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The language of presentations
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In Part 2.1. we looked at the basics of slides design. This part offers a range of expressions which will enable you to comment on the slides with directness, clarity and naturalness.
Developing presentation skills means learning to choose the most appropriate words and phrases that communicate your ideas in the most effective and persuasive way. A good presenter is supposed to be able to support his point with relevant arguments and facts, to explain the pluses and minuses of a suggested solution, to outline the outcomes of an action. He or she is also expected to describe and interpret diagrams, attract the listeners’ attention to certain facts, to move smoothly from one part to another. All these abilities are based, in the first place, on the knowledge of key expressions which convey certain stereotyped meanings and intentions (or language functions).
The key expressions given here are divided into groups according to their function. Wherever it appears essential, there are some short notes and examples to illustrate their use and meaning. Each point begins with a key phrase. Possible options to continue some of them are given in brackets.
2.2.1. Introducing yourself
If you haven’t been introduced to the audience, the first thing you have to do is to introduce yourself, the organization you represent and the topic of your presentation. This information should be on the title slide.
Good morning (afternoon), ladies and gentlemen. (a formal greeting)
Good morning (afternoon). Thank you all for coming.
I’ll be talking about …
I’m here to present a PR (communication) campaign that concerns …
2.2.2. Presenting the agenda
The audience needs to know what points you are going to cover. Otherwise your presentation might look unorganized. Besides, an articulate plan will make it easier for the listeners to follow your presentation. So, it is a good idea to fix the plan on a slide in a form of a numbered list. Look at the expressions to outline the agenda.
You can see from this slide that I’m going to cover three points.
I’ve put the plan of the presentation on this slide.
At the beginning of the presentation I’ll ….
First, I’m going to outline the problem…
Second, I’d like to …
I’m going to begin with…
Then I’ll move to ….
The next thing to discuss is ….
Then we’ll look at ….
I’ll also go over ( the strategy of) ……
Then I’d like to explain …
Next, I’ll consider …
I will also talk about …
As a last point, I’ll ….
2.2.3. Changing slides
When you put up a new slide, it means that you intend to move on to a new topic. You should signal this intention with one of the following expressions.
On the next slide you can see ….
This slide shows...
Here is the next slide. It shows…
Let’s look at this slide.
Now let me show you …
Let’s move on and discuss ……
Shall we now turn to …….
Now, we’ll move on to ….
I’d now like to change direction and talk about ….
Now let’s focus on ….
I have explained …. Now let’s talk about….
Let’s look at …, which is (are) on the following slide.
The slide summarizes (the strategy).
2.2.4. Raising the issue
If there has been a sufficient public concern about the issue you are going to talk about, say so. It will guarantee you the listeners’ interest and attention at least for the first three minutes of the talk.
As you may know, there has been a concern about ….
There has been a lot of discussion about ….
There have been certain warning sights that ….
……… has been in headlines recently.
……… has been discussed in the press recently.
2.2.5. Introducing the research results
According to the research results …
The research shows that …
The survey has shown that …
Let me comment on the figures.
To prove the point I’m going to show you these figures….
2.2.6. Explaining the visuals
This graph/flowchart/pie chart/ shows that …
Here is a table that illustrates what I’m saying.
This slide contains all the statistics.
The pie chart presents the results of …. As you can see, ….
From this table you can see that …
The vertical axis shows …
The horizontal axis shows…
The diagram offers an explanation of how … (acid rain is formed).
If you use a picture or a diagram, you might need to explain what each element represents.
Look at the rough sketch of a diagram below. It has some words and phrases you can use to say what the elements are and where they are.
1. The arrows in the middle of the diagram represent the main sources of acid rain.
2. The key in the bottom right-hand corner explains the symbols used on the diagram.
In the chart below there are some phrases to explain a table.
Now let’s look at the phrases to describe trends shown by graphs.
… has risen/increased (sharply/steadily/sufficiently/dramatically/slightly).
There has been a/an (slight/sharp/steady/sufficient) increase/rise in ….
……… has gone up to … (number).
… rose over the period from … to ….
This graph shows an increase in (the number of dog owners).
… has fallen/dropped/decreased/reduced (sharply/steadily/gradually/sufficiently/ dramatically/ slightly).
There has been a decrease/drop/fall in …..
… has gone down to … (number).
… decreased over the period from … to … (over the following months).
We can see a significant drop in (the number of dog owners).
NOTE. 1. Before you use an adjective or an adverb like slightly or dramatically, make sure you know what they mean exactly. For example, the solid lines represent gradual changes.
