Check what you know about presentations.

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Мы поможем в написании ваших работ!


Check what you know about presentations.





до практичних занять та самостійної роботи над темою


для студентів ІІІ курсу напрямів підготовки

0305 Економіка та підприємництво та

0306 Менеджмент і адміністрування

денної форми навчання


Реєстраційний номер Схвалено

електронних методичних на засіданні кафедри

вказівок у НМУ ______________ іноземних мов

Протокол №

від 2008 р.


Київ НУХТ 2008

Іноземна мова (англійська мова): Метод. вказівки до практичних занять та самостійної роботи над темою “Presentations” для студентів ІІI курсу напрямів підготовки 0305 Економіка та підприємництво та 0306 Менеджмент і адміністрування денної форми навчання / Уклад.: Л.Ю. Шапран, Л.І. Куниця, Г.А. Чередніченко – К: НУХТ, 2008. – с. 101



Укладачі: Л.Ю. Шапран

Л.І. Куниця

Г.А. Чередніченко

Відповідальний за випуск Л.Ю. Шапран, завідувач кафедри, доц.




Методичні вказівки призначені для студентів ІV курсу напрямів підготовки 0305 Економіка та підприємництво та 0306 Менеджмент і адміністрування денної форми навчання.

Дані методичні вказівки розраховані на студентів, які вивчають англійську мову з метою використання її в професійній діяльності, в практичній роботі за кордоном або в межах країни при роботі з іноземними клієнтами.

Тематика, лексичний мінімум, система граматичних вправ спрямовані на досягнення головної мети.

Мета даних методичних вказівок – забезпечити лексико-граматичний мінімум та розвинути мовно-комунікативні навички проведення переговорів.

Дані методичні вказівки дають студентам основні і корисні ідеї, поради та стратегії, які допоможуть їм уміло і ефективно планувати, готувати і проводити презентації в сучасних умовах.

Дані методичні вказівки сприятимуть формуванню у студентів загальних та професійно орієнтованих комунікативних мовленнєвих компетенцій та є додатковим спонукальним мотивом до удосконалення навичок усного та писемного мовлення в професійній сфері.



In the world dominated by increasing globalization and fierce competition, business depends on alliances, joint ventures and partnerships. Consequently, business executives need to articulate their ideas effectively and efficiently. Some business managers have brilliant proposals, but they have trouble explaining them to others. As Bradbury rightly says, "Most business presentations do not achieve their intended purpose. Worse still, they frequently achieve nothing of any value." This is so, because quite often the presenter does not take pains to go through the rigorous process of preparing the presentation. So, if you want to be a successful business executive and sell your ideas and proposals, you will need to master the art of presentation. A presentation is an opportunity to share ideas with a group of important people. It is during your presentation, and possibly only then, that you have their attention focused. Therefore, you should not take this opportunity lightly. You may never get a second chance. The ability to give a great presentation can be a tremendous career booster, while the inability to do so can keep you on a dead-end path. No wonder, managers, whether experienced or new to the office, would like to hone their presentation skills.

Check what you know about presentations.

Answer the following true-false questions.

Then answer the same questions after you study the whole topic.

Are the answers different?

Are the following statements True or False?

1. An OHP is for the display of 35mm slides.

2. A document distributed to an audience is called a 'handout'.

3. There are only two ways in which we can modulate our voice.

4. Eighty percent of the information that we absorb is absorbed visually.

5. A barchart can be horizontal or vertical.

6. Active verbs are more powerful than passive verbs.

7. Signposting is a technique used only during the introduction of a presentation.

8. 'To rehearse' means 'to write'.

9. It is important to give as much information on a graphic as possible.

10. Indelible markers are intended for use with flipcharts, not whiteboards.



Unit 1 What Makes a Good Presentation?


· What is a presentation?

· What types of presentations do you know? Which of them do you see at the university? Which of them have you already used?



Exercise 1. What makes a good presentation?


You have three minutes to write your answer on a piece of paper.

Now compare notes with your partner and discuss.

Present your ideas to the rest of the class.



Exercise 2. Planning and getting started


The text below contains several recommendations for giving effective presentations. Scan the text to match the seven points below to the right paragraph, (a-g). You do not have to read the text in detail.

1. Choose visuals to support the presentation.

2. Have a simple, clear structure.

3. Show enthusiasm.

4. Use Power Point.

5. Making informal presentations.

6. Consider the audience.

7. Dealing with nerves.


What advice from Luis E. Lamela do you think is the most important?



(a) The key to a successful oral presentation is to keep things simple. I try to stick to three points. I give an overview of the points, present them to the audience, and summarize them at the end.


(b) My purpose or desired outcome, the type of audience, and the message dictate the formality of the presentation, the kind of visuals, the number of anecdotes, and the jokes or examples that I use. Most of my presentations are designed to sell, to explain, or to motivate. When I plan the presentation, I think about the audience. Are they professionals or nonprofessionals? Purchasers or sellers? Providers or users? Internal or external? My purpose and the audience mix determine the tone and focus of the presentation.


(c) When I make a presentation, I use the visuals as the outline. I will not use notes. I like to select the kind of visual that not only best supports the message but also best fits the audience and the physical location. Power Point, slides, overhead transparencies, and flip charts are the four main kinds of visuals I use.


