Mastering the art of presenting takes time and practice. Nobody is born with natural presentation skills and even the best orators, such as Cicero, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama, had many years of practice before they became excellent public speakers.
People love listening to a well-presented story; hence the success of popular speeches and platforms such as TED talks. In our increasingly globalized world, presenting in English has become common practice within Dutch companies as cross-border business relations continue to grow. Brace yourself for impending change ahead and improve your presentation skills by learning a list of key phrases provided below.
Preparation is key
If English is not your native language, you might want to allocate some extra time for preparation. Effective preparation requires the consideration of a number of things:
- Who will be your audience?
- What would they like to know?
- Where will the presentation take place?
- And how long will you have to make your point?
Introducing yourself and your theme
The first few seconds of your introduction are the most important as you need to establish rapport with your audience. Give a brief introduction of yourself and your theme before launching into the fine details. Consider this to be symbolic of a first handshake.
Useful phrases to kick-off your presentation:
- “Hello, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming…”
- “The topic on today’s agenda is…”
- “Let’s get the ball rolling”
- “Shall we get started?”
Provide an outline of the agenda
Most people want to know what to expect from a presentation up front. You need to provide your audience members with a clear outline to manage their expectations and give them a reason to listen to you. Try to memorize catchy headlines to grasp their attention. Let the audience know when they can ask questions; during or after the presentation.
Useful phrases to help define your agenda:
- “I’d like to give you a brief outline of my presentation…”
- “Here is the agenda for the meeting…”
- “My presentation consists of the following parts…”
- “I’d like to begin by…”
Use signposting to transition between parts
Signposting is a term used to define the phrases applied between different parts of the main body of the presentation. When driving on roads, we refer to signposts to tell us where to go and what to expect. This will also help your audience anticipate movement from one topic to another.
Useful phrases for transition between parts:
- “Next, we’ll move on to…”
- “For example…”
- “Let’s consider this point in more detail”
- “This leads me to the next point…”
Summarizing your presentation
Much like the introduction, the summary of your presentation is an essential component of the total package. Providing a clear and concise summary will allow your audience to recall and retain the key elements of your presentation.
Useful phrases for summarizing:
- “Let’s summarize briefly what we’ve looked at today…”
- “In conclusion…”
- “Let’s sum up, shall we?”
- “I’d like to sum up the main points…”
Practice, practice, practice
Many people fail to deliver an effective presentation simply because they underestimate the value of thoughtful preparation. Practice by rehearsing your presentation with a friend, your spouse or a colleague who is willing to provide you with constructive feedback.
Good luck with your presentation!