Today we're looking at how to end a presentation, and how to deal with questions.
BARBARA: So, I'd like to end with a summary of what I've looked at today, and some recommendations.
The figures show that sales are strongly seasonal, and that customers depend on good information on the showroom floor. So I'd like to recommend we concentrate on discounting in the off-seasons, and spend more time on briefing our sales representatives.
That's all I have for now. Are there any questions?
DENISE: You mentioned that the sales figures may also reflect economic trends. Can you expand on that?
BARBARA: Well, we are always going to depend on the economy. As I understand it, we can look forward to an improvement this year. Does that answer your question?
TAN: Are you saying we're in for a period of growth?
BARBARA: Well, I'm afraid that's a bit outside my area of expertise, but that's what the papers are suggesting.
JOHN: If you believe it.
DENISE: You suggested that we might be spending too much on advertising. Can you clarify that?
BARBARA: It's hard to quantify without better data.
TAN: Sorry. Could you repeat that?
BARBARA: We don't have the figures to really know how effective our advertising is.
DENISE: In my experience you can't do without advertising.
BARBARA: Time for one last question.
JOHN: I have one.
BARBARA: Yes John?
JOHN: Is it time for coffee?
BARBARA: Okay, we'll wrap up now. Thankyou for your input everyone.
Today we're looking at how to end a presentation, and how to deal with questions. Let's look first at how Barbara concludes, or finishes her presentation.
Barbara says she'd like to end with a summary, and some recommendations.
When ending a presentation or a talk, you may do this with a summary - this is a short statement of your main points - with a conclusion, which is a result of all the information you've presented, or recommendations, which are things you think should be done. In all cases, they should be clear and concise, or not too long.
Practise with Barbara some phrases you can use to introduce your final points.
I'd like to end with some recommendations
I'll finish with a summary...
What can we conclude from all this?
Listen to the difference between the summary and the recommendations.
Her summary consists of the main points from her talk about sales figures. There are two points. Her recommendations are what she thinks the company should do in the future, and there are two of these as well. Here are some phrases you can use to introduce a summary and recommendations.
I'd like to recommend that...
My recommendations are...
Let's look at how Barbara finishes her talk, and asks for questions.
Here's Barbara with some useful phrases for you to practise if asking for questions.
Are there any questions?
I'll answer any questions now.
Does anyone have any questions?
At the end of a talk, you may ask for questions, or for comments, or for a general discussion. You need to let your audience know what you want them to do...
like this: Are there any comments?
I'd like to open it up for discussion.
Let's look at how Denise asks a question.
Denise does two things - first she re-states something Barbara said, then she asks her to 'expand' on it, or say more about it. It's a good idea when asking a question to state what you think the speaker said - so everyone knows what the question is about...
You might say
You mentioned that...
You suggested that...
You stated that...
In the question you can ask the speaker to respond in different ways. Denise asks her to expand, but she could also clarify (or make clearer), or explain further. Practise some phrases you can use for this:
Can you expand on that?
Can you clarify that?
Could you explain that a bit further?
Listen to how Barbara answers Denise's question.
In her answer Barbara uses the phrase 'As I understand it'. By using this phrase she is signalling that this is not really her area of expertise. She is getting her information from somewhere else. You could also use phrases like:
'As far as I know'
'My information is thatů'
Notice that she also checks whether Denise is satisfied with her answer by saying:
'Does that answer your question?'
If she wanted to, Denise could ask a further question, but Tan does it for her.
Tan is asking for clarification. He wants Barbara to say more about her point. He does this by checking that he has understood her.
Practise with Tan some phrases you can use to ask for clarification.
Are you saying..?
So you're saying that...
So, are you suggesting that..?
If I follow you, you're suggesting that...
Let's look at some more questions now.
Notice that, as before, Denise restates what she thinks Barbara said, by saying 'You suggested thatů' then asks her to clarify, by saying 'Can you clarify that? And Tan asks her to repeat something simply by asking 'Could you repeat that?' Notice too that when Barbara answers Tan, she uses different words. If someone asks you to repeat, or clarify, it's better to rephrase, than simply say the same thing again. Notice how Denise puts in her own comment.
This is Denise's comment, or opinion, not a question. She shows this by starting 'in my experience'. She could also have said 'in my opinion', or 'As I understand it,...'.
Let's see now how Barbara finishes her presentation.
The person giving the talk is in control, so she needs to signal that she is finished. She does this by saying 'Time for one last question.'
Practise some phrases you could use to end a presentation.
Time for one last question...
Are there any more questions?
I think we'll wrap it up now.
So remember - after a talk, give a summary and perhaps some recommendations or conclusions. Ask for questions or comments. When asking questions, state what you understood from the speaker first, and then say what you want them to do - clarify, or explain, or expand. Well, that about wraps us up for today. Thanks for listening, and I'll see you next time on The Business of English.