Structure and Content

  • Introduction: General information on the topic
    Give your listeners an introduction to the topic (some general information) and explain what exactly you are going to talk about in your presentation.
  • Actual Presentation
    Subdivide your presentation into several sub-topics.
  • Conclusion
    Try to find a good conclusion, e.g.:
    • an invitation to act
    • an acknowledgement
    • a motivation

Important Tenses

  • Simple Present
  • Simple Past
  • Present Perfect

Tips on Giving a Presentation

As listeners cannot take up as many information as readers, keep the following rules in mind when giving a presentation:

  • Keep your sentences short and simple.
  • Use standard English, avoid slang and techy language.
  • Prefer verbs to nouns (not: The meaning of this is that …, but: This means that …).
  • Use participal constructions sparingly. (In written texts they are often used to increase the density of information in a sentence. In spoken texts, however, they make it more difficult for the listeners to follow.)
  • Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Have little breaks in between the sentences to allow your audience to reflect on what has been said.
  • Communicate freely (don't read the whole text from a piece of paper).
  • Illustrate certain aspects of your presentation with pictures and graphics.

The following tricks will also help you keep your audience's attention:

  • Outline to the audience how your presentation is structured. (e.g. I will first explain ... / Then I will … / After that … / Finally… ).
  • Indicate when you come to another sub-topic (I will now talk about …). This way your audience can follow your presentation more easily.
  • Use a rhetorical question or hypophora from time to time. Your listeners will think that you've asked them a question and thus listen more attentively.
  • Use enumerations starting first / second / third. This also draws your audience's attention.
  • A joke or a quotation might also help keeping your audience listening. Don't overdo it, however. Using too many jokes or quotations might not have the effect you want.