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Presenting in English    

A Business English Activity

This intermediate level set of articles is by David Harper, who is a Business English teacher in Madrid, Spain.

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Presenting in English - Part 1

You can either simply read and listen at the same time to the text below or do the interactive activities in this order: Presenting in English - Websequitur 1, Presenting in English - Vocabulary Matching 1, Presenting in English - Simple Cloze 1, Presenting in English - Difficult Cloze 1, Presenting in English - Comprehension Quiz 1 and Presenting in English - WebRhubarb 1.

Listen to the text of part 1:

MP3    MP3

A Brief Introduction to Presenting in English
Part 1 – Looks, Manner and Voice

Have you ever been asked to make a presentation in English? Being able to present professionally in English can give your career a boost and propel you up the corporate ladder.

Surveys have shown that to capture and then to keep an audience's attention the most important thing is how you look and how you move your body (body language); the second most important is how you talk; the third most important (in fact, the least important) is what you say. It is too easy to concentrate all your efforts on the content of your presentation neglecting the 'performance' aspect of it.

So, the first thing you have to do is to be smart. OK, that's easy, you just have to buy a new outfit at El Corte Inglés. Now, what about body language? Well, try to face the audience; don't look at your Powerpoint presentation when you're speaking; use your hands; move around; make eye contact with members of the audience. Don't put your hands in your pockets or look at the floor. Keep them on their toes.

Next thing. How you talk. Don't talk too quickly. Stress important words or phrases for emphasis and pause afterwards to ensure the audience understands the significance of the points and have time to absorb them. Use repetition and contrast opposing points again for emphasis. Ask rhetorical questions, the ones that you know the audience would likely want to ask themselves. This makes it easy for the audience to follow the presentation and to differentiate the main subject matter from background contextual content. Listen to the way that politicians speak.

The actor John Wayne once said: “talk low, talk slow and don't talk too much”. Bear this in mind when you are planning your presentation and you'll be starting off on the right foot.

Part 1 - Vocabulary - English and Spanish

Manner - the way that something is done or somebody behaves - forma.
Boost - something that helps something else - estimular, fomentar.
Propel - to push or move something somewhere, often with a lot of force - lanzar.
Survey - an investigation of opinions done by asking questions - encuesta.
How you look - your appearance - tu aparencia.
Corporate Ladder – the hierarchical structure of a company. The higher you are up the ladder, the more senior you are - jerarquía corporativa.
Neglect - to not pay enough attention to something - desatender.
Performance - how well or badly something is done - rendimiento, interpretación.
Smart - having a clean, tidy and stylish appearance - elegante.
Outfit - set of clothes worn for a particular occasion or activity - conjunto.
Eye Contact - when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time - contacto visual.
To keep people on their toes – to keep people attentive and prepared - hacer que las personas presten atención.
Afterwards - at a later time - despues. (See more linkers.)
Ensure - to make sure that something happens - asegurar.
Rhetorical questions - questions asked to produce an effect and not to get an answer - preguntas retóricas.
Likely - probable or expected - probable.
Background - the context and circumstances of the presentation - fondo.
To bear in mind – to remember a piece of information when you are making a decision or thinking about a matter - ten lo presente. (See more linkers.)
To start off on the the right foot – to begin a project or challenge in an effective way - empezar con buen pie.

Practice the vocabulary: Presenting in English - Vocabulary Matching 1

Presenting in English - Part 2

You can either simply read and listen at the same time to the text below or do the interactive activities in this order: Presenting in English - Websequitur 2, Presenting in English - Vocabulary Matching 2, Presenting in English - Simple Cloze 2, Presenting in English - Difficult Cloze 2, Presenting in English - Comprehension Quiz 2 and Presenting in English - WebRhubarb 2.

Listen to the text of part 2:

MP3    MP3

A Brief Introduction to Presenting in English Part 2 – Planning and why all this Preparation is Important.

You may have noticed that in Part 1 all the advice could equally apply to giving a presentation in German, Chinese and even Spanish! So how will it give you any particular help when you present in English? Well, this part will also be applicable to any language but both will be invaluable for non-native English speakers preparing presentations in English. Just wait and see and all will become clear.

Your presentation will have an introduction, a main part and a conclusion. The introduction will include a summary of the main part (what you are going to say) and the conclusion will also include a summary of the main part (what you said). The main part will be divided into sections or topic areas. Each of these sections should also include a brief introduction and conclusion. This will allow the audience to understand the structure of the presentation and to follow its logical flow.

The majority of the presentation will be 'ad hoc' (or unscripted) in that you will be using your own words as you follow the pre-prepared plan. However, you should write a script for the first part of the introduction and the last part of the conclusion beforehand and learn both by heart. In addition, you should derive approximate timings for each part of the presentation as a help in estimating the duration of the talk and as a means of reviewing your progress as you speak.

You should print a copy of the scripts and the plan and keep them within reach as you make the presentation.

So, why are Looks, Manner and Voice (Part 1) and Planning (Part 2) important for your English presentation? First of all, it is the professional way to do things and will give you the best chance of giving an effective talk. Secondly, and most importantly, for non-native English speakers, it will give you time and help you conserve your mental energy. You need more time and energy (perhaps better described as concentration) to convert what you want to say into English words and sentences than you do in your native language.

