In class, for work, for an exam – there are many reasons why you might need to give a presentation in English. When giving a presentation in English, you need to make sure you’re prepared. This means planning what you will say and organising your visual presentation.
Giving a presentation in English can be challenging, but with these helpful phrases, you can feel confident and ready to make a good presentation in English.
Starting your presentation
So how to start a presentation in English? Begin by saying hello and welcoming everyone. You can also thank the audience for being there with you.
The beginning of the presentation is one of the most important parts because you need to make sure your audience is interested from the start.
You could tell a short story, give a fact, or simply tell the audience a little bit about yourself, e.g. ‘Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself …’
Then, introduce what your presentation is about by giving an opening statement or an overview of your session. For example, ‘Today, I am going to talk to you about …’ or, ‘Today, we’ll be looking at/focusing on …’.
You can also tell the audience, ‘If you have any questions, please raise your hand and I’ll be happy to answer them’ … or ‘We’ll have time at the end for questions.’
Presenting the topic
When you get into the main part of giving your presentation in English, remember that what you’re saying to your audience is new information. Speak slowly, organise your ideas, and make sure your pronunciation is clear. You can learn more about boosting your pronunciation here.
Use expressions to order your ideas and introduce new ones. You can use words and phrases to sequence like, firstly/first of all, secondly, then, next, following this, and lastly/finally.
If you want to introduce the opposite point of view, you can use language like however, on the other hand, contrary to this and then again.
It’s a good idea to link what you are saying back to previous things you have said. This shows you have a well-organised presentation and also helps keep people engaged. For example, ‘as I said previously/at the beginning …’, ‘as you may remember’ and ‘this relates to what I said about ….’
Highlighting information during your talk
When you are giving a presentation in English, you might want to highlight a particular piece of information or something that’s important. You can use phrases such as ‘Let’s focus on …’, ‘I want to highlight …’, ‘Pay attention to …’, ‘Let’s look at …’, ‘I want to briefly address …’, or ‘Now, let’s discuss ….’ You can use these phrases after your sequencing words to help you with your structure.
You can also highlight information by asking your audience their opinion of what you are saying or having them engage with the presentation in some way. For example, you could ask a question and have the audience raise their hands if they agree, or disagree, or if you want to find out how many of them have experience with the situation you’re discussing. Asking questions is a good way to make sure you still have the audience’s attention after you’ve been speaking for a while.
You can also highlight information on your visuals if you’re using them. Use bright, impactful pictures and colours, and don’t include too much writing on your slides.
Finalising the talk
At the end of the presentation, you should summarise your talk and remind the audience of the things you have discussed, and the new information you have given them. You can say things like ‘In summary, we have looked at …’, ‘I’d like to finish by …’, and ‘We’re coming to the end of the presentation. We’ve discussed …’.
You can then ask the audience for any questions you haven’t already answered.
What are your experiences of giving a presentation in English? Do you have any other tips to add? Share below!
Billie Jago is an ELT writer and teacher trainer, specialising in digital & assessments. She is the founder of the professional development podcast ELTcpd and co-founder of the digital ELT content agency, otterelt.