(d) Power Point and slide presentations work well when I am selling a product or an idea to large groups (15 people or more). In this format, I like to use examples and graphs and tables to support my message in a general way.


(e) In small presentations, including one-on-ones and presentations where the audience is part of the actual process, I like transparencies or flip charts. They allow me to be more informal.


(f) I get very, very nervous when I speak in public. I handle my nervousness by just trying to look as if, instead of talking to so many people, I'm walking in and talking to a single person. I don't like to speak behind lecterns. Instead, I like to get out and just be open and portray that openness: "I'm here to tell you a story."


(g) I try very hard for people to enjoy my presentations by showing enthusiasm on the subject and by being sincere. I try not to use a hard sell – I just try to report or to explain – and I think that comes across. In addition, it helps that I am speaking about something that I very strongly believe in and something that I really, really enjoy doing.


Luis E. Lamela, February 11,1997

From Business and Administrative Communication by Kitty Locker, Irwin McGraw-Hili, 1998


Exercise 3. Listen to a group of management trainees talking about the preparation of presentations. They mention eight key areas, each represented by one of the pictures below. Number the pictures in order in which they are mentioned.

Comment on any of the points mentioned in the discussion you have heard. Which do you think are the most important?

Now arrange the areas in order of their importance (1-most important, 8 – least important). Be ready to comment on your choice.


Exercise 4. The audience

Read the comments from the audience who are listening to a presentation at an international conference. What caused the problem in each case?


a) "What on earth is he talking about?" "I have no idea!"

b) "Hey, Sarah! Wake up! He's finished!"

c) "Read that! I can't read that! I'd need a pair of binoculars!"

d) "Speak up! I can't hear a thing!"

e) "Summarize four main points? I only noticed one! Have I been asleep?"



Exercise 5. Look at the following situations.


Ø A medical conference in Tokyo with papers on new techniques in open heart surgery.


Ø An internal meeting of administrative staff to discuss a new accounting procedure.


Ø The Purchasing and Product Managers of a Taiwanese company interested in buying some production equipment from your company.


Ø A staff meeting to discuss a charity event for earthquake victims.



Imagine you have to give a brief presentation in two of the previous situations, plus one other situation that you decide on. Make brief notes on the following:


a) Will your talk be formal or informal?

b) What are the audience's expectations in terms of technical detail, expertise, etc.?

c) What is the audience's probable level of specialist knowledge? Are they experts or non-experts?

d) How long will your talk be: five minutes, twenty minutes, half a day, or longer?

e) What is your policy on questions? Will the audience interrupt or will they ask questions afterwards? Will there be any discussion?

f) How will you help the audience to remember what you tell them?



Exercise 7. Reading

Basic Presentation Skills


Now let us get down to the basics of presentation skills. First of all, you need to think about the topic, the audience, the occasion, the venue. Then, you have to collect, select, and organize your material. After that, you need to prepare aids, and rehearse your speech. Thereafter, you will present your ideas using effective language and body language. Finally, you will take questions from the audience and answer them. These steps to a presentation can be represented in the form of the following flowchart:




Now let’s consider these steps one by one.

Know your topic.

When choosing among possible topics, you should consider three questions:

1. Is the topic appropriate for your audience?

2. Is it appropriate for you?

3. Is it appropriate for the speech occasion?"

Topic is one of the two main aspects of a presentation: content and code, matter and manner, subject and style. Code, manner, and style refer to language and body language. Content, matter, and subject refer to ideas, thoughts, opinions, and information. Admittedly, the manner of our speaking is as important as the matter, because more people have ears to be tickled than understanding to judge.

Topic is the soul of a presentation. So, we cannot think of a presentation without a topic. In a good presentation we find a perfect fusion of matter and manner, subject and style. When a presenter fails to integrate the two, his performance falls short of being effective. Some speakers have brilliant ideas, but they are poor at presenting them. On the contrary, some presenters are amazingly magical in their expression, though they do not have world-shaking or cutting-edge ideas. In-between, we have people who have something to say but can't, and people who have nothing to say but keep on saying it.

The important point here is that topic is the backbone of a talk. A talk without a topic is like a flight without a navigator. Now, a crucial question is who chooses the topic? Well, there are two possibilities. The presenter can choose the topic; alternatively, the organizer may suggest a topic. So, when you are invited to speak, the first question you would like to ask is: What is the topic? Are you going to talk about business environment in India? Do you want to talk about the advantages of outsourcing work to India? Do your audience want you to tell them about the pitfalls of doing business in China or do they want some advice on doing business in Japan? Does your firm want you to speak about personnel motivation?

Theoretically, you are capable of handling any business related topic under the sun. However, the fact remains that different people are good at attacking different types of themes. By the same token, some people are good at statistical presentations, some are good at analytical presentations, and some are good at powerful persuasive speeches. People have their preferences, strengths and weaknesses. So, the individual speaker is the best person to know her own interest areas. She may be quite comfortable with certain topics and talk about them with facility. On the contrary, she may not feel at ease with some other subjects. If she thinks she cannot handle a particular area, it would be a wise gesture to tell the organizer frankly. If she does not do that, then she may end up making a fool of herself. As the old saying goes, nobody is perfect. An encyclopedia is the result of team effort, not the job of a single individual. William Hazlitt, an English essayist, wrote a wonderful essay titled 'Ignorance of the Learned' the moral of which is that all of us are ignorant in different ways. Wise people know what their strengths and weaknesses are and make their choices accordingly. If the presenter is not pragmatic enough to admit her ignorance and attempts to be a jack-of-all-trades, then she will lodge herself in deep waters. That was what happened to an anecdotal business executive who agreed to make a speech about 'Twenty-Point Program' launched by the government of India as a poverty eradication scheme. He did not know what the contents of the program were; neither did he attempt to find out. Consequently, this was the 'thesis' of his speech: "What's a twenty-point program? Well, it's a program with twenty points."

