MED Magazine - Issue 25 - December 2004
Top Tips for Business English
Teaching presentation skills 2
by Rosemary Richey
We are continuing our series of tips for teaching typical
business skills. Following last month's tips on starting up a presentation,
part two provides language practice to finish up a presentation.
The language and skills featured here are appropriate
for upper intermediate and advanced levels.
|Presentations are often a problematic
area for Business English students. The learning process can be demanding
and difficult. It is important to teach presentations in a systematic,
step-by-step approach, so the students can build their confidence
in a practical way.
|Review the overall stages
of a presentation with the students. Assign pairs one of these questions
||What is the reaction
of the audience when a presentation is not well-organised?
||How can eye contact
and body language affect a presentation?
||How do visual aids
enhance a presentation?
||Can you give the same
presentation to any audience? Why or why not?
|The students share their ideas with the
whole class. This gives them a basis for considering the impact of
communication skills combined with the right language on any presentation.
Language and skill components
The following list
identifies key functions and useful language associated with presenting
the main points of a presentation to responding to comments and questions.
A Finishing up a presentation
|main points/USP (unique selling point)
||Our engineering designs are extraordinary because
The advantage of our technology is ...
These are the highlights of our engineering projects ...
The USP of HighTech Unlimited is our state-of-the-art ...
||To conclude/wrap up/summarise, I've just described
I'll just recap on the highlights of this presentation.
As you can see ...
To sum up ...
Thanks for your attention. Please pick up ... (promotion
material, samples, information) on your way
|responding to comments and questions
||That's an interesting comment. Let me say that
I'd be glad to clarify that point ...
Thanks for your query. I'll have to check on that and get back to
you. I'll be interested in finding out more about this ...
B General language points
As mentioned for starting
presentations, for finishing presentations review and emphasise language
||use of I'd/would like to ... or I'd/would
be glad to ...
||use of the active form, i.e. not passive: Customers
give us excellent feedback on our engineering services.
||use of the present simple: Currently/Presently/At
the moment/At the present we have over 1000 customers.
||use of the past simple: Last year/Back
in 2003 we completed two major projects.
||use of the present perfect: Over the last few
month/Recently, we've seen a big increase in contracts.
||sequencing with word such as firstly, secondly,
then, next: Firstly, let me give you a quick history
of our engineering company. ... Secondly, I'll speak about ...
Practise language for
emphasis, according to the business activity, product or service:
||movement or change: to rise/rocket/boom
and to drop/decline/crash
||degree of change: dramatically/considerably/significantly/moderately/slightly
||speed of change: rapidly/quickly/suddenly/gradually/steadily/slowly
Teaching ideas and resources
Practising a complete presentation takes time and patience
from both you and your students. In the learning process, working off
checklists provides the students a sense of solid organisation. Set a
realistic time frame involving the organising and actual practice for
both inside and outside the class. Try these other miscellaneous tips:
||Take language from any stage of a presentation and
make a matching exercise. Write the phrases on cards or strips and
get students to match the lexis to the appropriate stages.
In reviewing the latter steps of a presentation,
elicit a discussion on the following questions:
How do you respond to a query when you don't know the answer?
What happens if you tell your audience something that may not be
a presenter feel compelled to give an answer when it's really not
||Discuss the impact of intonation in a presentation,
focussing on the impact of having a 'monotone' speaking voice on the
||Talk about the advantages or disadvantages of reading
a presentation. Have students give their ideas about how this affects
eye contact, body language or even the language used in the presentation.
||Ideally, students should practise two different styles
of presentations i.e. an individual or group presentation along with
presentations that have a different focus such selling, informing
In the next issue of MED Magazine you
can find some tips for teaching language and skills for negotiations.
In the meantime, I look forward to your feedback and suggestions on any
Business English concern you may have. You can contact me on this
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