3. Presentations



3. Planning and preparation


Language Checklist

Structure (1) The introduction to a presentation



Good morning / afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

(Ladies and) Gentlemen …



I plan to say a few words about …

I’m going to talk about …

The subject of my talk is …

The theme of my presentation is …

I’d like to give you an overview of …



I’ve divided my talk into (three) parts.

My talk will be in (three) part.

I’m going to divide …

First …

Second …

Third …

In the first part …

Then in the second part…




My talk will take about ten minutes.

The presentation will take about two hours … but there’ll be a twenty-minute break in the middle. We’ll stop for lunch at 12 o’clock.


Policy on questions / discussion

Please interrupt if you have any question.

After my talk there’ll be time for a discussion and any questions.



Skills Checklist

Effective presentations – planning and preparation



·         Expectations

·         Technical knowledge

·         Size

·         Questions and / or discussion


Speaker’s competence

·         Knowledge

·         Presentation technique



·         What to include

·         Length / depth (technical details)

·         Number of key ideas



·         Sequence

beginning, middle, end

·         Repetition, summarizing




·         Style

Formal / informal

Enthusiasm / confidence

·         Voice

Variety / speed


·         Body language

Eye contact

Gesture / movement



Visual aids

·         Type / design / clarity

·         Relevance



·         Tape recorder

·         Script or notes



·         Size / seating

·         Equipment (does it work?)

·         Sound quality



·         Simple / clear

·         Spelling

·         Sentence length

·         Structure signals











Practice 1

Look at the following situations.


A medical congress in Tokyo with papers                   

on new techniques in open heart surgery.      


The Purchasing and Product Manager of

a Taiwanese company interested in buying

some production equipment from your company.


An internal meeting of administrative

staff to discuss a new accounting procedure.


A staff meeting to discuss a charity event for

earthquake victims.



Imagine you have to give a brief presentation in two of the above situations. 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 an hour, 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?












Practice 2

In any presentation the beginning is crucial. Certainly some things are essential in an introduction and others are useful. Here is a list of what could be included in an introduction. Mark them according to how necessary they are using the following scale:


Essential                     Useful                          Not necessary

       1                2                 3                 4                         5



Subject / title of talk.

Introduction to oneself, job title, etc.

Reference to questions and / or discussion.

Reference to the programme for the day.

Reference to how long you are going to speak for.

Reference to the visual aids you plan to use.

The scope of your talk: what is and is not included.

An outline of the structure of your talk.

A summary of the conclusions.




·         Reading

Read the text below and find:

a.       eight advantages of using visual aids

b.       three warnings about using visual aids


4. Image, impact and making an impression


Dinckel and Parnham (1985) say that ‘The great danger (in using visual aids) is that presenters place the major emphasis on visual aids and relegate themselves to the minor role of narrator or technician. You are central to the presentation. The visual aid needs you, your interpretation, your explanation, your conviction and your justification.’

Visual aids can make information more memorable and they help the speaker. However, they must literally support what the speaker says and not simply replace the spoken information. It is also not enough to just read the text from a visual aid.

There are many advantages to the correct use of visual aids. They can show information which is not easily expressed in words or they can highlight information. They cause the audience to employ another sense to receive information, they bring variety and therefore increase the audience’s attention. They save time and they clarify complex information.


Relegate = a retrograda, a degrada



Language Checklist

Using visuals


Types of visual support

Visual: film / video / picture / diagram / chart / pie chart / plan / map

Table graph

x axis / horizontal axis

y axis / vertical axis

left hand / right hand axis

Line graph

solid line

dotted line

broken line



(slide) projector

slides (B.E.)

diapositives (Am.E.)

overhead projector (OHP)

transparency (B.E.)

slide (Am.E.)

flip chart


metaplan board


Introducing a visual

I’d like to show you …

Have a look at this …

This (graph) shows / represents …

Here we can see …

Let’s look at this …

Here you see the trend in …



This compares x with y

Let’s compare the …

Here you see a comparison between …




Pie chart = diagramă circulară (rotundă, “plăcintă”)

Flow chart = schema procesului tehnologic / organigramă

Diagram = diagramă

Bar graph = diagramă cu bare

Table graph = grafic stil tabel

Line graph = grafic cu linii

overhead projector = proiector

transparency / slide = slide-uri

(slide) projector =  dia-proiector

slides / diapositives = diapozitive

flip chart = panou cu foi de hârtie detaşabile

whiteboard = panou alb din material sintetic



Describing the speed of change


A dramatic                                                                    dramatically

A marked                                                                     markedly

A significant      increase / fall    To increase / fall           significantly

A slight                                                                         slightly


Describing trends


To go up

To increase        an increase

To rise               a rise

To climb            a climb

To improve        an improvement

To go down

To decrease        a decrease

To fall                a fall

To decline          a decline

To deteriorate     a deterioration

To recover          a recovery

To get better       an upturn

To get worse       a downturn

To level out      a leveling out

To stabilize

To stay the same


To reach a peak       a peak

To reach a maximum

To peak

To reach a low point

To hit bottom          a trough


To undulate         an undulation

To fluctuate         a fluctuation





Skills Checklist

Using visual supports


Visual must be:

·         well prepared

·         well chosen

·         clear


Available media

Use media which suit the room and audience size.

·         Overhead projector (OHP)

- Transparencies / OHT’s / slides (Am.E.)

·         Slide projector

- Slides / diapositives (Am.E.)

·         Video / computer graphics / flip chart / whiteboard


Use of visual aids

Combination of OHP and flip chart with pens often good.

First visual should give the title of talk.

Second show structure of talk – main headings.

Keep text to minimum – never just read text from visuals.

Do not use too many visuals – guide is one per minute.

Use pauses – give audience time to comprehend picture.

Never show a visual until you want to talk about it.

Remove visual once finished talking about it.

Switch off equipment not in use.


Use of colour

For slides, white writing on blue / green is good. Use different colours if colour improves clarity of message (e.g. pie charts.).

Use appropriate colour combination: yellow and pink are weak colours on white backgrounds.


Use of room and machinery

Check equipment in advance.

Check organization of room, equipment, seating, microphones, etc.

Use a pointer on the screen (not your hand).

Have a good supply of pens.

Check order of your slides / OHT’s, etc.


You in relation to your audience

Decide appropriate level of formality, dress accordingly.

Keep eye contact at least 80% of the time.

Use available space.

Move around, unless restricted by a podium.

Use gesture.


Practice 3


Draw a line graph for use in a presentation. Choose any situation or subject, real or imagined. If possible draw the picture on an overhead transparency.

Then present the graph as you would in a presentation. Your description should last no more than one minute.

If possible, construct a graph that makes comparisons possible. Use solid, dotted or broken lines (or colours) to make the picture clear.