Know your audience.

Well, you know your topic, but do you know anything about the people you are going to address? Would it be an idea to gather some information about them? In my view, it is a good idea to have a comprehensive audience profile: their age group, gender split, education level, job type, experience, domicile, religious and political affiliation, their role models, their personality types, and of course, their expectations. I know this is a tall order! However, some information about your audience is necessary. In fact, a complete profile of the audience would be an ideal thing. Let me tell you that it is not difficult to produce an audience profile. The organizer of the presentation can arrange it for you.

Audience profile has many advantages. It can help you make your choices in terms of what to say and how to say it. Let me explain this with a couple of examples. Let us think of a situation where you are addressing semi-literate, rural audience, and your topic is Using the Internet to Export Farm Produce. Would it be a good idea to use technical words, formulae and jargon? Needless to say, it would not be a wise thing to do so. Instead, you would prefer everyday language and examples. On the contrary, when you are addressing business leaders, professors and researchers, you might like to use specialized terms and expressions. The choice of your language and illustrations will be determined by the educational level, and job profile of your listeners.

Additionally, you need to know the role models of your audience. As you know, Ho Chi Minh, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama are iconic personalities symbolizing national aspirations of Vietnamese, Indian, South African, and Tibetan people respectively. You may inadvertently say something unacceptable about these great personalities, which may offend your audience. Moreover, it is advisable to know whether you are addressing new audience or old audience. If you do not, then you might lodge yourself in a difficult situation like the following speaker: Once a popular speaker flew to Ho Chi Minh City to give a speech to a large gathering. Her topic was 'Foreign Investment in Vietnam'. She had given this talk so many times that she knew it by heart. When the driver picked her up at the airport, she asked him: 'Who are my audience this time?" "The same people you spoke to last year when you talked about Foreign Investment in Vietnam," the driver said.

Audience is central to communication as all communication is targeted at them. We cannot afford to ignore our audience or be indifferent to them or undermine their role. A presenter is a presenter by virtue of their existence and their attendance. In the absence of the listener, the speaker loses her identity as a presenter. Here, I would like to record that the nature of the audience has a direct bearing on the choice of the topic. Hence, the best topic is the one that suits your audience, you, the type of occasion, and the length of time you have. Just as you can enjoy talking on a subject you know well, or you are interested in, your audience can enjoy listening to a talk that attacks a topic relevant to their needs and interests. Your audience will listen willingly if your topic is of concern to them. Therefore, it is necessary to perceive their individual interests and their interest as a group.

Equally importantly, you need to have a clear understanding of your objectives. You can grab the attention of your audience and sustain their interest only if your objectives are clear. One simple way to understand the purpose of your presentation is to answer the questions: Why do your audience want to hear you? Why do you want to address them? You must define your general and specific purpose: to interest or amuse the audience, to inform or teach them, to stimulate or impress, to convince or persuade. When you know your audience and your objectives, you can use a variety of techniques to maintain audience attention: inviting them to participate, exercising their imagination, arousing their curiosity, role playing, stating striking facts and statistics, and telling a story.

Understand the occasion.

It is common knowledge that some occasions are informal and some occasions are formal. For example, a friendly gathering is an informal occasion and a business meeting or conference is a formal occasion. The topic, the style, and the occasion should match with one another. The speaker who loses sight of this common sense principle projects a poor image of herself. The audience will tend to conclude that the speaker is so much engrossed in herself that she forgets the demands of the occasion. Her aim is to express something she very much wants to, but has had no occasion to express. In all probability, such a speaker would turn out to be a big bore. When you know the nature and type of the occasion, it is easier for you to choose a topic that suits it.

To cut the long story short, if you want to succeed as a speaker, you should understand the dictates of the occasion.

Check the location.

The success of your presentation will depend on several factors. One, you need to understand your audience. Two, you need to know the nature and type of the occasion. Three, you should familiarize yourself with the location. If possible, you should visit the place a day or two before your presentation. You should see whether things are in working condition. When you visit the location, you can decide where to keep the lectern, the projector, video player, etc. You can decide where you will stand, where you will keep unused transparencies, and where you will keep the used ones. You can check the furniture, switchboards, fans, and other gadgets, and arrange an appropriate and convenient seating arrangement: oval, circular, etc. You can also check the acoustic conditions of the hall. This is important, because in some places the speaker's voice echoes. The hall may not be sound proof or may be on a busy and noisy street. In such circumstances, you will find it difficult to concentrate on your presentation. The audience will find it difficult too. At times, the hall may be too big for a small number of listeners; conversely, it may be too small for a big audience. In the former situation, people will get a feeling of emptiness; in the latter case, they will feel suffocated. This will adversely affect your presentation. You know you have prepared thoroughly and your material is very useful, relevant, informative and interesting; your tone is lively, interested, and enthusiastic; you sound very positive, friendly and straightforward; and you have a great sense of humor. All these qualities are, no doubt, important, but if the hall is too small or too big; the acoustic conditions are poor, the furniture is uncomfortable, the gadgets are old and decrepit, and the venue is noisy, then it is hard for a talk to succeed.

