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Structuring a Presentation: How To Express Your Ideas (Part 2)

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In Part 1, I briefly explained how to write a presentation outline, to organize the body of your talk, and to introduce it in engaging ways.

I showed you a useful way to lay out your major and minor points. I talked about different ways to sequence your ideas and to guide listeners by using signposts or signals.

Finally, I shared some neat techniques to introduce the presentation, such as using an anecdote or a startling fact.

In this article I’d like to address these three questions.

  • How should I conclude a presentation?
  • What other helpful signals are there to make a talk flow clearly?
  • What is a good title?

Conclude your talk the smart way

So you have a engaging introduction.You have a clearly organized body to your presentation with all the key points spelled out and supported. Now you’re ready to write the conclusion.

The common wisdom among experts is that there are four parts to a conclusion. Keep in mind that you don’t want the conclusion to be too long and you shouldn’t include any new material.

1. Summarize the key points

You want to remind listeners what you showed in the talk and how you did so. Review the main points you covered and state the essential message you would like listeners to retain.


[note]Useful language
To summarize what I said, . . .
Let me recap the main points  . .  .
So, as we have seen today . . .
To sum up, . . .[/note]

2. Conclude briefly

Leave a message that logically flows from the ideas you developed in your talk. This could be in the form of a commentary, lessons you’ve learned, some recommendations or possible next steps.

Similarly to what you did in the introduction, you might want to use a quotation – either factual or emotional, a quotation from an authority, an anecdote or question.

[note]

Useful language
In light of what I said today, I suggest that . . .
So, as we have learned . . .
In conclusion, I’d like to quote the famous words of . . .
I want to conclude my talk by quoting . . .
[/note]

3. Thank the audience for listening

Simply thank the audience for being there.

[note]Useful language
I want to thank you for your attention.
Thank you for being such a great audience.
It was my pleasure speaking to you today.[/note]

4. Invite feedback from the audience

Finally, depending on the context, you may want to invite comments. Or you could ask for questions, if you feel really well prepared.

[note]Useful language
Does anyone have any comments?
Please feel free to make any suggestions or comments?
Are there any questions?
I’d be happy to answer any questions.[/note]

Use transitions – more signals to guide your listeners

Both in this article and in Part 1, I presented some useful signposts to guide your talk from point to point. Here are a few more transitional expressions to make it easier for listeners to follow you.

Transitional expression Examples
To draw emphasis indeed, in fact, of course
To give an example As an illustration of, in other words, in simpler terms
To add something Furthermore, moreover, equally important
To compare In the same way, likewise, similarly
To contrast On the other hand, conversely, be that as it may
To show cause and effect Therefore, as a result, it follows that

Come up with a catchy title

Can you imagine a newspaper story or a movie without a title? Of course not. An appealing title gives your audience a clue to what you are going to talk about. It’s best to write your title after you have written the body and conclusion of your talk.

It should be provocative as well as short and simple. It should indicate the content and purpose of your talk. Here are some examples:

[note]Question: What is Business English Anyway?
Startling statement: Higher Education is a Scam
Alliteration: Communication and Creativity
Words that rhyme: Fun and Sun[/note]

So now you know some ways to close your talk, some transitional words to make your talk flow well, and a few ideas to give your speech a title. Now you need how to make your talk persuasive and get your audience to take action.

How will you take action next time you present?
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Identify Conclusions

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