2. Notice that an adverb comes after the verb it describes, whereas an adjective comes before a noun.
… peaked last year.
… reached a high (a low) point.
2.2.7. Looking at detail
If you want to highlight some key features in the graph or a chart, which are important for understanding your point, use one of the following phrases.
Let’s look at the figures on this slide more closely.
It is interesting to note that ….
I’d like to draw your attention to…
As you see, ….
I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that….
As you may have noticed ….
Let’s look at the figures ….
It’s interesting to note that ….
Notice that ….
2.2.8. Summarizing the research results
To sum up, the research results reveal that ………(give a conclusion)
From what we have seen, the main conclusion is ………
The analysis of the situation shows that ……….
The information I’ve gathered proves that ……….
2.2.9. Connecting the cause and result
… is due to ….
…………. The main cause for this is ….
……… has resulted in ……….
………. As the result of this, …….
……… leads to…….
………. As a result, ……….
To sound more sophisticated, you may speculate about the probability of the results.
……… is bound to lead to …. (99,9999 %)
……… is highly likely to lead to …… (≈ 90%)
……… is likely to lead to ……… (≈ 80%)
……… may/might result in …… (≈ 50%)
……… the actions should have the following positive outcomes.
……… the projected results are on this slide.
2.2.10. Identifying the problem(s) and suggesting the solution(s)
There are several problems. The first one is …. Second, ….
The problem is ….
……… (describing the situation) So, the situation is rather disappointing/really serious.
So, what can be done to improve the situation?
Apparently, something has to be done to change the situation/to solve the problem.
There are two possible solutions to this problem.
The first solution is …….
As an alternative, we could ….
We could take the following steps….
The following actions could/can bring positive results.
I suggest taking the following steps.….
I suggest that we do the following ….
I have formulated the problem. Now I’ll outline the action points.
To overcome the problem we should ……….
1. The verb suggest takes the –ing form of the verb or that + a SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT phrase.
2. When making recommendations or suggesting a strategy, you may want to give a list of key points. These points can be expressed using that means + the –ing form of the verb.
We need to improve results and that means getting more customers and encouraging existing customers to return.
2.2.11. Stating the aim, formulating the objectives
Once the situation or a problem is understood, the next step is to establish objective for the programme. It is important to remember that an objective is usually stated in terms of programme outcomes, not inputs. For example: ‘create awareness of ….’; ‘educate the target audience on …’; Or ‘increase the number of people visiting ….’
The goals the campaign is aiming to achieve are the following.
Now, I’ll outline the objectives.
The main aim is to ….
This slide sets the objectives.
I’ve formulated three objectives.
Last, but not least, ……….
2.2.12. Moving from the aim to the strategy
A strategy is how, in concept, an objective is to be achieved, providing guidelines and themes for the overall program. It also defines the ideas, information and messages the public should be made aware of.
As I said before, the main aim is ………. Now let’s focus on how we can achieve this.
This slide maps out the strategy of action.
Here are the key messages and themes for our publicity materials.
I’ve outlined the basic concept of the progamme on this slide.
2.2.13. Outlining the tactics
As you know, tactics is a list of concrete measures or steps to put the strategy into operation. It shapes out, for example, how the key publics will be reached.
Now I’m going to talk about what the programme includes …
Now, look at the activities plan.
As you see from this slide I’ve scheduled the following activities.
I suggest that we begin with …. Then we should …. Next ….
2.2.14. Identifying the target audience
Here are the groups of public we need to reach.
I’ve put the key publics on the slide.
2.2.15. Suggesting the communication channels
I’ve listed the communication channels to reach the audience.
I suggest using the following channels.
2.2.16. Talking about the pluses and minuses
The pluses of ……… are ……….
The advantages are……….
As well as pros, there are some cons.
There are certain minuses …
The main disadvantage is ……….
The key advantage is ….
The minuses are obvious.
There are several points on both sides.
On the one hand …. On the other hand ….
2.2.17. Repeating and paraphrasing what has already been said
In other words,….
That is to say, ….
To put it another way, ….
Let me rephrase that.
As I said earlier in the talk, …. (you mean, you want to return to something you said earlier).
Earlier in the talk, I mentioned …
2.2.18. Referring to the sources
I used information from (several useful professional journals such as ………). These journals have websites providing up-to-date information. I’ve made a list of addresses.
I also used examples/ideas/data from
2.2.19. Welcoming questions and comments
I have covered the points I needed to present today.
We have time for a few questions.
Are there any questions or comments?
I would be glad to answer any questions you might have.
2.2.20. Saying thank you
I’d like to thank you all for your attention.
Thank you for listening
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