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Cause and effect


When you are giving a presentation, your job is to not only present the facts but also to give the reasons (why), the purpose (objectives) and the results.

In a presentation, the language used is often very simple, much simpler than if we were writing.

For example:

Reason:

  • We sold the land because we needed to release the cash.
  • We closed the offices in London because they were too expensive to run.

Purpose:

  • We set up the team to look at possible ways to improve efficiency.
  • We sold the land to get necessary capital for investment.

Result:

  • We sold the land and had enough cash to invest in new equipment.
  • We expanded the sales network and sales increased.
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Focusing attention


When we really want to focus the attention of our audience on an important point, we can use this “What ……. is ….”

Look at these examples:

  • We must cut costs.
  • What we must do is cut costs.
  • We need more reliable suppliers.
  • What we need is more reliable suppliers.


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Rhetorical questions


Presentations are more interesting if you use a conversational style. They are more lively and you establish a rapport between you and your audience. You can do this by using a question and answer technique – you ask a question and then answer it. Your questions create anticipation and guide your audience to your point of view.

For example:
Late delivery is a big problem. What is the best solution? There are two possible solutions. First …

Here are some exercises to help you practice this technique: 

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Dealing with questions 3


ere are some ways of dealing with questions when you are the SPEAKER:

When you don’t want to answer:

  • To be honest, I’m not really the person to ask about that.

When someone interrupts you:

  • Sorry, could I just finish?

When you finally understand what they want to know:

  • Oh I see. So what you are asking is …

When you realise they don’t understand what you said:

  • Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. What I was trying to say was …

If you don’t want to tell everyone:

  • Perhaps we can talk about it when I have finished.

To close off the presentation:

  • If there are no more questions, we should stop there.

Here are some ways of getting an answer when you are the QUESTIONER:

When the answer doesn’t give you the information you want:

  • Yes, that may be so, but what I want to know is …

When the answer is evasive:

  • Yes, but you still haven’t answered my question.

If you are sceptical and want more detail:

  • Well, I’m not so sure. Can you give us an example to illustrate that?

If you don’t agree: 

  • That may be so, but I still think …
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Language

Dealing with questions 2

;-)


Here are some useful expressions for when you are making a presentation or talk, perhaps in a meeting or in a congress or perhaps more informally in a discussion around the coffee machine. Or, if you work at Google, over the table football or going down the slide 

Are there any questions?

That is all I have to say. Are there any questions? 

That’s a good question.  This is a good way of giving yourself time to think.

That’s a good question. Let me think about it for a moment.

As I said earlier, ..….

As I said earlier, we are looking at several different solutions.

I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

I’m afraid I can’t answer that. That information is still confidential.

I’m afraid I don’t know.

That’s a good question. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. We are still investigating.

I’m not in a position to answer that.  This is a great way of ‘blocking’ questions.

I’m not in a position to answer that.  You will have to ask Peter about that.

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Language

Dealing with questions

Sometimes you can only ask questions at the end of a presentation. In that case, you need to refer back to the point in the talk you need clarification on. Here are some useful expressions to help you do that:

First focus on the point you want to discuss

You talked about

You talked about the problems with the Glasgow office.

You told us about

You told us about the success of the new Singapore plant.

You dealt with

You dealt with the difficulties with the new system quite quickly.

You described

You described the reaction of the workers to the changes as ‘broadly positive’.

You commented on

You commented on the problems with the euro.

You referred to

You referred to the poor economic outlook.

You mentioned

You mentioned the drop in sales in Europe.

Then ask for clarification

Could you tell us

Could you tell us why you did that?

Could you tell us if you think that was the right thing to do?

Could you explain

Could you explain why you said that?

Could you explain the thinking behind that?

These set phrases can be very useful

Could you be a bit more specific?

Could you give us more details?

Could you elaborate on that?

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Language

Clarification 2

Sometimes you can only ask questions at the end of a presentation. In that case, you need to refer back to the point in the talk you need clarification on. Here are some useful expressions to help you do that:

First focus on the point you want to discuss

You talked about

You talked about the problems with the Glasgow office.