Collect your ideas.

Well, you have familiarized yourself with the audience, occasion and location. Now, it is time for you to gather material. Where do you get your material? Well, the first great source of material is your own head. You can brainstorm on the topic and jot down your own ideas. I am sure you have read something about the topic or heard some speeches or have thought about the topic. You can recollect your ideas, thoughts, experiences, and observations and write them down.

When you have brainstormed and listed your own ideas, you can look for more ideas in newspapers, magazines, books, and encyclopedias. Fortunately, there is no famine of ideas; they are floating around you all the time. You need to catch them and internalize them, personalize them, and support them with your own experiences and observations. Furthermore, you may interview some public speaker, specialist or expert, or discuss your subject with your friends, colleagues and family. Yet another source is the audio-visual library. You can have a look at its catalogues to identify relevant cassettes/DVDs, view them and select portions, which you think will add spice to your presentation. The audio-visual impact will enliven your speech.

The Internet is a rich source of information. You can get information about nearly any topic-advertising, managerial styles, personnel management, inflation, recession, equity markets, etc. And it is not at all difficult to access the Internet. Just get some website addresses, type them in the search box and hit the Enter key, and the whole magic box will display a wealth of data. It is an 'open sesame' to a flood of information.

Organize your ideas.

Knowing how much time you have is a key to selection and organization of your material, which in turn is a key to success. Organizing your speech is one of the most important skills you can learn. First of all, organization is often the key to understanding. The audience is more likely to understand your message if it is organized than if it is not. Second, you are more likely to include the best information, arguments, and evidence if your speech is organized than if it is not. Organizing a speech forces you to select, to prioritize, and to choose the best of the available information. Third, the audience is more likely to evaluate you positively if you sound organized. A well-organized presentation has three main sections: a beginning, middle, and an ending. The introduction must grab the audience attention. It should clearly state what the speaker is about to present and how it will be presented…. The body of the presentation must develop ideas clearly and logically, and connect them by means of appropriate transition…. Finally, the conclusion should be anticipated, never abrupt.

The introductory part of your speech is like the take-off and ascent of a flight. The main body resembles the journey between ascent and descent. The concluding part is similar to the descent and landing of a flight. As you know, the take-off and landing are very crucial stages. Nine of ten aviation accidents take place during these stages. Therefore, the captain has to be very careful. Your presentation is like a flight and you are like the captain of a flight. The introduction to your talk is like the ascent and the conclusion of your speech is like the descent of a flight. You must be extra careful when your speech is taking off and ascending, and equally watchful when it is descending and landing. The first and last impressions are lasting impressions.

Thus, the introductory part of your presentation catches audience attention and provides signposting from which they can extrapolate the direction of the presentation. The audience gets a clear map of how they will travel and what they will encounter on the way. So, how do you go about introducing your speech? Well, several strategies are available. You can start with a quotation, saying, proverb, epigram, joke, anecdote, aphorism, story, folktale, or a dramatic and controversial statement. You can open the talk in any way you like as long as you succeed in arresting the attention of the audience. Let us say, you are talking about the role of women in business and industry, you might start with the following words: (i) "Well, friends, I believe that God cannot be present everywhere. So, he created woman"; or (ii) "Well, friends, let me tell you that I spent the best period of my life in the arms of another man's wife – I mean, my mother!" Or, let us say, being the CEO of a famous car company, you are speaking about road accidents resulting from the poor quality of cars, you might start like this: "Dear customers, life is short. Let's not make it shorter! Use our cars. Your life is safe in our hands when our steering wheel is in your hands."

Having introduced the topic in an interesting way, you then proceed to develop the main body of your presentation. An effective body of a speech can be informative, persuasive, or amusing. An informative speech adds to the listener's knowledge; a persuasive talk presents a problem and proposes solutions. Depending on the type of presentation, you can develop your speech using various strategies: you can advance your arguments, supply the data, and provide examples. You can quote experts to support your argument, because authority, testimony, quotation, and evidence help you sell your ideas effectively. Moreover, it is a good strategy to support every idea with an illustration that is germane to the purpose of the talk. Being specific, definite and clear, a good illustration expresses the meaning forcefully.

Now let’s have a word about the concluding part of a presentation. What do you do to end your talk effectively? You arranged your ideas in a series, and climbed to a 'crescendo' step by step to gradually reach the climax. But this is just one way to reach the conclusion. An alternative way is the reverse of crescendo. In music parlance we call it 'diminuendo'. In the former case, the tempo rises and reaches the climax; in the latter, the tempo diminishes and finally dissolves. Different speakers choose different styles. Whether you select this style or that, you should plan your conclusion in advance, because if you think of it at the last moment, then you might end up projecting a poor image of yourself. Incidentally, once I witnessed a very embarrassing situation where speaker asked a guest sitting beside him how to conclude his speech. Expectedly, the audience giggled.

