Last week, we focused on the importance of manner (how we speak) over matter (what we speak) while making presentations. This week, we will focus on the language of presentations. A presentation has many different parts — greeting the audience, introducing the self, introducing the topic, explaining the structure of presentation, delivering main points, concluding, and asking for questions. A good presenter uses many different phrases and transition signals in order to carry out these functions effectively during the presentation. This is called language of presentations.
Greetings and introduction: First, the presenter should break the ice by greeting the audience by thanking them for participating in the meeting/seminar/workshop, etc, and introducing himself to the group, before introducing the topic of presentation. It is important to remember certain points while making opening statements — first impression is the best impression, maintain good eye contact with the audience, smile at them, make them feel at home and use simple words and phrases. Here are some key phrases:
• Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening.
• Great to see you all here. First of all, I’d like to thank you for your presence here.
• My name is __ and I am __.
Introducing the topic: The presenter should introduce the topic in such a way that every member of the audience remembers it much later. It is good to mention the topic and give a brief introduction about it.
• The topic of my presentation is __.
• I’m going to speak on __.
Explaining the structure of the presentation: This is like giving the audience a route map to reach a destination. You can use these phrases:
• I’ve divided my speech into four parts.
• I’ll begin with __ and then move on to __.
Body of the presentation: While dealing with each part of the presentation, the presenter should use transition signals (linking words or sign posts) effectively to facilitate the audience to follow the presentation without strain. Here are some examples:
• I’d like to move on to __.
• Having looked at X, let’s consider Y.
Conclusion: This is a summary of all main points made in the speech and it’s important to conclude effectively.
• We’ve discussed __ (some key points).
• In short/To summarise
While concluding, the presenter may invite the audience to ask questions related to his presentation.
• Do you have any questions?
• Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions.
During the Q&A session: One can use words of appreciation or encouragement like:
• I’m glad you raised the point.
• That is a good question.
• Let me put it another way.
Making an effective presentation is not a talent, it is a skill. That is why it is called presentation skills. Anyone can master the skill if he/she is ready to practice, practice, practice.