You told us about

You told us about the success of the new Singapore plant.

You dealt with

You dealt with the difficulties with the new system quite quickly.

You described

You described the reaction of the workers to the changes as ‘broadly positive’.

You commented on

You commented on the problems with the euro.

You referred to

You referred to the poor economic outlook.

You mentioned

You mentioned the drop in sales in Europe.

Then ask for clarification

Could you tell us

Could you tell us why you did that?

Could you tell us if you think that was the right thing to do?

Could you explain

Could you explain why you said that?

Could you explain the thinking behind that?

These set phrases can be very useful

Could you be a bit more specific?

Could you give us more details?

Could you elaborate on that?

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Language

Clarification


When we are talking to somebody, we don’t always understand everything they say.

There are two useful techniques for dealing with this.

Firstly, we can simply ask them to repeat what they said.

  • Could you say that again please?
  • I didn’t follow that. Could you repeat it?

Secondly, we can ask them to say again a specific piece of information.

  • What time did you say?
  • Where exactly are we to meet?
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Softening

Sometimes you want to soften the impact of what you are saying and give it less importance. Here are some ways to do that:

Little

The quality could have been a little better.
The speaker should have spoken a little louder.

Slight

There is a slight problem we need to deal with.
I have a slight doubt about John’s suitability for the job.

Minor

I have a minor reservation about this plan.
There are a few minor problems still to be dealt with.

Fairly

There are some fairly important changes still to be made.
I think that I have a fairly good understanding of your problems.

Quite

I quite like it but no more than that.
This is quite a good way to do this.

Not quite

He isn’t quite as good as he thinks he is.
I’m not quite sure that we are on the right lines.

Partially

He has been partially successful with his demands but he didn’t get everything he wanted.
It is partially finished but there is still a lot to do.

Occasional

There are occasional errors in his work.
Everybody makes occasional mistakes.

Rather

He is rather aggressive.
This is rather too complicated. It is difficult to understand.

More or less

The report is more or less finished. I just need to read through it again.
He is more or less useless. Cannot get anything right.

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Language

Emphasis 2

Emphasizing 2

Here is some more language to help you make your presentation more persuasive and make your points stronger :

openly admit

I openly admit that I have made mistakes.
If they openly admit that they were at fault, they may get the public back on their side.

totally agree

I totally agree with what Susan said.
I totally agree with the previous speaker.

strongly recommend

I strongly recommend that we invest in the Beijing project.
The consultants strongly recommend  that we pull out of the US completely.

firmly believe

We firmly believe that this company has an excellent future ahead of it.
I firmly believe that I am the best candidate for the job.

positively encourage

I would like to positively encourage you to apply for the post.
I want to positively encourage you to continue with what you are doing.

fully appreciate

I fully appreciate that investing in the current economic climate is a risk.
We fully appreciate the efforts you have made on our behalf.

categorically deny

I categorically deny that I did anything wrong.
My client categorically denies all the charges.  

absolutely refuse

I absolutely refuse to continue with this.
I absolutely refuse to consider the possibility of failure. 

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Language

Emphasis

Make your presentation more persuasive by making your points stronger. Here is some language to help you: 

 a total disaster

The whole project was a total disaster from beginning to end.

extremely good

We have an extremely good chance of getting the contract.

a terrible mistake

It wasn’t a minor error. It was a terrible mistake and cost us millions to put right.

much cheaper

Even if we had taken five per cent off our prices, we wouldn’t have got the contract. They were much cheaper than us.

one hundred per cent certain

There is not the slightest doubt. I am one hundred per cent certain that that is what happened.

highly competitive

This is a highly competitive market. I am not sure we should enter it.

far too expensive

The Chinese and Koreans can offer much lower prices. We are far too expensive.

even better

Their previous smart phone was good but this is even better.

fully aware

I am fully aware of all the risks but I still think we should do it.

absolutely no chance

There is absolutely no chance that we will lose the contract. They love our work.

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Language

Visual aids


When we are giving lots of information, we often use visuals to give an overview. However, we often need to highlight only one or two key points or figures and then comment on them. Here’s some language to help you. 

