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Episode 9 - Video
Episode 9 - Transcript
We look again at presentations.

TAN: Today I'm going to look at the results of our customer survey. First I'll go through the survey questions, then summarise the results, and finally I'll outline the conclusions. After that, there'll be time for questions and discussion. So, let's start with the survey questions...

Turning to the results, as you can see from the diagram, most people decided what to buy when they saw the product at the showroom. About one third made their decision based on what the salesperson said. The others knew what they wanted to buy already. Most of those made their decision on the recommendation of a friend. Only a few said they relied on advertising...

Let's move on to the conclusions.The first one is that it's very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical. People who experience good after-sales service are more likely to recommend a brand.And finally, advertising – it's expensive, so we need to make sure we're getting results.
In today's program, we look again at a presentation. Tan is presenting the results of a survey. Let's see how he does it. How does Tan start his presentation?
Today I'm going to look at the results of our customer survey.
When giving a presentation it's important to state clearly what you are going to talk about at the beginning. What is your topic?

For this, Tan uses the future tense 'I'm going to…'. He could also have said 'I will…'

And instead of 'look at' he could have used other words:
examine,
analyse,
review,
discuss.

After introducing the topic, what does Tan do next?
First I'll go through the survey questions, then summarise the results, and finally I'll outline the conclusions.

After that, there'll be time for questions and discussion.
Tan outlines the structure of his presentation. There were three parts. Notice how he signals this by using sequencing words: first, then, and finally.

The structure of his talk is:
Introduction, then part 1, survey questions; part 2, survey results; part 3 survey conclusions.

There's one more sequencing signal in his introduction. Did you hear it?
After that, there'll be time for questions and discussion.
Even though Tan said 'finally' he would talk about conclusions, he has something 'after that'. This is because the questions are not part of his presentation. He's telling his audience that after he's talked about conclusions, it will be time to ask questions.

So sequencing words are very useful - they tell your audience how many parts are in your talk - and they can signal when you are moving from one topic to the next one. Sequencing words are words like firstly, secondly, thirdly, then, next, finally, after that, following that, and later on. Another type of signal can be used to show you are moving from one part of your talk to another.

Here are three that Tan uses - practise them with him.
So, let's start with the questions...

Turning to the results...

Let's move on to the conclusions.
When we speak in English, pauses and intonation are as important as the words we use - because they help people understand. Listen.
Let's move on to the conclusions. The first one is that it's very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical.
Without pauses or intonation, it's much harder to understand - and it sounds boring. Let's add pauses.
Let's move on to the conclusions. (pause) The first one (mini-pause) is that it's very important (mini-pause) that salespeople on the floor (mini-pause) know about our products. (pause) Another(mini-pause) is that after-sales service is critical.
Pauses should come between sentences - here. But you'll notice small pauses in the middle of sentences - after phrases. These help the listener to follow what is being said.

Now we add intonation and stress.
Let's move on to the conclusions. The first one is that it's very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical.
Intonation is the way we pronounce sentences. Note the downward intonation at the end of sentences - 'Let's move on to the conclusions'; 'about our products'; 'After sales service is critical.'

Stress occurs in words, and sentences. In words - one syllable is stressed. The wrong stress makes it hard to understand. So:
Conclusion, not conclusion
Products, not products.

Even more important in speaking, is to stress the important words in a sentence. This helps the meaning of what you are saying - it gives emphasis.

So Tan says Let's move on to the conclusions, stressing 'conclusions' because it's the key word in this sentence. The other words stressed are the key words for understanding.

Let's listen to Tan once more, noting the pauses, intonation, word and sentence stress.
Let's move on to the conclusions. The first one is that it's very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical.
Let's look at the diagram, and how we can describe numbers, or statistics.

First, Tan says 'most people decided what to buy at the showroom'.

Because more people decided at the showroom than at home, we can say 'most', 'the majority', or 'over half'.

To describe people deciding at home, which is less than fifty percent, we could say 'a minority' or 'less than half'.

Looking at the reasons for decisions, we are comparing four groups of people. We can use descriptive words such as 'many', 'some', ' a few'.
And we can say 'the greatest number' or 'the highest percentage'.

The greatest number of people went by the salesperson's recommendation.

We could say 'only a few' relied on advertising.

And we can use words like approximately, about, nearly, over and under.

Approximately one third
About a quarter
Over a quarter
Under a third.

Finally, let's look at Tan's conclusions.
The first one is that it's important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical. People who experience good after-sales service are more likely to recommend a brand. And finally, advertising - it's expensive, so we need to make sure we're getting results.
Notice again how Tan uses signals for his conclusions. His audience can clearly hear that there are three...

He says 'the first one', (pause)

'Another' (pause)

and 'finally'.

Notice also how Tan uses adjectives to make his points. You shouldn't use the same words all the time.

What are the adjectives?
They are important, critical and expensive.

So, to summarise:
State your topic.
Outline the structure of your presentation.
Use signalling and sequencing words.
Pay attention to intonation and stress.
Use descriptive words and adjectives, not just numbers.
And in conclusion, that's all today on The Business of English.
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