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Woman giving a presentation to their colleagues

Professional Phrases for Presentations

We have compiled a collection of useful professional phrases to help you to present like a pro. Remember the KISS rule: Keep It Short and Simple.

Before beginning, it’s a good idea to greet your audience. Make eye contact. Read the mood in the room. Then introduce yourself, giving people some background about your skills and expertise. This gives people more confidence in you as a speaker. If you’ve already been introduced, thank the person for their introduction.

1. The opener

The first three minutes are critical to catch your audience’s attention. Start strong, and engage the audience from the start. The phrases in bold are for you to add to your speeches.

Give an interesting quote relevant to your presentation. For example: “Nelson Mandela once said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon with which you can change the world’.”

Share a statistic or fact that leads into your presentation topic. For instance: Did you know that (e.g. South Africa has eleven official languages). According to research (e.g. the most productive work day is Tuesday).

2. Give your audience a roadmap

Briefly tell your audience what they can expect from your presentation. In this presentation, I’ll be focusing on (e.g. how to grow your business). Infographics are visual representations of data, making complex ideas simple and easy to understand. When making your own, organize your images, charts and text carefully, and cite your references and sources. However, keep some points to tell the audience yourself, while the slides are displayed.

The rule is: ‘tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them’. First, I’ll give you an overview of (e.g. the current economic climate), followed by (the challenges and the opportunities). These prepare the audience to listen to the main points. Finally, I’ll close by (sharing success stories and invite your to share your stories too).

3. During the presentation

Watch some speeches on ted.com and pay attention to the content (with subtitles) and their presentation style. Notice how the speakers are well-researched, well-structured and well-prepared, and have a sense of humour to catch your interest. Use some of these phrases to indicate the structure, a chance in topic, or a new stage of the presentation:

  • The first point is… Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly…
  • Now let’s turn to the subject of (economic challenges)
  • Moving on, I’d like to talk about business success stories.
  • I’ll pause here top open the floor to questions. You can use this phrase between each section, or at the end of the presentation.
  • Let’s look at these statistics in more detail.
  • I’ll run through this slide quickly, to leave time for questions.
  • To summarise, (with enough commitment it is possible to grow your business).

Also, add stories from you personal experience and juicy examples from the news, current affairs, and society to keep it interesting.

4. The close

Just as you start strong to catch the audience’s interest, also close on a strong note. Recap and summarise the key points. Give a final image or story that pulls the talk together and leaves an impact on the audience.

  • In summary / To conclude / Let’s recap.
  • Our time is up. Any questions or comments?
  • That concludes my presentation. Thank you for your time.

Think carefully about what you want to cover in the speech. However, also be flexible to respond to the audience’s comments and questions, even with a ‘Let me check and get back to you on that‘. If the audience are interested and brave enough to speak up, you are already winning.


By Leigh-Anne Hunter

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