Starting your presentation with an effective opening is extremely important for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, people form an opinion about each other usually within the first few minutes of meeting for the first time, and this is no different for you as a presenter. This means that the audience will have already formed some kind of opinion about you before you reach the main body of your talk, and if this opinion is positive, they will be more open to your message.
Also, starting your presentation well makes you feel confident, and speaking confidently is essential to get your message across and grab the audience’s attention. In order to do that, you need a ‘hook’, which is a way to make sure that your audience wants to listen to you.
There are several ways in which you can earn the audience’s attention, for example, by starting your presentation with an interesting story or an anecdote that links to your subject. It often helps if this story is personal, and based on an experience you had. Personal stories tell your listeners that you have experience, and that you know what you are talking about.
Revealing something personal will also help you to establish rapport between you and your audience. There may be people in the audience with whom you share certain experiences or interests and connecting to them on a personal level will make them more likely to want to listen to you.
If you decide to ‘hook’ your audience with a personal story or anecdote, it helps to do this in a conversational style, so you are easy for the audience to relate to. You could start with phrases like:
When I think about what life would be like without internet access, I …
I remember when I had to take my first important exam. I …
Have you ever been in a situation where you walk into a room and everybody starts looking at you? Well, I …
Another way of ‘hooking’ your audience is by giving them a problem to think about. By doing this you not only put them in the right mindset to be susceptible to your message, you also make them feel that you are asking them contribute to finding an answer to the problem you are going to discuss. They are becoming part of the presentation, which is another way of establishing rapport between you and the people in the room. Phrases that you could use are:
How would you react if you were given the opportunity to invest one million euros in a company of your choice?
How many people here this morning feel that they are spending too much time online?
Suppose you were given to opportunity to go back to college, what would you study?
You could also use some interesting facts or statistics to earn the attention of your audience. Doing this adds gravity to your message because what you say isn’t just your opinion but your claims will be supported either by what people believe to be generally true or by verifiable proof. What makes this work is that what you say will be supported, which makes it easier for your audience to believe you. Here are some example phrases:
Did you know that the Netherlands has twice as many bicycles as cars?
Research shows that, on average, mobile internet users spend nearly three hours online every day.
According to a recent study, around fifteen percent of the carbon released into the environment is due to deforestation.
In conclusion, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression, which means that it very important to start your presentation well. Coming up with an effective ‘hook’ will help you to grab the audience’s attention so they will be open to what you have to say.
As the word ‘fragment’ suggests, a sentence fragment is a ‘part of’ a sentence. In other words, a sentence that is not complete. To be able to talk about sentence fragments it is important to talk about a sentence first.
For a group of words to form a complete sentence, it needs to first of all be a complete thought. This basically means that what is being expressed makes sense. The sentence should have a clear meaning by itself, without relying on other sentences around it to give it meaning.
Secondly, for a group of words to be a sentence, there needs to be a subject. This is the someone or the something that the sentence is about.
The third condition for a group of words to qualify as a sentence is that it needs to have a mainverb. The main verb helps to explain what the subject (so the someone or something) is or does.
The following is an example of a complete sentence:
The researcherschose three random samples.
In this sentence ‘The researchers’ is the subject and ‘chose’ is the verb. Also, the sentence expresses a complete thought because it has a clear meaning by itself.
So, let’s move on to the sentence fragment. In a sentence fragment, important information is missing and therefore it does not express a complete thought. These sentence fragments often occur in informal types of writing, for instance when the writer tries to use a more journalistic style, but in formal writing, fragments should not be used. Now, let’s look at these three examples of fragments:
Because the team made three awkward choices.
A plan with many risks involved.
Potential for making money everywhere.
There are four reasons groups of words are considered fragments.
There is a subject missing
The main verb is missing
They are both missing
The writer has created a subordinate clause.
The Subject is Missing
One way in which a sentence fragment can be created when you write a sentence that has no subject, like in this example:
By simply shipping more units can make this business profitable again.
Here the writer mistook the prepositional phrase ‘By simply shipping more units’ for a subject, which created the sentence fragment. To correct this mistake, the preposition, so ‘By’ could be taken out, making the activity of ‘Simply shipping more units’ the subject of the sentence. Now it is a complete sentence that works.
The Main Verb is Missing
Sometimes a fragment is created because the sentence lacks a main verb, like in the following example:
Affordable products sold everywhere.
Possible revisions, in this case, could be either completing the verb, creating:
Affordable product were sold everywhere.
