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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Presentations in English - How to Give a Presentation - Business English

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Hi, Im Gina.

Welcome to Oxford Online English!

In this lesson, you can learn how to make a presentation in English.

Do you have to make presentations in English in your job?

Imagine you have to give an important presentation in English tomorrow.

How would you feel about it?

This lesson will help you learn useful phrases and techniques to introduce yourself and your

topic, keep your ideas organised, deal with problems, and respond to questions from audience


Imagine youre standing in front of your colleagues.

You need to introduce yourself and what your presentation is about.

What are some words and phrases you could use?

If some people in the audience dont know who you are, you should introduce yourself

and your position.

In a more formal setting, you could say something like this:

Good morning everyone.

For those who dont know me, my names Simon, and I work in the marketing department.

Or: Hello everybody.

Before we begin, let me introduce myself briefly: Im Reese and Im the head of HR.

If you work in a more informal company, you could say:

Hi guys; if you dont know me, Im Sylvia and I work in digital marketing.

Or: Hello!

I see some new faces, so Ill introduce myself first: Im Julia and Im one of

our customer service team.

Next, you need to introduce your topic.

If your presentation topic is simpler, you could just say one sentence, like this:

Today, Im going to be talking about our new HR policies and how they affect you.

Or: Id like to talk to you today about quality control and why were all responsible

for quality control, whichever department you work in.

If your topic is more complex, you might add more detail to break your idea into stages.

For example: Ill begin by outlining the policies, and

then Ill go on to highlight what they mean for you and your working habits.

Finally, Ill briefly discuss why we feel these new policies are necessary and beneficial

for us all.

Heres another example: First of all, Ill explain whyquality

controlhas a broader meaning than you might expect.

Ill continue by giving examples of real quality control, and why this matters for

all of us.

To finish, Ill be asking you to think of ways you can incorporate quality control into

your working habits.

Here, you saw two examples.

You can use these as templates to begin your presentation:

Ill begin byand then Ill

Finally, Ill

Or: First of all, Ill

Ill continue by

To finish, Ill

Okay, now you can practice!

Wed like you to do two things.

First, practice introducing yourself informally, and explaining your topic in a simple way,

with one sentence.

Then, practice introducing yourself formally, and explaining your topic in a more detailed


Pause the video and practice speaking.

All the language you need is in this section.


Lets move on!

Im sure that in your life, youve heard good speakers and bad speakers.

Good speakers grab your attention and dont let go.

You want to hear what they have to say.

You feel interested and energised by listening to them.

Bad speakers are the opposite.

Even if you try to make yourself listen, you find that your attention drifts away.

Your eyelids feel heavy, and you have to struggle to stay awake.

So, heres a question: whats the difference between good speakers and bad speakers?

And, how can you make sure you speak effectively when you make your presentation in English?

Heres one way to think about it: bad speakers dont think they have to earn your attention.

Good speakers understand that no one has to listen to them, so they work hard to make

you want to pay attention.

What does this mean for you, and your presentation?

Getting peoples attention starts from the beginning.

You need to make it clear what people should expect from your presentation, and why they

should care about what you have to say.

Sounds like a nice idea, but how do you do this?

Here are three techniques you can use.

One: establish a problem which many people in your audience have.

Then, establish that you have a solution to their problem.

For example:

Have you ever felt unfairly treated at work, or felt that the work you do isnt appreciated?

Weve been working to design new HR policies that will make sure all staff get fair recognition

for their contribution to the company.

In this way, you take a boring-sounding topic like HR policies, and you make it more relevant

to your audience.


By connecting it with their experiences and feelings.

The second technique?

Mention an interesting fact, or a surprising statistic to get peoples attention.

For example:

Did you know that the average office worker spends eight hours a day at work, but only

does four hours of productive, useful work?

Im here to tell you aboutquality control’, and how you can use this idea to make better

use of your time.

Finally, you can engage people by telling a short story and connecting it to your topic.

Stories are powerful, and they can add an emotional dimension to your topic if you do

it well.

For example:

I once met a young salesmanI wont mention his name.

He spent several weeks building a relationship with a potential client.

He worked overtime, and he was working so hard that he was under severe stress, which

started to affect his personal life.

In the end, he didnt close the dealthe clients signed with another firm.

Today, Im going to talk about confidence as a sales tool, and how you can avoid the

traps that this young man fell into.

Use one of these three techniques in your introduction to connect with your audience

and show them why they should be interested in what you have to say.

Heres a question for you: which technique would you prefer to use, and why?

Okay, now youve introduced your topic and you have everyones attention.

What next?

Theres a famous quote about making presentations:

Tell the audience what youre going to say; say it, and then tell them what youve


Have you heard this before?

Do you know who said it?

This comes from Dale Carnegie, a very successful American salesman and writer.

