If you’re going to make it in the professional world, most likely you’ll have to give a presentation in English at some point. No reason to get nervous!
Most of the work involved lies in the introduction. You may or may not need an English presentation PPT file, your topic, audience, or time limit may vary, but a strong opening is a must no matter what! Everything that follows can build from the opening outline you present to your audience.
Let’s look at some guidelines for starting a presentation in English. If you can master this part, you’ll never have to worry about the rest!
Opening in a Presentation in English
While it’s important to have your entire presentation organized and outlined, planning and organization are especially important in the introduction. This is what will guide you through a clear and concise beginning. Let’s look at how to start a presentation with well-organized thoughts.
- Introduce yourself and welcome everyone.
- State the purpose of your presentation
- Give a short overview of the presentation
As we say, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. (No need for a more detailed English presentation script!) Let’s examine the first step.
1. Introduce Yourself & Welcome Everyone
The self-introduction is your opportunity to make a good first impression. Be sure to open with a warm welcome and use language that is familiar and natural. Based on your audience, there are a few different expressions you can use to start your presentation.
If you’re presenting to coworkers who may already know you:
- Hello, [name] here. I would like to thank you all for your time. As you may know, I [describe what you do/your job title] I look forward to discussing [topic] today.
- Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone. Thank you for being here. For those who don’t know me, my name is [name], and for those who know me, hello again.
If you’re presenting to people you’ve never met:
- Hello everyone, it’s nice to meet you all. My name is [name] and I am the [job/title].
- Hello. Welcome to [event]. My name is [name] and I am the [job/title]. I’m glad you’re all here.
There are certainly more ways to make an introduction. However, it’s generally best to follow this format:
- Start with a polite welcome and state your name.
- Follow with your job title and/or the reason you’re qualified to speak on the topic being discussed.
2. State the Purpose of Your Presentation
Now that your audience knows who you are and your qualifications, you can state the purpose of your presentation. This is where you clarify to your audience what you’ll be talking about.
So, ask yourself, “What do I want my audience to get from this presentation?”
- Do you want your audience to be informed?
- Do you need something from your audience?
- Do you want them to purchase a product?
- Do you want them to do something for the community or your company?
With your goal in mind, you can create the next couple of lines of your presentation. Below are some examples of how to start.
- Let me share with you…
- I’d like to introduce you to [product or service]
- Today I want to discuss…
- I want to breakdown for you [topic]
- Let’s discuss…
- Today I will present the results of my research on [topic]
- By the end of this presentation, you’ll understand [topic]
- My goal is to explain…
- As you know, we’ll be talking about…
When talking about the purpose of your presentation, stick to your goals. You purpose statement should be only one to three sentences. That way, you can give your audience a clear sense of purpose that sets them up for the rest of the presentation.
3. A Short Overview of the Presentation
The final step in starting your presentation is to give a short outline of what you’ll be presenting. People like a map of what to expect from a presentation.
It helps them organize their thoughts and gives a sense of order. Also, it lets the audience know why they’re listening to you. This is what you’ll use to grab their attention, and help them stay focused throughout the presentation.
Here are some examples of how you can outline your presentation:
- Today, I’m going to cover… Then we’ll talk about… Lastly, I’ll close on…
- We’re going to be covering some key information you need to know, including…
- My aim with this presentation is to get you to… To do that we’ll be talking about…
- I’ve divided my presentation into [number] sections… [List the sections]
- Over the next [length of your presentation] I’m going to discuss…
That’s it! It’s as simple as 1-2-3. If you have a fear of public speaking or are not confident about presenting to a group of people, follow these three steps. It’s a simple structure that can get you off to a good start. With that in mind, there are other ways to bring your introduction to the next level too! Read on for bonus tips on how to really engage your audience, beyond the basics.
For a Strong Presentation in English, Engage your Audience
Presentations aren’t everyone’s strongest ability, and that’s OK. If you’re newer to presenting in English, the steps above are the basics to getting started. Once you’re more comfortable with presenting, though, you can go a step further with some extra tricks that can really wow your audience.
Mastering the skill of engaging an audience will take experience. Fortunately, there are many famous speakers out there you can model for capturing attention. Also, there are some common techniques that English-speakers use to gain an audience’s attention.
*How and when you use these techniques in your introduction is at your discretion, as long as you cover the 3 steps of the introduction outline that we discussed earlier.*
Do or say something shocking.
The purpose of shocking your audience is to immediately engage them. You can make a loud noise and somehow relate the noise to your presentation. Or, you can say, “Did you know that…” and follow with a shocking story or statistic. Either way, the objective is to create surprise to draw their attention.
Tell a story
Telling a story related to your presentation is a great way to get the audience listening to you.
You can start by saying, “On my way to [location] the other day…” or “On my way here, I was reminded of…” and then follow with a story. A good story can make your presentation memorable.
Ask your audience to take part
Sometimes a good introduction that captures attention will involve asking for help from the audience. You can ask the audience to play a quick game or solve a puzzle that’s related to your presentation. Also, you could engage the audience with a group exercise. This is a great way to get people involved in your presentation.
There are many more ways to engage the audience, so get creative and see what you can think up! Here are some resources that will help you get started.
Also, if you want to get better at public speaking (and help your English speaking too!), a great organization to know about is the Toastmasters. The organization is dedicated to helping you be a better speaker, and there are many local groups in America. They offer free lessons and events to help you master your English speaking, and also offer additional help to paying members.
A presentation in English? No problem, as long as your introduction sets you up for success. Admittedly, this can be easier said than done. Native speakers and non-native speakers alike sometimes struggle with getting a good start on their English presentation. But the advice above can help you get the confidence you need to lay a good foundation for your next speech!