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Public Speaking

Giving numbers

When we talk about changes, we often show graphs. We don’t need to give precise figures but we do need to comment on them, interpret them and point out relevant facts. Let’s look at some language to do this

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Language

Adjectives of change


When we talk about changes, we often need to point out how big or rapid these changes have been. To do this, we need to use adjectives. 

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Describing changes

When we are giving a presentation, we often talk about changes. Usually we illustrate these changes with visual aids to show these changes. We need, however, to explain these changes. To do this, we need special verbs

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Language

State your purpose


It is important to state your purpose clearly at the beginning of your talk. Here are some ways to do this:

talk about = to speak about a subject

  • Today I’d like to talk about our plans for the new site.
  • I’m going to be talking to you about the results of our survey.

report on = to tell you about what has been done.

  • I’m going to be reporting on our results last quarter.
  • Today I will be reporting on the progress we have made since our last meeting.

take a look at = to examine

  • First, let’s take a look at what we have achieved so far.
  • Before we go on to the figures, I’d like to take a look at the changes we have made.

tell you about = to speak to someone to give them information or instructions

  • First, I will tell you about the present situation, then go onto what we are going to do.
  • When I have finished, Jack will then tell you about what is happening in Europe.

show = to explain something by doing it or by giving instructions.

  • The object of this morning’s talk is to show you how to put the theory into practice.
  • Today I’m going to show you how to get the most out of the new software.

outline = to give the main facts or information about something.

  • I’d like to outline the new policy and give you some practical examples.
  • I will only give you a brief outline and explain how it affects you.


fill you in on = to give some extra or missing information

  • I’d like to quickly fill you in on what has happened. 
  • When I have finished outlining the policy, Jerry will fill you in on what we want you to do.

give an overview of = to give a short description with general information but no details.

  • Firstly, I would like to give you a brief overview of the situation.
  • I’ll give you an overview of our objectives and then hand over to Peter for more details.

highlight = draw attention to or emphasize the important fact or facts.

  • The results highlight our strengths and our weaknesses.
  • I’d now like to go on to highlight some of the advantages that these changes will bring.

discuss = to talk about ideas or opinions on a subject in more detail.

  • I’m now going to go on to discuss our options in more detail.
  • After a brief overview of the results, I’d like to discuss the implications in more detail.
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Public Speaking

Stand up

I don’t think you’re going to like today’s point. I don’t like it very much myself but it’s got to be done. For most purposes, when you give a presentation you should stand. Not clutching the back of your chair for support, not leaning against the podium but two feet on the floor facing your audience.

There are times when sitting is right. When it’s an informal discussion, for example, where everybody is to contribute. But most of the time you need to stand.

  • You can move around the room. This has the simple effect that people will look at you, not shut their eyes and drift off 
  • You can make eye contact with everybody 
  • You can reach all your props and teaching material easily 
  • You’re involving your whole body in the presentation. Many people think this makes it more memorable. 
  • You’re sending out the signal to the participants that ‘this will be short’. Only a few self-obsessed people stand up in front of audiences for longer than they need to. And you’re not one of those, are you? 

The worst part of standing up is the actual standing up. Most people don’t feel at ease as they get out of their chair and walk forward to their speaking position. Here are a couple of tips.

  • As you’re waiting, keep your feet flat on the floor. Don’t have them crossed. Trust me, getting up and walking will be so much easier. 
  • Decide in advance where you are going to stand. Focus on that spot 
  • Walk forward briskly and confidently. 

And that’s how you become a stand up sort of person.

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Language

Emphasis

When we really want to focus the attention of our audience on an important point, we can use this “What ……. is ….”

Look at these examples:

  • We must cut costs.
  • What we must do is cut costs.
  • We need more reliable suppliers.
  • What we need is more reliable suppliers.


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Public Speaking

Microphones


Microphones can be a real problem. Very few of us use them frequently and so, when we have to talk into them in an already nervous state, we can easily make elementary mistakes.

As a general rule, try to speak more clearly when you are using a microphone. (It will probably help if you speak a bit more slowly.) 