He lived a long time ago, but his advice is still relevant today.

So, heres a question: what does the quote mean?

It means that your presentation shouldnt just give information.

You also need to show people how your information is organized.

To do this, you need signposting language.

Let me give you an example to explain.

Imagine you go to a website.

The website is full of really useful, interesting information.

But, the information is all on one page.

Theres no organization, and you have to scroll up and down, up and down this huge

page, trying to find what you need.

Would you stay on that website?

Probably not.

Youll find a website which makes it easier for you to find the information you need.

Whats the point here?

The point is that having interesting or relevant information is not enough.

How you structure and organize your information is equally important.

If you dont structure your presentation clearly, people wont pay attention, just

like you wont stay on a website if you cant find the information you want.

So, how can you do this?

You use signposting language.

This means using words and phrases to show the audience where your points begin and end,

to show whats coming next, and to remind them about things you talked about before.

For example:

Okay, that covers the new policies.

Next, Id like to move on and discuss what these policies mean for you.

Or: Now that youve heard a bit about what not to do, lets focus on positive advice

to help you be more effective salespeople and close more of your leads.

When you say something like this, you arent giving people information about the topic

of your presentation.

Instead, youre showing people where you are, and where youre going next.

Its a kind of signpost.

You dont need signposts to travel from one place to another, but they can make it


What else can you use signposting language for?

You can use signposting language to move from one point to the next.

For example:

Next, Id like to talk about

Lets move on and discuss

Or: At this point, Id like to turn to

You can use signposting language to add detail to an idea:

Let me go into some more detail about

Lets examinein more depth.

Or: Id like to elaborate on

You can use signposting language to show that youve finished your main points, and youve

reached your conclusion:

To wrap up, lets remind ourselves of why this should matter to everyone here.

Lets review the key points from this session.

So, youve heard what I have to say.

What conclusions can you take away from this?

If you have an important presentation in English, practice using signposting language.

Use signposting language to move between points, to show when youre giving a summary or

going into more detail, and to signal that youve reached your conclusion.

Okay, but things dont always go so smoothly in real life.

We know that!

Lets look at some advice and language for dealing with problems during your presentation.

Imagine youre making your presentation in English.

What could go wrong?

What problems could you have?

There are many common problems:

You might forget where you were, or forget an important word.

You might realise that you said something wrong, or you didnt explain something clearly.

You might forget to mention something important.

Or, someone might ask you an awkward question, which you have no idea how to answer.

Of course, there are other possibilities!

Lets think about these problems.

What can you do, and more importantly, what can you say in these situations?

First of all, its a good idea to make a cue card with key points, as well as any important

vocabulary you need.

If you lose your place, or you forget a word, it could help.

However, you cant prepare for everything.

So, its useful to learn some phrases to deal with problems smoothly.

If you lose your place, and cant remember what to say next, you can use a filler phrase


Where was I?

So, what was I saying?

Whats the word in English again?

If you still cant remember, look at your cue card with your main points.

Of course, forgetting something isnt ideal.

But, if you do, its better to keep talking, rather than just standing there in silence.

What if you make a mistake, or you realise that you didnt explain something well?

You could say:

Let me rephrase that.

Actually, what I meant to say is

To clarify, I wanted to say that

In this way, you can correct yourself without admitting that you made a mistake!

What if you realise that you forgot to mention something important?

Use a phrase like this:

Let me just add one more thing:…

Id like to add something to a point we discussed earlier.

Let me return to an earlier point briefly.

Again, this allows you to correct your mistake in a confident way, so you look like youre

in control.

Finally, what do you do if someone asks you a difficult question, which you cant answer?

You have a few options.

First, you can delay giving an answer.

For example:

Ive allocated time for questions at the end of this session, so well address your

idea later.

Or: Im not in a position to answer that right now, but Ill get back to you later

this week.

This gives you time to think of an answer and do some research if you have to!

Next, you can deflect the question, by asking a question back, or maybe by asking other

audience members what they think.

For example:

Thats an interesting question.

Before I answer, Id like to know: whats your take on this?

Or: Youve raised an important point there.

What does everyone else think about this?

Finally, if the question is irrelevant, you can dismiss the question and move on.

For example:

Thanks for your input, but I dont see how thats connected to what Im saying.

I dont mean to be blunt, but I dont think thats relevant to todays discussion.

Notice how you can use phrases like thanks for your input, butor I dont mean to

be blunt, butto make your language more indirect and polite.

So, for dealing with difficult questions, just remember the three ds: delay, deflect,


Finally, we want to ask you something.

Do you have any advice for giving good presentations, in English or any language?

Wed love to hear your ideas!

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Remember to visit our website for more free English lessons: Oxford Online English dot


Thanks for watching!

See you next time!

The Description of Presentations in English - How to Give a Presentation - Business English