Expressions using Themes (e.g. Collocations, IELTS, Business English)

How to Give a Great Presentation - Vocabulary

When you deliver a presentation, you have to keep people focused and encourage discussion and questions when the time is right. Here are some popular expressions to help boost your vocabulary.

bring/draw (your) attention to

You will hear this used a lot, especially if an important item or point of information is about to be discussed. When people hear this, they usually ‘pay attention’ to what you are saying, simply because it triggers their focus. You might think of this in terms of ‘highlighting’ something to emphasise its significance.

Examples

  • As you can see, the figures have been steadily rising over the past few months. I’d like to draw your attention specifically to June, where we experienced a 12% increase in sales.

  • This chart here brings attention to the fact that the Winter months always result in a downturn in productivity. I believe it’s something we need to address.

open the floor (to)

When you ‘open the floor’ to someone, you invite them to speak or you introduce them to your audience. It means that you pass control over to someone else and hear what they have to say. This can be someone working with you, or someone from another company - for example, a guest speaker.

Examples

  • Well, at this point, I’d like to open the floor to my Manager, Mr. Thomas Darcy, who would like to introduce himself and welcome our new recruits.

  • I think I’ve taken up enough of your time, so let me open the floor now to the Sales Manager from Harlon & Sons, who have joined us here today to elaborate on our co-operative marketing strategy.

hold that thought

People will often interrupt you or try to interrupt you as you are speaking. You can deal with this politely by respecting their voice but making it clear that you are not finished making your point or delivering your presentation. To do this, you can suggest they ‘hold that thought’ until you are ready.

Examples

  • If you can just hold that thought for another few minutes, I’ll get to your question. Thanks.

  • You’re absolutely right, but if you wouldn’t mind just holding that thought, I’ll finish my point and then we can explore your argument.

give (it) a once-over

When you give something a ‘once-over’, you review it, usually quickly or in summary. You might ask a colleague to give a document a once-over before you hand it or email it to your boss or a client; or you might ask someone to give your presentation a once-over before you deliver it. The idea is that they would run through it and point out any errors they might find. In a presentation, you can use it to engage people’s attention.

Examples

  • Good afternoon, everyone. Before we get started, I’d like you all to look at this graph relating to company performance. I think we need to give these figures a once-over, so everyone understands what I’m going to talk about.

  • I met with our new client yesterday, and as he was giving our proposal a once-over prior to signing any paperwork, he found a discrepancy in the profit projections.

These are just a small number of expressions you can use to engage your audience in any (generic) presentation, but using them will display your versatility with the English language. Check out our Themed Expressions pages for expressions related to more specific situations and topics.

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