The foregoing discussion attests to the several advantages the structure of a presentation gives us. First, it draws audience attention and brings things into focus. Secondly, it holds people's interest. Experience tells us that it is difficult to hold human attention and interest for a long time, but structure helps us do that. A speech without organized ideas is boring and may be good for patients of insomnia or sleeplessness. Thirdly, a methodically presented speech helps people understand the message and perceive the links easily. Fourthly, it makes the message stay in public memory for a longer time. In brief, an organized presentation grabs and sustains audience attention, and achieves a lasting impact.

Rehearse your presentation.

Right! Now you are ready for the big moment. You chose the topic; prepared profiles of your audience, occasion, and location; you collected, selected and organized your material; and you created presentation aids. Now, you must ask yourself: "Would it be a wise thing to go to the podium and make the presentation? Shall I try it at home first?" If you are an experienced speaker, you can skip the rehearsal stage, but if you are a beginner or you are not fully confident, it is a good idea to rehearse your talk before you mount the platform.

At this point two questions are likely to surface to your mind. One, why should you rehearse? Two, where do you rehearse? Let me answer your second question first. Well, you can rehearse in front of a mirror or request some of your relatives, friends or colleagues to attend your presentation and be ruthlessly critical of the content and the manner. You can request a speechmaker, and a presenter to attend your talk. Or, you can do it by yourself: record your speech and play it again. Now, let me answer your first question. The advantages are obvious: practice makes perfect. Rehearsal improves performance. Your rehearsal audience can give you feedback on your pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and organization of ideas, body language, and time management. They can comment on the strengths and the weaknesses of your presentation. They can tell you which part of your speech was effective and which ineffective. In the light of their suggestions, you can edit your speech, refine your content and language, and get rid of faults in the structure, errors of logic, poor usage, irrelevant examples and quotations, and so on. Furthermore, rehearsal will help you check your timing and reduce your nervousness. Thus rehearsal helps you to improve your presentation skills through peer rating, self-rating and reflection.

Deliver your presentation.

Finally, the big moment has come! You find yourself standing on the dais. You have put in great effort; you have the cue cards ready to boost your confidence. You know you will not falter. The prompt cards will enable you to speak more freely, almost conversationally; they will also free you to look at your listeners. Your presentation aids are ready. The audience waits for the take-off. Luckily, your take-off succeeds in getting their attention; but you must use all your resources to maintain a grip on the audience. The two major resources that you have are language and body language.

Talking about these two resources, Tubbs and Moss observe, "For years two guidelines for effective delivery have been naturalness and poise. A speaker's delivery should not draw attention from the content of the message as it might, if it were overly dramatic or reflected lack of confidence…Good delivery involves much more than mere fluency in speaking. It includes the effective use of many visual and vocal cues: eye contact, hand gestures, posture, and general physical appearance as well as vocal quality, pitch, volume and rate of speech."

First, let’s talk about language. Language most shows a man: speak that I may see you. It springs out of the most retired, and inmost parts of us, and is the image of the parent of it, the mind. No glass renders a man's form, or likeness so true as his speech. Obviously, language plays a very crucial role in a presentation. Although the level of formality of the language will vary from occasion to occasion and topic to topic (for example, the formal expression 'bovine spongiform encephalopathy' and the informal term 'mad cow disease'), a good public speaker usually employs the familiar language of person-to-person conversation. She uses positive and polite language to bridge or at least reduce the distance between her and her listeners. The use of "I", "my," and "me" has distancing effect; on the contrary, "we," "our" and "us" have a zoom in effect. Thus her talk is personal and familiar like a chat. Everyone understands her meaning, because every sentence is plain and simple. She practices what Disraeli said: I make it a rule to believe only what I understand. I think this is a great idea! Your audience will not believe what they do not understand. Therefore, it is necessary to use short, simple words, and familiar examples. A good speaker uses technical language only when it is unavoidable. She uses words that say exactly what she means and uses images to sharpen her points. If her subject is abstract and complicated, she tries to present it in concrete and simple language. Occasionally, she can use sensual images and figures of speech. Her main guiding principle, however, is what Emerson said: "Speech is power to translate a truth into a language perfectly intelligible to the person to whom you speak".

How about tone of voice? Is it significant? Does it play an important role in communication? Yes, it certainly does. The following anecdote is evidence of its impact. G.K Chesterton, the British writer and critic, tried an experiment to test the effect of tone of voice on the listener. One day he went to a fish market to buy some fish. On that occasion something very revealing transpired between him and the woman waiting on him. To the woman waiting on him, Chesterton said in a low, endearing voice: "You're a noun, a verb, and a preposition." The woman blushed, because she felt flattered that such a cultured person saw these qualities in her. After buying the fish, Chesterton said in a rough, higher voice: "You're an adjective, an adverb, and a conjunction." The woman thought that Chesterton had said something bad of her and so gave him a resounding slap.

In short, your words, accent, tone of voice communicate meanings and messages, feelings and attitudes. Your language can make people feel flattered or can infuriate them; it can interest them or bore them. That is why you need to be very careful while choosing words and tones.

