Use these phrases to communicate better with your audience.
Presenting in a second language is never easy, but knowing a few useful phrases can make it a lot easier. One of the best ways to ensure that your presentation is successful is by communicating effectively during the presentation to help your audience understand what you are trying to do and what you are going to do next. The seven expressions below can help you achieve this.
I’d like to begin with (noun) / I’d like to start by (-ing)
A strong introduction is the key to capturing the audience’s interest and this all depends on the first 15 – 20 seconds. In order to make your introduction stronger, begin immediately with a quote, fact, question, picture, interesting observation, or short anecdote even before you introduce your name and your topic.
If you use a noun word like “a statistic”, then use the preposition “with”: “I’d like to begin with a statistic” or if you use a gerund (-ing form of a verb), use the preposition “by”: “I’d like to begin by showing you a statistic.”
“I’d like to begin with a quote from Albert Einstein…”
"I’d like to begin with an observation that I made yesterday while driving my son to school.”
"I’d like to begin by asking you a question.”
My goal today is to (verb)
After you have captured their attention, tell everyone what the goal of the presentation is and make this connect to the benefit to them. For example, if you are presenting to young people about the benefits of investing money for retirement, you can say: “my goal today is to help you understand the benefits of investing and to inform you about different investment options.”
"My goal today is to show you how our unique service will make your life easier.”
“My goal today is to teach you the simple techniques to building trust with anyone that you meet.”
“My goal today is to highlight the need for action against climate change and to inspire you to help.”
I’ve divided my presentation into (number) parts
Audience members like structure as it helps them prepare for what they are going to hear. If you tell your audience that your presentation has four different parts/focus points, it’s easier for them than just hearing all of your information as part of one general topic. If you were in the audience, wouldn’t it be easier to remember a presentation if it was organized into three 5-minute parts instead of just one 15-minute presentation?
You can help the audience by telling them at the beginning how many parts your presentation has. For example, if your presentation is about business culture in Japan and you are talking about three focus points (greetings, meetings, and dining culture) you can tell the audience this at the beginning by saying: “I’ve divided my presentation into three parts: greetings, meetings, and dining culture.”
“I’ve divided my presentation into three parts: before the event, during the event, and after the event.”
“I’ve divided my presentation into four parts: time, money, scope, and performance.”
“I’ve divided my presentation into three parts: skills, education, and work experience.”
I’d like to ask you a question
I’ve discovered that a lot of non-native English speakers have trouble with correct question form, and this causes some questions to be unclear or sound like statements instead of questions.
As an example, many English learners would incorrectly ask: “you know this person?” if they showed a picture of a person on their slides, but the problem is that it sounds like you are telling them that they know this person so nobody will respond and it will be awkwardly silent. The correct question form is “Do you know this person?” This will communicate clearly to everyone that it’s a question and that you want their response.
If you have trouble with correct question form, you can say: “I’d like to ask you a question” and then ask the question. Even if your question form is incorrect, at least they will know that you want them to respond. For example, if you say: “I’d like to ask you a question. You know this person?” it’s still incorrect but people will know that you want them to respond.
"I’d like to ask you a question. How many of you have had a bad manager?”
“I’d like to ask you a question. What is the most expensive purchase you will make in your life?”
“I’d like to ask you a question. Do you know who said this famous quote?”
Let’s move on to (noun)
Transitions are an important part of presentations, and if you are moving from one part of your presentation to another part, you should communicate that to the audience to help them realize this. If you just move to a new slide, they might incorrectly think that you are continuing the same point but with a new slide.
When you want to end one part and move to the next part, use the phrasal verb “move on”: “let’s move on” or if you want to add a noun, you need to add the preposition “to”: “let’s move on to the results of the test.”
“Let’s move on to the advertising methods we plan to use.”
“Let’s move on to the budget for this project.”
“Let’s move on to the third step of the process.”
To conclude, let’s review the key points again
When you have finished explaining the main points of your presentation, don’t end your presentation suddenly. It’s a common mistake for people to end their presentation without a summary or final statement, which always creates awkward applause as the audience is unsure about whether the presentation is over or not.
One of the best ways to conclude is by signaling to your audience that you are ending the presentation (“to conclude”) and then reminding your audience about what they learned or gained from this presentation (“let’s review the key points again”).
You likely don’t want to repeat every point in your presentation or it will become repetitive and too long, so you can focus on repeating an overall theme that was learned from your details.
For example, if I use the example about Japanese culture that I used earlier in this lesson (remember this was divided into three parts: greeting culture, meeting culture, and dining culture), I could repeat a theme of personal space, respect, and punctuality that comes from the details I explained during my presentation: “To conclude, let’s review the key points again. Japanese people prefer lots of personal space so avoid any physical contact. They value respect highly so always avoid embarrassing others during meetings and conversations. They expect punctuality, so ensure that you arrive to any meetings or events a few minutes early, and they have certain important dining rules to remember like not eating the last piece of food on a shared plate, or pouring and receiving drinks with two hands.”
Does anyone have any questions?
After you have concluded your presentation and thanked the audience for listening, remember to invite questions from the audience (if there is time). Sometimes English learners are confused by the words “everyone”, “someone”, “no one”, and “anyone”. When you are inviting questions, you should use the word “anyone”.
“I hope you enjoyed my presentation. Does anyone have any questions?”
“Thank you for listening to my presentation. Does anyone have any questions?”
“So, I think we have some time for questions. Does anyone have any questions?”
Use the language provided above to create a dialogue for a presentation. Use the following points when creating the dialogue. For example, the goal of the presentation below is “help team leaders successfully manager their employees that work from home”, so use the expression “my goal today is to…” with this information.
Introduction: a statistic: by 2030, 30% of all jobs will be possible from home
Goal: help team leaders successfully manage their employees that work from home
Parts: 3 parts – communication, performance, team building
Question: are you more productive from home or at the office?
Transition: ending part two about “performance” and starting part three about “team-building”
Review: keep constant communication through all channels (email, chat, Zoom), set clear, challenging goals and reward performance, give team members regular opportunities to interact with each other, especially face-to-face
Ending: invite questions from the audience
“I’d like to begin with a statistic. By 2030, 30% of all jobs will be possible from home.”
“My goal today is to help team leaders successfully manage their employees that work from home.”
“I’ve divided my presentation into 3 parts: communication, performance, and team building.”
“I’d like to ask you a question: are you more productive from home or at the office?”
“Let’s move on to the next part about team-building.” (Or “let’s move on to team-building”)
“To conclude, let’s review the key points again. First, it’s important to keep constant communication through all channels. Second, you need to set clear, challenging goals and reward performance. And finally, give team members regular opportunities to interact with each other, especially face-to-face.”
“(Thank you for listening to my presentation.) Does anyone have any questions?”