… or turning the fragment into the direct object of the sentence by adding a subject and a verb. Like here:
They saw affordable products sold everywhere.
The Sentence Lacks a Subject and a Verb
Sometimes the subject and the verb are both missing from the sentence, like in this example:
Without a suitable explanation.
In this fragment there is no someone or something, doing or being anything, and it is also not a complete thought. To revise this fragment, (to turn it into a sentence), a subject and a verb could be added, and the sentence would look something like this:
She left without a suitable explanation.
The Writer has Created a Subordinate Clause
The final reason why a group of words is a sentence fragment is that the writer has created a subordinate clause (also known as a dependent clause, so a clause that needs independent clause to make a sentence). A subordinate clause is a group of words that does contain a subject and a verb, but that does not express a complete thought because this type of clause needs to be combined with an independent clause to give it meaning. A subordinate clause by itself is a sentence fragment. Here is an example:
Until all the preliminary data has been processed.
To turn this fragment into a sentence it needs to be combined with an independent clause (In this case ‘the project cannot move forward’), and the sentence could look like this:
Until all the preliminary data has been processed, the project cannot move forward.
This is now a sentence that expresses a complete thought.
Using parallelism means using matching words, phrases or clauses or sentences to express equivalent ideas. The reason for using parallelism is that it adds unity, balance and force to your writing. On the contrary, when your writing lacks parallel structures, your writing style may seem awkward, which, in turn, could obscure the meaning of what you are trying to express. In other words, lack of parallelism could create confusion.
Using Parallelism Effectively
Parallelism emphasizes the relationships between equivalent ideas because it highlights the correspondence between:
Items in a series
Elements in lists and outlines
Items in a series
When presenting items in a series, you should present them in parallel form. Like in these examples:
Baby food consumption, toy production, and school construction are likely to decline as the population of the Netherlands grows older.
Three factors influenced his decision to seek new employment: his desire to relocate, his need for greater responsibility, and his dissatisfaction with his current job.
Paired points or ideas should also be presented in parallel form because it emphasizes their equivalence and connects the two ideas. Here are two examples:
Roosevelt represented the United States, and Churchill represented Great Britain.
Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
Items linked by correlating conjunctions (such as not only/but also, both/and, either/or and neither/nor should also be parallel.
The design team paid close attention not only to color, but also to texture.
Thirdly, parallelism highlights the contrast between paired elements linked by than or as, like here:
Success is as much a matter of hard work as a matter of luck.
Items in a list
You should also present Items in a list in parallel form, like in this example:
The Irish potato famine had four major causes:
The establishment of the landlord-tenant system
The failure of the potato crop
The inadequate financial support by England
The passage of the corn laws
Revising Faulty parallelism
Faulty parallelism occurs when equivalent ideas in a sentence are not presented in parallel form, like in for instance:
Many people in developing countries suffer because the countries lack sufficient housing to accommodate them, sufficient food to feed them, and their healthcare facilities are inadequate.
After revision, this sentence could look like this:
Many people in developing countries suffer because the countries lack sufficient housing to accommodate them, sufficient food to feed them, and sufficient health-care facilities to serve them.
Faulty parallelism when pairing items can be revised by making sure you use matching elements. This means that you have to pair nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, and phrases and clauses with similarly constructed phrases and clauses.
The following is a sentence with paired elements that should be revised:
Popular exercises for men and women include spinning, weight lifters, and jogging.
Popular exercises for men and women include spinning, weight lifting, andjogging.
Sentences are often clearer and more emphatic if you repeat certain keywords (articles, prepositions, and the to in infinitives, for example) in each element of a pair or series, as illustrated here:
Computerization has helped industry by not allowing labor costs to skyrocket, increasing the speed of production, and improving efficiency.
Computerization has helped industry by not allowing labor costs to skyrocket, by increasing the speed of production, and by improving efficiency.
When repeating relative pronouns, the relative pronoun constructions who(m) … and who(m), and which … and which are always paired and always introduce parallel clauses. When you revise, check to be sure a relative pronoun introduces each clause. To illustrate, let’s look at this example:
The Thing, directed by Howard Hawks, and which was released in 1951, featured James Arness as the monster.
The Thing, which was directed by Howard Hawks and which was released in 1951, featured James Arness as the monster.
To make your talk effective, interesting and easy to follow, it is a good idea to use signpost language. You can use signpost language to tell your listener what you have just talked about and what you are going to talk about. In other words, signposting language is the words and phrases you can use to guide your audience through your presentation.
Good presentations usually contain plenty of signpost language and this language is usually quite informal and easy to recognize, so it help to memorize a number of effective phases.