However, language is just one aspect of communication; body language is another facet, which is equally important, or perhaps more important. Let us take the case of eye contact, for instance. Our eyes send messages and receive impressions from another person's eyes. What can we see in our audience's eyes? Well, we can read a whole lot of messages – interest, willingness, comprehension, satisfaction; incomprehension, boredom, irritation, etc., because all our souls are written in our eyes. The interchange of looks is the first step toward rapport. If you have to read your speech, your eyes are riveted on the text and you cannot look at the audience. Eye contact is like a lubricant; it reduces friction, acts as an adhesive and binds people together. Just as an accelerator increases the speed of your vehicle, your eye contact speeds up your listener's comprehension. When you look them in the face, they understand faster and better.

Gestures and facial expressions greatly contribute to the effectiveness of your speech. Nobody would like to listen to a speaker with a stone face, because a speaker is not a statue. Gestures and expressions help you illustrate your ideas, express your attitudes, and regulate your interaction with your audience. Moreover, gestures can emphasize, highlight, complement or contradict the verbal message.


Answer the questions.

What a relief! You have finished your speech and you might think that your job as a presenter is over. But wait a minute. Your audience has several questions, which you need to answer. He has a question here and she has a question there! Your presentation will be complete when you have answered their questions. Incidentally, not every question will be sensible. Only one in five may be an intelligent question. However, you cannot afford to lose your patience; you have to keep calm. Poise is very important, because poise is the ability to continue speaking fluently while the other fellow is picking up the cheque.

Just as there are several types of questions (factual, probing, etc.), there are different motives behind questions. As they say, "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers". Someone raises a question because she wants people to notice her presence. This man here has a different perspective on the issue under discussion and so voices a question. That woman over there would like you to answer her question, because she has not understood a particular point you made. The gentleman sitting in the first row wants more clarification. That gentleman in the corner wants you to repeat a large chunk of your talk, because it was beyond his comprehension. In such a situation you should not say what a popular orator once said to one of his listeners. One day, one of his listeners said to him: "Mr. Speaker, it was a very good speech, but certain points were beyond my reach." The speaker looked up and said: "I'm sorry for you. I once had a dog that had the same trouble with fleas." (Reader's Digest, 1972, p. 506).

Asking intelligent and probing questions is an art; answering them convincingly is an art too. The first thing you should do is to welcome the question. If necessary, compliment the questioner on her question. First, say that it is a probing, intelligent, good question and then answer it. If you do not know the answer, tell the questioner you do not have the answer and apologize to her for not being able to provide a satisfactory explanation. There are several ways to assure the questioner that you want to help her. You may appeal to the audience to try to answer her question. I am sure they will not mind helping out at all. In fact, they will be glad to help out. In case they do not have the answer, you may leave your email address with the questioner and request her to email the question to you. Alternatively, you can direct her to a particular article in a specific journal where she may find an answer to her question.

There are several ways to handle questions. Things will be easier if you are a ready-witted presenter. That reminds me of an anecdote about Einstein. As you know, Einstein used to be invited all over to talk about his theory of relativity. Because of extensive traveling and busy schedule he sometimes felt terribly exhausted. One day, he was so fatigued that he was in no mood to deliver a talk. Seeing his plight, his chauffeur, Hans, asked him to relax and volunteered to deliver a speech on relativity. When the surprised Einstein asked him how he would manage to talk on such a complex scientific topic, he said that he would be able to speak on the topic as he had heard Einstein so many times that he had the theory by heart.

Done! Einstein sat among the audience while Hans roared on the stage and was given a thunderous applause after his speech. But he saw a problem brewing when a naughty professor shot a knotty question at him. Hans could not have answered it as he had just parroted the theory of relativity without understanding even an iota of it. However, he did not lose his poise. He said to the professor, "Professor, that's a very simple question. My chauffeur, who is among the audience, will answer it." Luckily for Hans no one knew that the man sitting in the audience was Einstein who then got up and thundered a brilliant answer to rescue Hans! This could happen because Hans was ready-witted.


We have discussed the various stages to presentation. First, you need to select a subject of the presentation: it is the anchor of your presentation. Secondly, you need to be clear about the purpose of your speech: to give a general introduction to lay people, to describe findings to experts, or to engage in a dialogue with the audience Thirdly, you need to familiarize yourself with the location, occasion, and audience. The more you know about them, the better. Is the presentation hall damp, smelly, noisy, air-conditioned? Is necessary furniture in place: a platform, podium, etc.? Is the public address system working? How about distractions and interruptions? Is it a quiet place or a noisy one? What kind of occasion is it? Is it a formal, informal, or casual occasion? You must find out answers to these questions. You need to familiarize yourself with your audience too, because your presentation is a joint venture, a common pursuit, and a co-operative endeavor between you and your audience.

Then, you enter the second major phase of preparation. You pool your ideas, views, statistics, etc. You need some incubation period to internalize the information. During this stage, you can test the validity of your ideas, think about them, and look for illustrations to support those ideas. You must take care to keep your material flexible; for example, you can use old material from earlier presentations, but you must remember that earlier occasion, audience, and objectives were different. This awareness will enable you to adapt your material to suit the new occasion and audience. Having collected your material, you need to structure your presentation in a manner that best suits your purpose: logically, argumentatively, or chronologically. You may present a case when your aim is to convince the audience of your opinion. Alternatively, you can present your ideas in a narrative way, in the form of a story. But, your story must be relevant to your objectives. Furthermore, it should form a part of an overall structure, make a particular point, and must be well told. Then, you have to introduce, develop, and conclude your talk. The introduction should be dramatic enough to whet audience appetite, arrest their attention and focus their thinking. The body of your presentation is the longest part and so you must use your resources such as humour to maintain audience interest. Finally, the ending should contain the THESIS (THESIS being an acronym for THE Speech In a Sentence) of your speech.

