Does giving a presentation make you feel a little nervous?
Well, you’re not alone.
According to Forbes, giving a presentation makes 80% of us feel nervous!
The good news is that feeling nervous might be a good thing. This feeling pushes us to prepare ourselves better, and as long as you’re well prepared, you’ll do just fine.
So then, let’s take a look at how we can prepare ourselves to give amazing presentations in English. Today, we’re going to focus on the business English phrases you can count on (depend on) to make your presentation go more smoothly from start to finish.
But first, here are some tips to use when preparing for your presentation.
Greeting Your Audience
You’re now standing in front of your audience. Before you begin your presentation, start by greeting your audience, welcoming them to the event and introducing yourself.
1. Good morning/afternoon/evening, everyone.
2. Welcome to [name of event].
Sample sentence: Welcome to our 3rd Annual Sales Leadership Conference.
3. First, let me introduce myself. I am [name] from [company].
Beginning Your Presentation
After you have given an introduction, you are ready to begin speaking about your topic. Use these phrases to get started.
4. Let me start by giving you some background information.
Use this phrase to give your audience a brief overview of the topic you’ll be discussing. This is a good way to give them an idea of what’s going on and to bring them up to date.
5. As you’re aware, …
If you’re bringing up a topic that your audience already knows about or is aware of, then you can use this phrase to introduce this known topic.
Sample sentence: As you’re aware, the CEO of DHL Express has often said that globalization is here to stay.
Transitioning to the Next Topic
Before you move on to your next point, be sure to make it clear to your audience that you’re now starting a new topic. Let them know exactly what that new topic will be. The two phrases below are very similar in meaning, and they can both be used for transitions.
6. Let’s move on to…
Sample sentence: Let’s move on to our second sales strategy.
7. Turning our attention now to…
Sample sentence: Turning our attention now to the results of our 2016 customer survey.
Providing More Details
Use these phrases to tell your audience that you’ll be giving them a more detailed explanation of the topic. Both the words ‘expand’ and ‘elaborate’ mean to explain more fully.
8. I’d like to expand on…
Sample sentence: Now I’d like to expand on my point about increasing our market share.
9. Let me elaborate further.
Linking to Another Topic
When making reference to a point you made earlier, or to remind your audience about something you said before, use these phrases to that link.
10. As I said at the beginning, …
This phrase lets you remind your audience about a point you made earlier. It can also be used to emphasize a point or theme.
Sample sentence: As I said in the beginning, we’ll see an increase in profit if we follow these five steps.
11. This relates to what I was saying earlier…
This phrase will help you make connections between ideas in your presentation. It shows that two different ideas are connected.
Sample sentence: This relates to what I was saying earlier about increasing production to meet the year-end demand.
12. This ties in with…
Sample sentence: This ties in with the way we’ve been doing business for the past 20 years.
Emphasizing a Point
Use these phrases to draw attention to an important point that you want your audience to note.
13. The significance of this is…
The word “significance'” is similar in meaning to “importance.”
Sample sentence: The significance of this is, if we complete this project on schedule, we’ll have more people available to work on the next project.
14. This is important because…
Sample sentence: This is important because any marketing effort we put in now will help to boost demand for our products in the long run.
15. We have to remember that …
Sample sentence: We have to remember that people are our most important resource.
Making Reference to Information
Very often, you may need to support your discussion points by drawing attention and making reference to information and data from studies, reports and other sources.
16. Based on our findings, …
Sample sentence: Based on our findings, 74% of our market is made up of teenagers who find our clothing line stylish and upbeat.
17. According to our study, …
Sample sentence: According to our study, 63% of working people in this city go directly to the gym after work.
18. Our data shows …
Sample sentence: Our data shows that more than 23% of men in this town who used to drive to work now prefer to save money and the environment by cycling instead.
To present a clearer picture of your point, you may show your data, information or examples in the form of visuals such as charts, tables and graphs.
19. I’d like to illustrate this point by showing you…
The word “illustrate” means “show,” usually with examples, data or visuals.
Sample sentence: I’d like to illustrate this point by showing you a chart of the number of people in each age group who prefer to shop online.
20. This chart shows a breakdown of …
A “breakdown” refers to the detailed parts or figures that make up the total picture. A breakdown is often used in a presentation to show all the smaller parts behind something bigger.
Sample sentence: This chart shows a breakdown of the ingredients we use in our gluten-free products.
Restating Your Point
Sometimes in order to emphasize your point, you have to state it in a way that’s easier for your audience to understand and remember. This often involves rephrasing, simplifying or clarifying your point.
