In this Issue
Letters to the Editor
Write to Us
Spread the Word
Back Issues

Issues in Business
English teaching

Learner independence
in Business English

Birthday Greetings
Happy birthday
MED Magazine!

Language Interference
Making friends with Polish
True friends, false friends, unreliable friends and
friends in disguise

Focus on Language

Word formation
Compounds and acronyms
UK version  US version

New words of the year
A review of 2004
in twelve words

Top Tips for Business English
Teaching presentation skills:
Presentation Essentials 2
Activities  Teacher's notes

Top Tips for Business English
Teaching presentation skills 2
by Rosemary Richey

Language level
Language and skill components
   A Finishing up a presentation
   B General language points
Teaching ideas and resources
Next in the series


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.


Language level

The language and skills featured here are appropriate for upper intermediate and advanced levels.



1 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.
2 Review the overall stages of a presentation with the students. Assign pairs one of these questions to discuss:
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?
3 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

function language
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 ...
summarising/closing 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 ...
Briefly ...
Thanks for your attention. Please pick up ...
(promotion material, samples, information) on your way out.
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

1 As mentioned for starting presentations, for finishing presentations review and emphasise language such as
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 ...

2 Practise language for emphasis, according to the business activity, product or service:
emphasizing: absolutely/entirely/extremely/fairly/reasonably/quite
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 correct?
Why would a presenter feel compelled to give an answer when it's really not the truth?

Discuss the impact of intonation in a presentation, focussing on the impact of having a 'monotone' speaking voice on the audience.
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 or persuading.


Next in the series

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 page.