If you have a free-standing mike, step back from it a bit. This will enable you to speak louder and to vary your tone and inflection. If you are too close, your voice will sound monotonous and your audience will fall asleep. 

Don’t turn your head away from the microphone while you are speaking. But do turn it away if you cough or sneeze!

Any little movement you make, such as shuffling your papers, will be amplified by the mike. Cut out the nervous gestures!

If you are wearing a clip-on mike, make sure it is not rubbing up against some clothing or jewellery. The noise this makes could ruin your presentation.

If you have a radio-mike, make sure it is switched on when you are presenting and switched off at all other times. This particularly applies when you go to the restroom!

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Public Speaking

A friendly face

When you stand up in front of that audience, you’re going to be really nervous. 

Poor speakers pay little or no attention to their audience as people. Big mistake. 

If you can see your audience as a group of individuals, you’ll be much more likely to connect with those individuals. 

Start looking around your audience. See that big guy with his arms folded and an ‘impress me’ look on his face? Best not to look at him too much. How about that lady with the big smile, looking encouragingly towards you? OK, that’s your mother, she doesn’t count. But that other lady with a similar smile is someone you don’t know. But from now on she’s your ‘friend’. Every time that you need any encouragement, look in her direction. Make good eye contact. Establish a form of communication between you. 

And now you’ve found one ‘friend’, you’ll begin to see others in the audience. Pick out ‘friends’ all round the room. If you see an ‘impress me’ person and get discouraged, switch your view back to one of your ‘friends’.

Once you are aware that there are people in your audience who want you to succeed, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.

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Language

Survival Language

If you get your facts wrong.

  • I am terribly sorry. What I meant to say was this. 
  • Sorry. What I meant is this. 

If you have been going too fast and your audience is having trouble keeping up with you. 

  • Let me just recap on that. 
  • I want to recap briefly on what I have been saying. 

If you have forgotten to make a point. 

  • Sorry, I should just mention one other thing. 
  • If I can just go back to the previous point, there is something else that I forgot to mention. 

If you have been too complicated and want to simplify what you said. 

  • So, basically, what I am saying is this. 
  • So, basically, the point I am trying to get across is this. 

If you realize that what you are saying makes no sense. 

  • Sorry, perhaps I did not make that quite clear. 
  • Let me rephrase that to make it quite clear. 

If you cannot remember the term in English. 

  • Sorry, what is the word I am looking for? 
  • Sorry, my mind has gone blank. How do you say ‘escargot’ in English? 

If you are short of time. 

  • So just to give you the main points. 
  • As we are short of time, this is just a quick summary of the main points.
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Starting a presentation

In modern English, Presentations tend to be much less formal than they were even twenty years ago. Most audience these days prefer a relatively informal approach. However, there is a certain structure to the opening of a Presentation that you should observe.

  1. Get people’s attention
  2. Welcome them
  3. Introduce yourself
  4. State the purpose of your presentation
  5. State how you want to deal with questions

Get people’s attention

  • If I could have everybody’s attention. 
  • If we can start. 
  • Perhaps we should begin? 
  • Let’s get started.

Welcome them

  • Welcome to Microsoft. 
  • Thank you for coming today. 
  • Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. 
  • On behalf of Intel, I’d like to welcome you.

Introduce yourself

  • My name’s Jane Shaw. I’m responsible for travel arrangements. 
  • For those of you who don’t know me, my name’s Tom Stotter. 
  • As you know, I’m in charge of public relations. 
  • I’m the new Marketing Manager.

State the purpose of your presentation

  • This morning I’d like to present our new processor. 
  • Today I’d like to discuss our failures in the Japanese market and suggest a new approach. 
  • This afternoon, I’d like to report on my study into the German market. 
  • What I want to do this morning is to talk to you about our new mobile telephone system. 
  • What I want to do is to tell you about our successes and failures in introducing new working patterns. 
  • What I want to do is to show you how we’ve made our first successful steps in the potentially huge Chinese market. 

State how you want to deal with questions.

  • If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them as we go along. 
  • Feel free to ask any questions. 
  • Perhaps we can leave any questions you have until the end? 
  • There will be plenty of time for questions at the end. 