Introducing the topic
The subject/topic of my talk is … I’m going to talk about … My topic today is… My talk is concerned with …
Overview (outline of the presentation)
I’m going to divide this talk into four parts. There are a number of points I’d like to make. Basically/ Briefly, I have three things to say. I’d like to begin/start by … Let’s begin/start by … First of all, I’ll… … and then I’ll go on to … Then/ Next … Finally/ Lastly …
Finishing a new section
That’s all I have to say about… We’ve looked at… So much for…
Starting a new section
Moving on now to … Turning to… Let’s turn now to … The next issue/topic/area I’d like to focus on … I’d like to expand/elaborate on … Now we’ll move on to… I’d like now to discuss… Let’s look now at…
Analysing a point and giving recommendations
Where does that lead us? Let’s consider this in more detail… What does this mean for…? Translated into real terms… Why is this important? The significance of this is…
For example,… A good example of this is… As an illustration,… To give you an example,… To illustrate this point…
Summarising and concluding
To sum up … To summarise… Right, let’s sum up, shall we? Let’s summarise briefly what we’ve looked at… If I can just sum up the main points… Finally, let me remind you of some of the issues we’ve covered… To conclude… In conclusion … In short … So, to remind you of what I’ve covered in this talk, … Unfortunately, I seem to have run out of time, so I’ll conclude very briefly by saying that ….. I’d like now to recap…
Paraphrasing and clarifying
Simply put… In other words……. So what I’m saying is…. To put it more simply…. To put it another way….
Invitation to discuss / ask questions
I’m happy to answer any queries/ questions. Does anyone have any questions or comments? Please feel free to ask questions. If you would like me to elaborate on any point, please ask. Would you like to ask any questions? Any questions?
In order to be able to revise or even recognize mixed constructions in your writing it is important to understand what they are first. A mixed construction is created when a dependent clause, prepositional phrase or an independent clause is incorrectly used as the subject of a sentence.
So, let’s take a look at what it looks like when a dependent clause is incorrectly used as the subject of a sentence:
Because he works eleven hours every day explains why he is always tired.
To be able to understand this example it is important to know what a dependent clause is first. A dependent clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb but which does not express a complete thought. For this reason, it is not a sentence and can’t stand alone. The dependent clause in this sentence is: Because he works eleven hours every day, and in this case this entire clause is incorrectly used as subject here. A revised version of this sentence could look like this:
Because he works eleven hours every day, he is always tired.
If you get rid of ‘explains why’ the clause ‘Because he works eleven hours every day’ is combined with an independent clause (He is always tired) and together they now form a grammatically correct sentence that expresses a complete thought.
The following sentence contains a mixed construction because, what’s called, a prepositional phrase is incorrectly used as the subject of the sentence.
By enlisting in the army is a good way to see the world.
Prepositions are words like at, on, in, by, etc., and if a phrase starts with one of these words, this phrase is called a prepositional phrase. You create a mixed construction if you use this type of phrase as the subject of a sentence, which was the case here. ‘By enlisting in the army.’ is an incorrectly used.
After revision the sentence looks like this:
By enlisting in the army, you can see the world.
The prepositional phrase is still there but you now is the subject of the sentence.
Sometimes independent clauses are also incorrectly used as the subject of a sentence, like in the following example:
She wasrich made her buy more than she needed.
An independent clause is a sentence with a subject and a verb that expresses a complete thought and that, therefore, can stand alone. However, in this case it is incorrectly used as the subject of a sentence.
She was rich is the independent clause here that was incorrectly used as a subject, and the sentence can be rewritten like this:
Being rich made her buy more than she needed.
Being rich is now the subject of the sentence and now the sentence works.
Before you start making your elevator pitch, there are a number of things that are important to know. You need to understand what an elevator pitch is and why they are important. Also, you need to know how to write one, and to help you do that, it is a good idea to look at some examples and tips.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short presentation that usually is under two minutes in length. It could even be under one minute. The reason why it is called an elevator pitch is because the duration of the presentation is about the same as how long it takes to ride an elevator to the top of a tall building. Another way in which the term elevator pitch could be explained is that it was based on the hypothetical situation that you could run into an important business executive while sharing an elevator and that you would have the length of the ride to run your business idea by him/her.
An elevator pitch could be about yourself – for instance, if you are looking for a job – or it could be about a business idea, a product or a service.
Why is an elevator pitch important?
