing, a presentation has no paragraphing to help an audience know when the speaker is changing subject or concluding his remarks. So this signaling language is crucial in the main part of the presentation too, and will help the audience understand and appreciate your presentation.