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

How to Open a Presentation - Vocabulary

When you open a presentation, you have to get everyone’s attention and lay out the agenda. Here are some common expressions that we think you might like to use.


(Let’s) get stuck in

To ‘get stuck in’ means to start a task without hesitation. Sometimes, people put off a task until another time, because it seems too difficult to do. You might say when you start that you are ‘getting stuck in’, to get the task finished and put it behind you. Otherwise, the phrase is used to encourage people to focus on the task at hand and get it completed.

Examples

  • Good morning, everyone. I have a lot to cover in this presentation, so let’s get stuck in and I’ll take questions at the end.

  • We’ve been putting off this Health and Safety review for months, so this afternoon I’m going to just get stuck into it and see what happens.


get the ball rolling

Imagine a ball rolling down a hill. It picks up speed and you have to work hard to keep up with it. When you ‘get the ball rolling’ at work, you might take the first steps towards launching an exciting new product, or put your plans into action. In a meeting, you have to take control and get people focused. So, ‘get the ball rolling’ early and you will see the benefit.

Examples

  • As I’m up first for presenting this morning, I’d like to get the ball rolling with a question, just to see if you are all awake!

  • Good evening, all. I know you’re all tired and want to get home for the weekend, so let’s just get the ball rolling so we can wrap up as early as possible.


get things going/moving

This is a simple phrase in which ‘going’ or ‘moving’ mean the same thing. To ‘get things going/moving’ just means to start things, so there should be no confusion using this.

Examples

  • If you would all like to take your seats, it’s time to get things going. Please put your phones on silent during the presentation.

  • I believe everyone’s here, so let’s not waste any more time. We’ll just get things moving, and you can raise your hands if you have any questions.


open things up

This is another way of saying ‘get things started’ or, simply, ‘begin'; but you usually follow this in a similar way to 'get the ball rolling’ - by saying what it is you want to open (begin) with. Here are some examples:

Examples

  • I’d like to open things up with a funny story I heard the other day. Don’t worry, it’s relevant to my presentation.

  • I overheard someone discussing last quarter’s dismal figures, so I think I should open things up with an analysis of how things got so bad.


set the tone

When you ‘set the tone’ for something, you determine how people will perceive it or engage with it. For example, dramatic music at the start of a movie will make people take it more seriously than whimsical or light-hearted music (which would make them think it is a comedy).

Examples

  • I’d like to get started now. Here is a picture that I think really sets the tone for today’s meeting. What do you think?

  • I always try to tell people an interesting story before I begin my presentation. It sets the tone and let’s people know what to expect. It also gets their attention from the very start.


    Don’t forget that these are just general expressions that you can use in any (generic) presentation. For more specific expressions, search our ‘Themed Expressions’ for subjects and topics of discussion.

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