So, by speaking more slowly and pausing you will give yourself time and you will conserve your energy. By memorising parts of your presentation, you will save the energy involved in producing 'ad hoc' language and you will ensure that during the most important stages of the presentation (the beginning and the end) you will say what you planned to say. By effective planning you will save on the concentration needed to navigate the talk giving yourself the opportunity to be more relaxed and natural.

In the next part of the series we get down to business – the performance itself.

Part 2 - Vocabulary - English and Spanish

You may have noticed - It is probable that you noticed before now (having the consequence in the present that now you know what the author is speaking about). - puede que te hayas dado cuenta.
Be applicable to - affecting or relating to a person or thing; is usable, appropriate and relevant to. - aplicable a.
Invaluable - extremely useful. - muy útil, valor incalculable.
Just wait - to simply remain in expectation. - simplemente espera.
Allow - permit. - permitir.
Ad hoc - improvised. - improvisado.
Unscripted - Improvised. - improvisado.
Beforehand - in advance of something, earlier. - de antemano. (See more linkers.)
Learn by heart - memorize. - memorizar.
Timing - the ability to do something at the right time. - sincronización, ritmo, la habilidad de hacer algo en el mejor momento.
Within reach - near enough so that you can touch it or pick it up. - a tu alcance.
The best chance - a very good possibility. - la mejor oportunidad.
Giving yourself the opportunity - making it possible for you. - dándote la posibilidad.
Get down to business - start work on. - entrar en materia, ir al grano, ponerse manos a la obra.

Nuevas Actividades para Estudiar Inglés

David Harper Actividad para practicar el verbo "get" realizada por el profesor de inglés David Harper. Lee el texto y decide dónde insertar el verbo "get" (hay más que 20 ejemplos en distintas formas). Luego escucha el texto para comprobar tus respuestas.Uses of Get.

Actividad para practicar pronunciación realizada por el profesor de inglés William Christison (Clases Particulares de Inglés). Lee el poema anónimo. Luego escucha y comprueba: (pronunciación - estadounidense).

CC Golf Image The Masters Golf Championship. - Actividades para leer y escuchar de Hotpotatoes por el profesor de inglés Peter Wilson Clarke - Verbs Vocabulary, Other Vocabulary, Cloze, Quiz.

Presenting in English - Part 3

You can either simply read and listen at the same time to the text below or do the interactive activities in this order: Presenting in English - Websequitur 3, Presenting in English - Vocabulary Matching 3, Presenting in English - Simple Cloze 3, Presenting in English - Difficult Cloze 3, Presenting in English - Comprehension Quiz 3 and Presenting in English - WebRhubarb 3.

Listen to the text of part 3:

Listen to the text of part 3:    mp3    mp3

A Brief Introduction to Presenting in English Part 3 – The Performance

The obvious problem when presenting in a language other than your own is nerves. However, by carefully planning your presentation we have reduced the amount of ´thinking on your feet’ that you will need to do. This will allow you to concentrate on the content of your talk, reducing the mental effort involved with navigating your way through the various stages of the presentation.

Furthermore, by preparing your introduction beforehand, you will be able to ease your way into the presentation allowing yourself to get over the most nerve-racking part of all; the first five minutes. Similarly, a pre-rehearsed ending to the presentation will ensure you don't forget to leave the audience with the important points clear in their minds.

As we mentioned before, talk precisely and clearly; use emphasis and pauses to ‘punctuate’ your points. Keep your hands above your waist and use movement and body language to complement your voice in putting across your message. Do not turn your back on the audience when referring to the screen and try not to read verbatim from the displayed text; don’t forget, your audience can read.

Keep your notes (with timings) in front of you and refer to them when you need to. Don’t forget it is important to check the progress of the presentation against the schedule, so make sure you have some kind of timer available. This could be a wall clock, mobile phone or watch but if you use a wrist watch, take it off and put it in front of you.

You will need to decide if you you prefer taking questions during the talk or leaving them until the end. We will cover this issue in the next episode.

Language to help you navigate the talk may include:
“To start off then ...............”
“To move on to my next point .............”
“To go back to what I was saying ...............”
“To give you an example of what I mean .............”
“To digress for a moment ...............”
“To summarise ................”
“To sum up then ................”

Language to help you with your visual material may include:
“Take a look at this. . .”
“As you can see. . .”
“I'd like to point out. . .”

You may ask, “what about questions and interruptions?” Well, in the next episode we will look at how to deal with unanticipated events and the language needed to overcome potential problems.

Part 3 - Vocabulary - English and Spanish

allow: permit.
Furthermore: also. (See more linkers.)
to say something in a language other than your own: to say something in a different language.
To think on your feet: to make a quick decision or give an answer quickly.
To ease your way (in context): to begin an activity in a way that makes it more comfortable or easier.
To get over: to feel better after something or someone has made you unhappy or nervous.
Nerve-racking / nerve-wracking: describes something that is difficult to do and causes a lot of worry for the person involved in it.
to rehearse: to practice. (to pre-rehearse - to practice beforehand)
To put across: to express your ideas and opinions clearly so that people understand them easily.
Verbatim: using exactly the same words as were originally used.
to move on - to continue with.
to go back - to return.
To digress: to move away from the main subject you are writing or talking about and to write or talk about something else.
To sum up: to describe or express briefly the important facts or characteristics about something or someone.
to point out - to make aware of, señalar.
to deal with - to handle, tratar.
to overcome - to succeed in dealing with a problem, superar.


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