After you’ve welcomed everyone, and introduced the presentation topic and yourself, it is time to give a map of your presentation. This roadmap will help your audience to understand what to expect and the topics that will be covered. It is similar to giving instructions on how to listen to your presentation.
Remember that the people in your audience are not perfect:
- some might not have slept well the night before
- some might have just had a heavy lunch complete with 2 glasses of wine
- some might have a lot going on in their life at the moment
- some might not speak English as a first language
These people will not be paying perfect attention to your presentation, and might get lost from time to time as their mind wanders. With this in mind, your signposting and presentation outline will help them to stay with you throughout the presentation.
English for Presentations: Signposting
The first step is to introduce the idea of outlining. You can easily do that with one of these phrases:
- In my presentation I’ll focus on three major issues.
- My presentation is divided into 3 parts.
- My presentation is in 3 parts
- This presentation is structured as follows….
- We can break this down into the following ….
Now that they know you are going to give the outline, you can describe the outline with these. In the real world we often mix these sets together, e.g. Firstly, second, next…. . It isn’t the best form, but it also is not the worst crime. However, if you can plan ahead, it is stylistically best to stick to one set only, e.g. Firstly…secondly…thirdly…lastly…
- First of all…then…next…after that…finally…
- To start with…later…to finish up…
It’s your presentation and you are in the driving seat, so you get to decide when people can ask questions. The following phrases will clearly explain to your audience how and when to ask questions or give feedback:
- Feel free to interrupt me if you have any questions.
- If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them at any time
- I’ll try to answer all of your questions after the presentation.
- I plan to keep some time for questions after the presentation.
- If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave questions until the end of my talk
- There will be time for a Q&A session at the end…
The length of the presentation is important information for you audience, so don’t keep it a secret.
- It will take about 20 minutes to cover these issues.
- My presentation should take about 20 minutes
If you have handouts or other auxiliary materials, you can explain with these useful phrases:
- Does everybody have a handout?
- Have you all received a copy of my report?
- Don’t worry about taking notes. All the important information is in the handout you received.
- I’ll be handing out copies of the slides at the end of my talk.
- I can email the PowerPoint file to anyone who would like a copy.
My presentation is in 4 parts. To start with I’ll go over the sales progress we have made this year. Then I’ll talk about some of the problems we’ve run into and how we dealt with them. After that I’ll outline the opportunities for growth next year. Finally, I’ll sum up my presentation and end with my recommendation. It’ll take about 20 minutes to cover this material. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them at any time, so feel free to interrupt. Does everybody have a handout?
This presentation is structured as follows. Firstly, I’ll describe the sales performance over the first 3 quarters of this fiscal year. Secondly, I’ll provide an explanation of some of the challenges we have faced as well as the action we have taken in response. Thirdly, I will present some potential opportunities for growth in the next year. Finally, I’ll summarise and offer my recommendations. The entire presentation should take approximately 20 minutes. If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave questions until the end of my talk where there will be time for a Q&A session. Have you all received a copy of my report? FYI, I will also be emailing everyone the PowerPoint file after the presentation.