21. In other words, …
Use this phrase to rephrase or reword your point in another way.
Sample sentence: In other words, we need to change our current design to make it more attractive to older children.
22. To put it simply, …
Use this phrase to simplify points that are complex or difficult to understand.
Sample sentence: To put it simply, we’ll need you to work harder at making this launch a success.
23. What I mean to say is …
Use this phrase to explain your point in a way that’s easier for your audience to understand.
Sample sentence: What I mean to say is that we need to change the way we market our products.
Concluding Your Presentation
This is the very end of the presentation. You have said everything you need to say, and now you need to finish it nicely. You may also have some time for questions. If there is time for questions, invite your audience to ask any questions they have.
24. In conclusion, let me sum up my main points.
As part of your closing statement, “sum up” (summarize, state briefly) your speech by mentioning the main points of your speech.
25. Thank you for your attention. Now I am happy to answer any questions you might have.
End your presentation by thanking your audience and offering to answer their questions.
The Top 3 Tips for Preparing Your Business Presentation in English
1. Have a Plan
Always have a plan. Spend some time thinking about not only what you’re going to say but how you’re going to say it.
If English isn’t your native language, it’s very important that you think about what language you’re going to be using. Think about all the vocabulary, phrases and grammar that will make your message clear and easy to understand.
What are the big ideas you want to explain for your presentation? Which words will express these ideas best? I recommend:
- Have a clear goal in mind to help you stay on track and be logical. Whenever you feel lost during the presentation, just remember this clear, main goal. An example of a goal could be to convince potential clients to work with you. Whenever you don’t know what to say next, remember to focus on the advantages you want to present and on examples of what you did in the past to deserve their trust. Encourage them to ask you questions related to this goal.
- Research content. If you know your facts, you already have the core of your presentation prepared. Write these facts down on topic cards, give out handouts (papers) with important information or include them on your PowerPoint slides.
- Prepare the delivery. Rehearse giving the presentation several times. Some people like recording themselves, others prefer practicing in front of a mirror or having friends listen to them while presenting. Choose the method that works best for you.
- Decide whether you are going to read or speak freely. Reading can sound unnatural, but you can use certain tricks to avoid this. You can underline important sentences which you can memorize, so that from time to time you can stop reading, say your memorized lines and look at the audience. In this way, reading can be made more natural. Make sure you slow down so that the audience can follow you.
Speaking freely is much better if you can remember everything you want to say, because you will seem more knowledgeable, prepared and confident. However, this can be more stressful.
2. Use Visuals
Using some visuals can make your presentation more entertaining, easier to understand and can get your points across more convincingly. My advice:
- Decide whether you need a PowerPoint presentation or not. Do you have graphs, results or other things like this to show? Then yes, you need one. Are you just telling a story? Then you probably do not.
- Do not fill your slides with too much information. Use a maximum of seven short lines of text—even seven can be too many. Highlight key words so the audience can see the main ideas right away. Use bullet points rather than full sentences.
- If you are presenting graphs or charts, give the audience time to read them. Do not show a huge table of data if they audience will not have time to read and understand it. Make sure you try reading each slide while timing yourself to see how long it takes, so you do not jump to the next slide too early during your presentation.
3. Structure Your Presentation Well
It is a common mistake to give an unclear and unorganized presentation. This happens when the presenter just starts speaking without a clear goal in mind. They might suddenly realize their allotted speaking time has ended, or that the audience is bored because they are not following what is being said. Here’s what you should do instead:
- Decide on three main points (or less) that you want to make. Audiences can’t usually focus on more than three points.
- Tell them from the beginning what points you will be making. Audiences like to know what to expect. Tell them the main goals of your presentation directly in the introduction.
- Use connectors to make transitions from one point to another and to present details within certain points. Here are some examples of connectors for different situations:
- Presenting main points: firstly, secondly, last but not least
- Making additions: moreover, furthermore, in addition, besides, what’s more
- Making purposes clear: in order to, so as to
- Presenting reasons and causes: on account of, due to, since, seeing that
- Presenting consequences: consequently, as a result, therefore
- Expressing contrast: in spite of, despite, although, even though, however, nevertheless, in contrast, on the contrary
So with this, you’ve mastered the 25 most commonly used phrases used in presentations and my three favorite tips.
Once you learn them, I think you’ll find them very useful to you in any presentation.
Become familiar with them and I promise you’ll feel much less nervous in your next presentation.