TALKING IS EASY.THE PROBLEM IS GETTING PEOPLE TO LISTEN. — Business world wisdom
Yeah, she’d better try.The audience is very likely to need her help.
SO, your presentation is all planned out,rehearsed many times and ready to be performed.You’re nervous, but deﬁnitely not as much as you wouldif you didn’t all this hard preparation work in advance.Now, it’s show time. You get in front of everybody,inhale, and launch into your presentation’sintroduction.
THE aim of the introduction partis to motivate the audienceto listen and understand why they are there.You should:present yourself, your topicand the presentation’s plan;and say something interesting to attract attention.
BEFORE you start talking,make sure everybody is listening.The very ﬁrst minutes give the audiencetime to settle down. The best way for youwould be to wait, silently, a little.
Presentation of the speakerWelcoming the audience✣ Good morning/afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.✣ Hello / Hi, everyone.✣ First of all, let me thank you for coming here today.✣ I’m happy/delighted that so many of you could make it today.✣ Ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honor to have the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience. (very formal)
Presentation of the speakerIntroducing yourselfIf the audience knows who you are, you can omit this part.✣ Let me introduce myself. I’m Dave Elwood from ...✣ For those of you who don’t know me, my name’s ...✣ As you probably know, I’m the new HR manager.
THE ﬁrst few minutes of a presentationare the most important.Here are a few techniques you can useto start your talk.
Getting the audience’s attentionAn interesting factStart with an interesting fact, something the audience does not know. Sometimes ashock tactic is needed — say something provoking.✣ According to an article I read recently, central banks are now buying euros instead of dollars.✣ Did you know that fast food consumption has increased by 600 % in Europe since 2002?
Getting the audience’s attentionTell a story or anecdote✣ I remember when I attended a meeting in Paris. ...✣ As a conference in Madrid, I was once asked the following question: ...
Getting the audience’s attentionAsk a rhetorical question✣ Is market research important for brand development?✣ Do we really need quality assurance?
Getting the audience’s attentionGive them a problem to think about✣ Suppose you wanted to set up a new call centre. How would you go about it?✣ Imagine you had to reorganize the sales department. What would be your ﬁrst step?
Getting the audience’s attentionBring an objectA physical object attracts people’s attention, especially if they don’t know what it isand are intrigued to ﬁnd out.✣ Do you know what that is?
Getting the audience’s attentionAn interesting and thought-provoking quotationTry not to use the over-used ones, ﬁnd something unexpected.✣ You know, as Oscar Wilde said once, ‘There is no other sin except stupidity’...
Getting the audience’s attentionRelate to the presentations before youIf there are several presentations during the event, a good choice would be torelate to some words said before you. This will give your audience the sense ofconnection between the known and the new.✣ As Mr Miller pointed out before me ..., but I would like to show you a somewhat different perspective.
Introduction of your talkIntroducing your topicIn most formal presentations it is recommended to introduce your topic beforestarting talking about it.✣ As you can see on the screen, our topic today is ... / today’s topic is ...✣ The topic/subject of my presentation/talk is ...✣ What I’d like to present to you today is ... talk about ... say a few words about ...✣ I’m going to brief you on ...✣ I plan to inform you about ...✣ I’d like to give you an overview of ... present the recent ... explain our position on ...
Introduction of your talkIntroducing your topic Mind the grammar! would like + inﬁnitive ✣ Today I’d like to tell you about our new plans. going to + inﬁnitive ✣ I’m going to talk to you today about new developments in the R & D Department. will + inﬁnitive ✣ I’ll start off by reviewing our progress. will be + verb -ing ✣ During the next hour we’ll be looking at the advantages of this system.
Introduction of your talkIntroducing the purpose of the talkYou should always make the topic of your talk relevant to your audience, theymust understand why it is important to speciﬁcally them.✣ We are here today to decide ... agree ... learn about ...✣ The purpose of this talk is to update you on ... put you in the picture about ... give you the background to ...! Remember to use words like we, us, and our to highlight common interest.
Introduction of your talkExplaining why your topic is relevant for your audienceWhy is it important? Because the audience is alwaysmore interested in themselves than in you and your talk.Always remember this!✣ My talk is particularly relevant to those of you/us who ...✣ The topic is very important for you because ...✣ By the end of this talk you will be familiar with ...
AS in case with introducing the purpose of your talk,in most formal presentations it’s necessaryto make the whole presentation’s planclear for your audience.They should know what to expect —not in terms of actual content,but in terms of timing and other organizational details.
Explaining your talkBrieﬂy explaining the structure✣ I’ve divided my presentation into three (main) parts/sections: x, y, and z.✣ In my presentation I’ll focus on three major issues.✣ First (of all) / in the ﬁrst part, I’ll be looking at ..., second ..., and third ...✣ I’ll begin / start off by explaining ...✣ Then (in the second part) / Next / After that, I’ll go on to ...✣ Finally / lastly / last of all, I’ll offer some solutions.
Explaining your talkExplaining the organizationhow long it will last, whether there will be handouts,and how questions will be handled:
Explaining your talk— Timing✣ It should take about 30 minutes to cover these issues.✣ The presentation will take about two hours, but there’ll be a twenty minute break in the middle. We’ll stop for lunch at 12 o’clock.
Explaining your talk— Handouts✣ Does everybody have a handout/report? Please take one, and pass them on.✣ Don’t worry about taking notes. I’ve put all the important statistics on a handout.✣ I’ll be handing out brochures at the end of my talk.✣ I’ll email the PowerPoint presentation to you.
Explaining your talk— Questions✣ Feel free to ask questions at any time during my talk.✣ There will be time for discussion and questions after my presentation.
REMEMBER: All is relative.There are no ﬁxed rights and wrongs.Adjust our tips to the result you want to get,to your audience, to the speciﬁcs of your talkand to your own preferences.
For example, some people criticize phrases like, ‘In thispresentation I will tell you ...’, ‘First, I’m going to be talking about...’They say, using them makes the speech too formal and shouldbe avoided: ‘Why won’t you tell it already, instead of telling whatyou want to tell?’ This may be true if you’re, say, presenting in front of a youngcreative audience. You need to be as intriguing and creativeas possible. The emphasis in such a talk should be placed uponthe emotional impact of it, ability to motivate the audience. But if you’re in front of a relatively conservative audience(especially senior one), used to a certain way of presenting,it would be better not to break the rules.
Another example: many people criticize the so-called‘I’-approach: starting your ﬁrst sentences with ‘I...’ and thustalking about you. ‘Who in the audience is interested in you?Everybody is minding their own business and would rather hearsomething about them.’ So, if you feel like it, you can alwaysrephrase. But don’t forget that your words should soundnatural.
KEY POINTSOnce again — your checklist for the introduction:
KEY POINTSOnce again — your checklist for the introduction: 1. Welcome the audience. 2. Introduce yourself. 3. State your topic. 4. Explain importance of your topic. 5. Outline the structure of the talk. 6. Clarify organizational details.
KEY POINTS ... and above all:Talk clear, but stay intriguing.