Public speaking is something that many of us will have to master at some point in our careers. Now let's add to that having to speak in a second language, an extra challenge!
Before I embarked on my journey into teaching, I worked for a technology SME
. During my time there, I was lucky enough to have many opportunities to learn different business skills - one of which was public speaking/presentation.
Personally, I used to be terrified of public speaking. I had many 'rabbit caught in the headlights' moments. Luckily, with time, practice and mentoring from my boss Andy, I was able to build up my confidence. He gave me some excellent tips that still help me today that are also useful for presenting in English.
These are the tips I want to share with you today!
How can I give a good presentation in English?
Starting with a smile doesn't just light up the room, it sets a positive and welcoming tone. What's more, smiling is a little psychological trick that helps you feel more relaxed.
2. Take a deep breath
Before you start speaking, take a deep breath and a pause. This will help calm any nerves you have and help you to start with a clear mind.
3. Speak slowly
One of the most common problems with public speaking is that our mouths move faster than our minds. Adrenaline speeds everything up and this can cause us to stumble over our words or lose our train of thought. Speaking slowly allows our brains to catch up and is doubly helpful when speaking in a second language as we can pronounce words more easily. This means our audience is more likely to understand us.
4. Project your voice
You want everyone, even the person at the back, to hear what you've got to say. So, ensure your voice reaches every corner by speaking with a clear, strong voice.
5. Speak with enthusiasm
Which presentations have stuck with you the most? For me, it's definitely the ones that were full of passion, fire and enthusiasm. I love it when I walk away feeling inspired and full of new ideas! Enthusiasm helps to keep the audience engaged and makes you memorable.
6. Minimal text on slides
Keep it simple and let your words do the talking. Slides should support, not dominate your presentation. It's more engaging for the audience when there's less to read and more to listen to. I prefer to use more pictures and less text - sometimes even no text!
7. Keep fonts and colours simple
You want your slides to be easy to read, not distracting and act as a visual aid to help you stay on track. A simple and consistent design ensures that the focus remains on the content you are talking about.
8. Use notes not a full script
Using short, bulleted notes can help you not miss anything. A full script is a bad idea as it's easy to lose your place and you're likely to be looking at a piece of paper and not engaging with your audience. If you can manage it, having no notes is the best way!
9. Silence or a pause can be positive
A pause adds emphasis and gives your audience a moment to digest. Also, if you lose your train of thought, a short pause is far better than filler words or thinking noises. There's nothing more distracting than someone saying "um" every few seconds!
10. Prepare and rehearse
For me, this is the most important part of a successful presentation. I've noticed a noticeable difference in how confident I feel when I've done a lot of preparation compared to when I haven't. Preparation allows us to feel completely comfortable with the content we're sharing.
What are some useful business English phrases to give a presentation?
Now that we have an understanding of how to give a good presentation, here are some useful phrases in English that can help you. Taking classes is a good way to practice using these phrases, this is something we can help you with at Oxinity!
English phrases to start a presentation
Introducing the Topic:
- "Good morning/afternoon, everyone. Thank you for taking the time to join us today."
- “Hello, everyone. I'm [Your Name], and today I'd like to share with you..."
- "Thank you for joining me today."
- "I appreciate you all taking the time to be here."
- "Today, I'm here to discuss/share/highlight..."
- "Today, we're going to explore..."
- "Our main focus today will be..."
- "The goal of this presentation is to..."
English phrases for the main content of the presentation
- "Let's start by looking at..."
- "Another key point to consider is..."
Transitioning Between Points:
- "For instance/For example..."
- "Let's take a closer look at..."
Engaging the Audience:
- "Moving on to..."
- "With that said, let's turn our attention to..."
- "Now that we've discussed [X], let's consider [Y]..."
Using Visual Aids:
- "Has anyone here experienced...?"
- "You might relate this to your own..."
Making Predictions or Suggestions:
- "As you can see on this slide/graph/chart..."
- "This diagram/figure illustrates..."
- "Looking ahead, we can expect..."
- "If we follow this trend/path, it's likely that..."
- "A potential solution/recommendation would be..."
English phrases to finish a presentation
- "To sum up..."
- "In conclusion..."
- "Thank you for your time/attention."
- "I appreciate your active participation/interest."
- "Let's move forward by..."
- "Together, we can achieve..."
- "I leave you with this thought/question..."
- "How will you incorporate today's insights into your work/life?"
- "That brings us to the end of my presentation."
Tips to survive the Q&A session
Sometimes one of the trickiest parts of presenting a topic is the question and answering (Q&A) session at the end as we can’t always predict what questions we’ll get asked. Here are some tips to help you have a successful Q&A section:
- Listen actively
- Pause before answering
- Keep answers short and relevant
- Admit when you don’t know
- Engage the audience
- Stay calm and respectful
- Close with a summary
Remember, the Q&A is an opportunity to further show your expertise and engage more deeply with your audience. Embrace it as a chance to strengthen your connection with them!
So, that’s my overview of how to give a successful presentation and some useful business English phrases to help you prepare. Hopefully, you’ll find something useful in there and I hope to see you in a class soon!
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