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The Presentation

!!! ...say it,

Most presentations are divided into 3 main parts (+ questions):

1 INTRODUCTION (Questions)
2 BODY
3 CONCLUSION
Questions  

As a general rule in communication, repetition is valuable. In presentations, there is a golden rule about repetition:

  1. Say what you are going to say,
  2. say it,
  3. then say what you have just said.

In other words, use the three parts of your presentation to reinforce your message. In the introduction, you tell your audience what your message is going to be. In the body, you tell your audience your real message. In the conclusion, you summarize what your message was.

We will now consider each of these parts in more detail.

Introduction

The introduction is a very important - perhaps the most important - part of your presentation. This is the first impression that your audience have of you. You should concentrate on getting your introduction right. You should use the introduction to:

  1. welcome your audience
  2. introduce your subject
  3. outline the structure of your presentation
  4. give instructions about questions

The following table shows examples of language for each of these functions. You may need to modify the language as appropriate.

Function Possible language
1 Welcoming your audience
  • Good morning, ladies and gentlemen
  • Good morning, gentlemen
  • Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman
  • Good afternoon, everybody
2 Introducing your subject
  • I am going to talk today about...
  • The purpose of my presentation is to introduce our new range of...
3 Outlining your structure
  • To start with I'll describe the progress made this year. Then I'll mention some of the problems we've encountered and how we overcame them. After that I'll consider the possibilities for further growth next year. Finally, I'll summarize my presentation (before concluding with some recommendations).
4 Giving instructions about questions
  • Do feel free to interrupt me if you have any questions.
  • I'll try to answer all of your questions after the presentation.
  • I plan to keep some time for questions after the presentation.

Body

The body is the 'real' presentation. If the introduction was well prepared and delivered, you will now be 'in control'. You will be relaxed and confident.

The body should be well structured, divided up logically, with plenty of carefully spaced visuals.

Remember these key points while delivering the body of your presentation:

  • do not hurry
  • be enthusiastic
  • give time on visuals
  • maintain eye contact
  • modulate your voice
  • look friendly
  • keep to your structure
  • use your notes
  • signpost throughout
  • remain polite when dealing with difficult questions

Conclusion

Use the conclusion to:

  1. Sum up
  2. (Give recommendations if appropriate)
  3. Thank your audience
  4. Invite questions

The following table shows examples of language for each of these functions. You may need to modify the language as appropriate.

Function Possible language
1 Summing up
  • To conclude,...
  • In conclusion,...
  • Now, to sum up...
  • So let me summarise/recap what I've said.
  • Finally, may I remind you of some of the main points we've considered.
2 Giving recommendations
  • In conclusion, my recommendations are...
  • I therefore suggest/propose/recommend the following strategy.
3 Thanking your audience
  • Many thanks for your attention.
  • May I thank you all for being such an attentive audience.
4 Inviting questions
  • Now I'll try to answer any questions you may have.
  • Can I answer any questions?
  • Are there any questions?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Are there any final questions?

Questions

Questions are a good opportunity for you to interact with your audience. It may be helpful for you to try to predict what questions will be asked so that you can prepare your response in advance. You may wish to accept questions at any time during your presentation, or to keep a time for questions after your presentation. Normally, it's your decision, and you should make it clear during the introduction. Be polite with all questioners, even if they ask difficult questions. They are showing interest in what you have to say and they deserve attention. Sometimes you can reformulate a question. Or answer the question with another question. Or even ask for comment from the rest of the audience.


Now that we've covered the presentation structure, we will conclude with a review of what we have learned...

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