Of course, these are only suggestions and other language is possible. Even within this limited group of phrases, just choose a few you feel comfortable with and learn and use those.

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Public Speaking

Public Speaking video

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Public Speaking

Get some coaching

Public speaking is not natural to most of us. Why not get some help from a friend or a professional coach? There is no reason to feel embarrassed.

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Public Speaking

Take questions

Fear of the unknown makes us wary about taking questions. But fear not. Questions will allow you to explain in more depth where you need to. It is the easiest way of finding out how successful your presentation was.

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Public Speaking

Act naturally

When we are self-concious, our body movements become unnatural. This communicates fear to the audience. Try to relax. Act naturally.

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Public Speaking

Dealing with mistakes

One thing is for sure – you are going to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect – and your audience will not expect you to be perfect. If you make a minor mistake, just ignore it. If you make a major mistake, use humour to diffuse the situation.

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Calming nerves – video

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Getting it wrong with your body language

Most people do not pay enough attention to their non-verbal communication. This can seriously effect your ability to convince an audience. Let’s see how we can improve our credibility.;

Coming across as false

If you don’t believe what you are saying, your body language will give you away.

Unnatural hand gestures

It’s perfectly natural to accompany your communication with hand gestures. However, they have to be natural. Some people give exaggerated gestures which nobody finds convincing.[

Posture

Stand up straight. Show confidence in yourself. No slouching.

Barriers

Avoid putting up barriers between you and your audience. This can be a physical barrier such as a podium or a table. Or it can be your own body by folding arms or the steeple fingers. You can get out from behind that barrier. Your hands can be your worst enemy.

The sideways defense is where you stand with one foot behind the other with your body angled in relation to your audience. This is a flight gesture, you just want to get out of there.

The eyes have it

Make eye contact. Don’t look away or down at the floor.

Don’t react badly to criticism

It’s a fact of life that people will criticise what you have done. Nobody is perfect. There is always room for improvement. Deal with it.

Treat your audience with respect

Listen to what they have to say, join in the discussion and enrich your contribution.

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Public Speaking

Eliminate the Fillers

We all use fillers from time to time. Erm, you know, ah etc. As we get more nervous we tend to use fillers more. Bad idea. They make your speech more difficult to follow and are a sure sign of your nerves.

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Public Speaking

4 Ways to Communicate Better

Communication is an important skill, both for your career success and for your private relationships.

  1. Be plausible

You’ve got to get across to your audience that you are plausible, worthy of trust. This applies equally to an audience of one or an audience of 300. And applies equally to written communication.

Make it clear from the outset what you are setting out to communicate, your purpose. This enables the audience to decide if it wishes .to engage with you. Are you a credible source of information on this subject? Tell them a bit about yourself.

2. We have two ears and one mouth

Be aware of the effect of what you say on other people. Look at their facial expressions and read their body language. Listen to what they say.

3. Clear and concise

When you speaking, don’t waffle. It is natural to speak to fill a silence but don’t do it. Be calm and concise. For written communication, don’t just send your first version. Most writing can be vastly improved by a second draft.

4. Feedback is good

Feedback can take many forms; facial expressions, questions, overt criticism, written messages, and other verbal and nonverbal messages. Learn from this feedback and you will improve as a communicator.

 

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Public Speaking

Slow down

When we are nervous, we tend to speak more quickly. Not good when you are speaking in public. Learn to control your pace. Breath deeply and speak slowly.

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Public Speaking

Everybody gets nervous

Nervy? Normal. We all get nervous before public speaking. Once you start speaking, you will relax.

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Public Speaking

Dress Confidently

Public Speaking is a lot to do with confidence. One way to feel confident is to dress smartly. Make an effort with your clothes and see the difference.

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Public Speaking

Practice, practice, practice

We can argue over the spelling. You may prefer to write it practise, practise, practise. But the message is clear – before you make a speach or presentation, you’ve got to rehearse it again and again until you are good at it.

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4 useful tips

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Public Speaking

Some hints on Public Speaking- video

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Public Speaking

Video training -free for my keenest students


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