You could look at an elevator pitch as a mini-presentation that is always ready to go, and there is a variety of reasons why it is helpful to have one. First of all, an elevator pitch could serve as a good icebreaker to start a conversation and it is a useful way to get a lot of information across in a short time. Also, your pitch could work as an effective transition from the online-version of you, to the real-life version of you. It could serve as a way to be more than a person on a phone or a screen and could help you to make an impression. A well-prepared elevator pitch also helps you in exciting or stressful situations in which you want to rely on information that you have already thought about and prepared. Finally, an elevator pitch may also create opportunities for you to take the lead in conversations in which you need to make an impact.
How to write an elevator pitch
An effective elevator pitch is made up of four parts. First, you need to introduce yourself in a way that is short but memorable. Also, you need to provide a summary of what you do. This is important because it helps the listener to assess whether you, or the idea, product or service you provide, could be of help. Once you have made this clear to your audience, you need to explain what you want. In other words, this is the part in which you explain what you have to offer, or which problem you solving. Finally. your elevator pitch should always end with a call to action. This means that you have to make something happen that will help you to maintain the relationship between you and the person you are pitching to. This could be trying to set up a meeting, offering to call, sending an email, etc.
Now let’s look at these four elements in a bit more detail.
Explaining who you are
When you meet someone for the first time, you need to say hello and give your full name. Depending on what the custom is, you accompany this with a handshake, or a bow, etc. After that, you may want to add a pleasantry like, ‘It’s nice to meet you.’, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ or something along those lines.
Explaining what you do
Explaining what you do starts with describing your background and briefly giving an overview of your education. This helps your listener to determine who you are. After that, you need to explain what your work experience is, so the person you are pitching to can assess whether your skills and your background could be useful. It also helps to emphasize any specialties or strengths you may have, because these may set you apart from potential competitors. Here’s an example of how to introduce yourself and explain what you do:
Hi, my name is Yui. It’s so nice to meet you! I’m a PR manager with a special focus on overseeing successful initiative launches from beginning to end. Along with my seven years of professional experience, I recently graduated with an MBA from Osaka University, with a focus on consumer trust and retention…
Explaining what you want
After you have explained who you are and have told your listener a bit about your background, you need to make clear what you want. What that is depends on the situation, of course. You may want to pitch yourself, an idea you have, a product of a service, but what all these have in common is that they should all include an ‘ask’. In your ask’ you specifically state the goal of your pitch. This could be a job opportunity, an internship, or just the contact information for a follow-up meeting.
Secondly, you need to explain the ‘value’ you bring to the table. In other words, you need the explain what your audience has to gain by listening to you so they understand what you have to offer. Let’s look at the following example:
I find the work your PR team does to be innovating and refreshing—I’d love the opportunity to put my expertise to work for your company…
Finishing with a call to action
Now that your audience knows who you are, what you do, and what you want, you need to end your pitch with a call to action, in which you explain what you would like to happen next. This could be a request for setting up a meeting, getting the opportunity to express your interest in a job, etc. What is important is that you make something happen that will lead to further contact between you and the people you spoke to.
If your request is agreed to, you need to thank your audience for their time and obtain their contact information. Be sure to end your conversation with a ‘task-oriented’ goodbye, like:
Thank you for your time. I will send you a follow-up email tonight. Have a great day.
Here is another example:
Would you mind if I set up a quick call next week for us to talk about any upcoming opportunities on your team?
As mentioned, what your pitch will look like very much depends on what you would like to achieve or what your ‘ask’ is, so next are some examples that have been put into context.
Context: Adding a contact
Job title: Business analyst
Hello! My name is Anwar, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I have a background in Business Analytics with just over 10 years’ experience creating data-driven solutions for various business problems. Specifically, I love and have had great success in the strategic evaluation of data analysis with our executive staff. It sounds like you do similar work—I would love to keep in touch to learn more about what you and your company do.”
Context: Seeking a job opportunity
Job title: Media Planner
Hi, I’m Tom. I’ve spent the last eight years learning and growing in my role as Media Planner, where I’ve developed and optimized strategic media plans for our top client and managed a subset of planners as a Team Lead. One of my proudest achievements was a pro-bono project that was recognized as a top non-profit campaign last year. I’ve been interested in moving to non-profit for quite a while, and love what your company does in education. Would you mind telling me about any media planning needs you may have on the team?
