Read the following advice on presentations and choose the best heading
for each paragraph from the following list.
Rapport / • Voice quality / • Body Language / • Delivery
• Audience Reaction / • Nerves / • Visual aids / • Cultural
This refers to the way in
which you actually perform or give your presentation. It is
a vital aspect of all presentations and it is at least as
important as content, especially in a multi-cultural
Most speakers feel a little uneasy at the beginning of a
presentation, and this is perfectly normal. The answer is to
pay special attention to the beginning of your presentation.
First impressions are important and this is the time when
you need to get the attention of your audience. As you
begin, try to speak slowly and calmly. It’s a good idea to
learn your introduction by heart. After a few moments, you
will relax and gain confidence.
You need to build a warm and friendly relationship with your
audience. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are enthusiastic
your audience will be enthusiastic too. And be careful to
establish eye contact with each member of your audience.
Each person should feel that you are speaking directly to
him or her. This means that you must look at each person in
turn - in as natural a way as possible. This will also give
you the opportunity to detect signs of boredom, disinterest
or even disagreement, allowing you to modify your
presentation as appropriate.
What you do not say is at least as important as what you do
say. Your body is speaking to your audience even before you
open your mouth. Your clothes, your walk, your glasses, your
haircut, your expression and even the way you stand all help
to give your audience its first impression of you.
Generally speaking, it is better to stand rather than sit
when making a presentation. Be aware of and avoid any
repetitive and irritating gestures. Be aware, too, that the
movement of your body is one of your methods of control.
When you move to or from the whiteboard, for example, you
can move fast or slowly, raising or reducing the dynamism in
the audience. You can stand very still while talking or you
can move from side to side. These movements all have a
different effect on your audience.
Because English is so widely used around the world, it is
quite possible that many members of your audience will not
be native English-speakers. In other words, they will not
have an Anglo-Saxon culture. You should always bear in mind
differences in culture and try to learn about any particular
cultural points that may affect your audience. This is one
reason why preparation for your presentation is so
Cultural differences can also be seen in body language. To a
Latin from Southern France or Italy, a presenter who uses
his hands and arms when speaking may seem dynamic and
friendly. To an Englishman, the same presenter may seem
unsure of his words and lacking in self-confidence.
It is, of course, important that your audience can hear you
clearly throughout your presentation. Remember that if you
turn away from your audience, for example towards the
whiteboard, you need to speak a little more loudly. In
general, you should try to vary your voice. Your voice will
then be more interesting for your audience. You can vary
your voice in at least three ways:
• speed: you can speak at normal speed, you can speak
faster, you can speak more slowly - and you can stop
completely! You can pause. This is a very good technique for
getting your audience's attention.
• intonation: you can change the pitch of your voice. You
can speak in a high tone. You can speak in a low tone.
• volume: you can speak at normal volume, you can speak
loudly and you can speak quietly. Lowering your voice and
speaking quietly can again attract your audience's interest.
The important point is not to speak in the same, flat,
monotonous voice throughout your presentation. This could
put your audience to sleep!
Of all the information that enters our brains, most of it
enters through the eyes. 80% of what your audience learn
during your presentation is learned visually (what they see)
and only 20% is learned aurally (what they hear). The
significance of this is obvious:
• visual aids are an extremely effective means of
• non-native English speakers need not worry so much about
spoken English - they can rely more heavily on visual aids
It is well worth spending time in the creation of good
visual aids. But it is equally important not to use too
many. Keep the information on each visual aid to a minimum -
and give your audience time to look at and absorb this
information. Remember, your audience have never seen
these visual aids before. They need time to study and to
understand them. Without understanding there is no
Apart from photographs and drawings, some of the most useful
visual aids are charts and graphs, like the 3-dimensional
ones shown here:
are circular in shape (like a pie).
can be vertical (as here) or horizontal.
rise and fall.
Remain calm and polite if you receive difficult or even
hostile questions during your presentation. If you receive
very difficult questions, you might suggest that they ask
their questions after your presentation.
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Read the text again and answer the following questions.
1. How should you speak
when you start your presentation?
2. According to the text, what is the best way of noticing
if your audience is bored with, not interested in or not
agreeing with your presentation?
3. How can you increase and decrease the dynamism in your
4. What does the expression lacking in self-confidence
mean in paragraph 5?
a) mucha confianza en sí mismo
b) una persona muy abierta
c) falta de confianza en sí mismo
5) To turn away from in paragraph 6 means
a) escribir en la pizarra
b) volver la cara
c) ponerse de cara a/estar de cara a
6) According to paragraph 7, how much information in a
presentation is received through the ears?
7) In paragraph 7 we see the expression to absorb
information. Which of the following phrasal verbs could
be used in place of the verb absorb in this context?
a) to take for
b) to take in
c) to take up
8) What should you do if the audience ask difficult
questions during your presentation?