Wait a moment. Your preparation is not yet complete. You will require other resources such as graphics to enhance the impact of the structure of your presentation. It is common knowledge that presentation aids add spice to a presentation. You can use them to demonstrate a process or an event, to add a professional touch to your talk and to make it memorable. However, you should not show endless sequences of visuals. Moreover, you need to handle your presentation aids carefully. A video in a wrong order, or slides and transparencies in a wrong sequence will create an undesirable impression. Furthermore, you should use audio-visual aids as supporting materials; too many of them may take over your presentation. More importantly, you should check whether your presentation aids jell with your overall perspective, because it is occasionally the case that they present a differing emphasis.

By now your material preparation is over, but you need to rehearse the presentation in order to be mentally ready for the job. A main advantage of rehearsal is that you can overcome nervousness. You may be nervous, because (i) it is your first performance, (ii) you think you will not come up to audience expectation, (iii) you fear you will dry up in the middle and make a fool of yourself, or (iv) you are afraid you will not find the right word, remember a point, an example or a story.

Now you can claim that you are ready to for the task. The rehearsal is over and you can present your ideas. While doing this, you establish rapport and camaraderie with your audience, entertain them, and make them feel comfortable. You should see to it that you do not undermine your audience or threaten their image. You need to create a co-operative climate, be courteous, receptive, flexible, responsive and professional in you approach. You need to maintain a right degree of formality, control your enthusiasm, display a good sense of humor and move your presentation forward step by step.

It is equally important to use clear, precise, appropriate, dynamic and pleasing simple language. Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass, "The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity." Easy grammar and simple, concrete, specific, vivid and sensory vocabulary is listener friendly. Personal language (I, We, You, Sung, Shintaro, etc.) is better than impersonal language (one, somebody, a person, people, etc.). Moreover, verbs are more effective than nouns. Remember that tones, pauses, silences, sentence stress, gestures, facial expressions, and postures convey messages and attitudes. Finally, you should welcome questions from the audience and answer them. You can answer most questions using your common sense and experience.

If you follow the steps and tips offered in this article you will be able to make effective presentations.



First of all, let's define what we mean by 'presentation'. For our purposes, we mean: ‘a short talk by one person to a group of people introducing and describing a particular subject (for example: a new product, company figures or a proposed advertising campaign)’.

This is a narrow definition. In reality, presentations may be given by more than one person, are not necessarily short and are not necessarily a 'talk' since they may be by video, Internet etc.


Basics of presentation

· preparation

· structuring

· language

· signposting & linking

· visual aids

· body language

· audience rapport


Good preparation is very important. Good preparation and planning will give you confidence. Your audience will feel your confidence and have confidence in you. This will give you control of your audience and of your presentation.

Consider these points when preparing:


'Why am I making this presentation?'

Your objective should be clear in your mind.



'Who am I making this presentation to?'

How many people? Who are they? Business people? Professional people? Political people? Experts or non-experts? A small, intimate group of 4 colleagues or a large gathering of 400 competitors?



'Where am I making this presentation?'

A small hotel meeting-room or a large conference hall? Facilities and equipment? Seating arrangements?


Time and length

'When am I making this presentation and how long will it be?'

Will it be 5 minutes or 1 hour? Just before lunch, when the audience is hungry, or just after lunch, when the audience is sleepy?



'How should I make this presentation?'

Formal or informal? Lots of visual aids or only a few? With or without anecdotes and humour?



'What should I say?'

Include only relevant information. Create a title for your presentation. The title will help you to focus on the subject. Prepare your visual aids, if any.


Speech Preparation

Choose Topic Gather Information Research Select Organize Write Practice Revise Rehearse Present



Organise your presentation in a logical structure. Most presentations are organised in three parts, followed by questions:


- welcome your audience

- introduce your subject

- explain the structure of your presentation

- explain rules for questions


Main body of presentation

- present the subject itself



- summarise your presentation

- thank your audience

- invite questions


+ Questions



Try to appear as spontaneous as possible. Do not read your presentation. Reading a text is boring and will send your audience to sleep! Use notes to remember everything you need to say. Some people make notes on small, A6 cards. Some people write down just the title of each section of their talk. Some people write down keywords to remind them.



Practise your presentation two or three times so that you:

- become more familiar with what you want to say

- identify weaknesses in your presentation

- can practise difficult pronunciations

- can check the time that your presentation takes and make any necessary modifications


The presentation itself

Most presentations are divided into 3 main parts (+ questions):

- Introduction

- Main Body

- Conclusion


As a general rule in communication, repetition is valuable. In presentations, there is a golden rule about repetition:


In other words, use the three parts of your presentation to reinforceyour message:

In the introduction, say what your message is going to be.

In the main body, say your real message.

In the conclusion, say what your message was.


Practice 1

Use the notes below to prepare a brief introduction to talk on safely for a manufacturing company.


New safety conditions for production staff 1. Protective clothing 2. Training in accident prevention 3. Changes to working practices Questions / discussion


Listen to the recording of a model answer after you have given your own version.



Practice 2

Give a one minute introduction only to a talk on any topic you like! If you cannot think of a topic, choose from the list below:

your hometown your favourite sport tourism

your very first job eating out vacations

a thing you really like your previous job your hobbies


Prepare an introduction to a short talk on one of the following:

your company and / or its products / services

any company you know well

an institution that you know well.


Decide who the audience is. Make notes. Look at the Skills Checklist and remember in particular to consider the points under the heading Audience. Look at the Language checklist.

Do not write the whole text. When you are ready, practice your introduction. If you can, make a recording. When you have finished, answer the following questions:

· Did you make a recording? If you did, listen to it now.

· Does the recording sound well prepared and competent?

· Did you read everything you said from detailed notes?

· Did you talk using only brief notes?

· Did you speak clearly and not too fast?

· Did you outline the topic, structure and content of your talk?

· Did you refer to audience questions and to discussion?

· How could you improve your introduction?



Language Note



1. Greeting the audience: "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen" "Good afternoon, everybody"   2. Introducing yourself "Let me take a minute to introduce myself. " "My name is ________ and I represent _______." 3. Introducing the subject: "My purpose today is to introduce our new range of..." "I am going to talk about..." "The subject of my talk is ... " "I'd like to give you an overview of ... " 4. Outlining the structure: * "My talk will be in (three) parts. First ... Second ... Third/Finally…" "I’ve divided my presentation into three parts. First, I’ll talk about ... Second ... Third ... " 5. Timing "My talk will take about ten minutes. "   6. Policy on questions / discussion "Please interrupt if you have any questions." "I'll try to answer any of your questions after the presentation." "After the presentation there will be time for any questions (and a discussion). "   7. Ending the introduction "That's all for the introduction. " "So that concludes the introduction. "  

*When you drive on the roads, you know where you are. Each road has a name. Each town has a name. And each house has a number. You can look at the signposts for directions. It is easy to navigate the roads. You cannot get lost. But when you give a presentation, how can your audience know where they are? 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 'signalling' / 'sequencing' / 'ordering'). Use this technique in all three parts of your presentation: introduction, body and conclusion!

Quick Communication Check



Complete the spaces in the five opening sentences of presentations.


Presentation structure


The classic presentation has three parts. Here are six sentences from the introduction to a presentation. Put them in the right order.


a) I'm going to talk about the new organization of our European Sales.

b) Afterwards you can ask any questions or say what you think.

c) Good afternoon, everyone. My presentation today is about changes in our organization.

d) Finally I'll describe the new arrangement - the new system.

e) First I'll describe the current situation - how things are now.

f) Then I'll explain why we have to change this.

Practice 1

The information below is part of a Product Manager's notes for a presentation on an advertising mix for a new range of beauty products, with the brand name Cheri. He is talking to a marketing team set up to promote the new range. Use the notes to give a short summary of the information using listing techniques.


Begin as follows:

"Good morning, everyone. I'd like to talk about the advertising mix for the new Cheri range of beauty products. We are planning two categories of advertising, above-the-line and below-the-line, I'll talk first about ..."



Merchandising: Any direct efforts to encourage sales of a product, increase consumer awareness, etc.

Above-the-line advertising: Mass media advertising, such as television, radio and newspaper.

Below-the-line advertising: Forms of advertising at the point of sale or directly on the product, such as packaging, store displays, etc.


Now listen to a recording of a model presentation.


Practice 2

You are a design consultant working for Land Inc., a New York-based financial services company. The company plans to build new offices for its European headquarters in Brussels. There are three proposals for the design. Present an overview of each proposal to senior executives of the company.


a) Fox Lee Associates: British -$6.0m -conventional air conditioning and heating system -Neo-classical design b) Shikishima: Japanese -$8.5m -ultra-modern -solar energy-based heating and air-conditioning
c) Harald Khaan Group: American -$8.0m -20% more office space -low running costs, conventional heating - modern design -exceptional energy conservation  



Practice 3

Prepare an informal presentation on a topic of your own choice.

• It does not have to concern your work or studies but should be a topic which interests you.

• Think about having a clear introduction (see Unit 2) and a clear structure.

• Include visual aids (see Unit 6) if you like.

Give the presentation to your colleagues.


Exercise 6. Reading.


Read the following article and write its summary in 300 words.



The most important element of an oral presentation is, of course, the content and ideas you are trying to communicate. However, the communication of content is often impeded by a poor manner of delivery. 'Delivery' is the way in which you actually deliver or give your presentation.


Nervous Mannerisms

What do you do when you are nervous?

Everyone has different reactions to nervousness. By being aware of your particular nervous mannerism, you can work to overcome them.

Here are some common mannerisms exhibited when giving a speech.

Do you do any of them?

- Bite your fingernails

- Tap your feet

- Wave your hands/arms

- Play with your hair

- Move around a lot

- Speak too fast

- Speak too slowly

- Become stiff

- Shake/Shudder

- Play with objects in pockets, etc.

- Make strange facial expressions

- Say ?uh???uhm?

- Tap on the table/podium

- Repeat yourself

- Breathe heavily

- Sweat

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