Elevator pitch tips
Of course, your elevator has no value on paper; it needs to be presented orally, so you can make an impression. In order to prepare your pitch, there are a number of things that you can do. First, it helps to read the pitch out loud to yourself to detect any mistakes and opportunities to say things more concisely. Also, you may want to ask a friend to help you practice out loud so you can receive some feedback. This will give you an opportunity to polish and finetune your pitch. Finally, keep in mind that most people, when they get nervous, tend to speed up and start rushing through their speech. Just remember, to keep your pitch short and concise and then take your time and speak at a normal pace.
Many formal presentations include having to talk about numbers. These numbers could be research data, sales figures, or many other types of statistics. Numbers in a presentation, however, are not very memorable, especially not if you also need to talk about how different numbers relate to each other. Because data, exact sales figures, etc. are so difficult to remember, it often makes sense to present them in some kind of visual, like a graph, a chart, or a table. However, talking about these types of visuals is difficult to do, and not doing it well will often cause your audience to lose interest in what you have to say. Presenting graphs, charts and tables only works if it is done in an effective, engaging, and well-structured way. To achieve this, attention needs to be paid to:
Introducing the visual
Commenting on, and introducing the visual
Talking about change and development
Good visuals need to behighly memorable and,generally speaking, when presenting numbers and statistics, the simpler your visual is, the more people are likely to remember it. It also means that anything you don’t talk about should not be in the visual.
Good visuals should alsoreduce the amount of talking for the speaker. If the graph represents something that could be explained in an effective way using only a few words, you should not use a visual because then that would only be a distraction.
Finally, a good visual should help the speaker. This means that graphs, charts and tables should only be used for details that are difficult to explain. The visual should speak for the presenter and make his job easier, so you should always ask yourself whether the visual is necessary and whether it actually makes your presentation better.
Another important question you should ask yourself is which type of visual is most effective for what you want to achieve. Graphs, tables, and charts all do different things well, and it is therefore important to select the right type of visual.
A line graph, for example, works well if you want to show how a quantity of something develops over time. For example, this could be how many muffins were sold per day during a given week.
A bar graph, on the other hand, works well for comparisons. When you want to visualize in which month to most ice cream was sold, for instance.
Pie charts are often used when showing percentages, or quantities as part of a larger total.
Tables are of the most difficult to talk about because they often show many individual numbers on the screen at once without showing a connection between them, or a clear development. For this reason, when using a table, it may be a good idea to focus the audience’s attention on specific details by highlighting the ones you are talking about while talking about them.
Finally, flow charts are good at showing processes, or other things that can be divided into steps with a certain order.
As mentioned before, it is very important that you choose the correct type of visual for the right job, because failing to do so will most likely cause your audience to lose interest in your message.
Introducing the Visual
After you have put your visual on the screen, the next step is shifting the focus of the audience to the screen. You need to tell them to stop looking at you, and start looking at the screen. You can do this simply by pointing at the screen and saying something like:
Let’s have a look at this.
As you can see here, …
After you have told the people you are addressing to focus their attention on the screen, you need to tell them what they are looking at, because you don’t want them to spend their time studying the visual while they ought to be listening to you. You should explain the visual by saying something like:
This graph shows the amount of traffic to our website throughout the year.
This bar graph compares the number of people who commuted by car to those who commuted by bicycle between 2015 and 2020.
The next step is to make a general comment about the graph as a whole, or about a general pattern or trend, like in these examples:
As you can see, the average turnover shows a steady upward trend.
What is clear is that the number of visitors to the Netherlands fluctuates throughout the year.
The final step in introducing your visual is to highlight the part of the visual you want to talk about in more detail. You could say something like:
If we look at 2018, …
The period between March and September shows …
Commenting on the Visual
After you have highlighted a specific area in the visual, you need to make a comment about it. This means telling your audience what a specific number or data point in the visual represents. You give meaning to the numbers. For example, you could say:
2017 shows a significant spike in the number of online sales.
Here the table shows an anomaly in the results.
Then, after commenting on a specific section of the visual, you need to interpret it. You tell the audience what the underlying causes were that explain the detail you chose to discuss, or which conclusion can be drawn from it. To illustrate, you could say something like:
This number can be explained by the abnormally hot summer we had.
What we can learn from this is that we need to increase production.
It is important to repeat the cycle Highlight – Comment – Interpret for each detail you choose to discuss. In this way the structure of your talk becomes clear.
Change and Development
A mentioned, after you have selected the best type of visual for presenting you data on the screen, you need to talk about it. Generally speaking, this is difficult to do in an engaging way, so it is easy to lose your audience’s interest while doing it, but in order to make sure that they won’t lose interest, you need to use effective language that can capture your points in a concise way. When talking about a line graph, for instance, it is important to use a range of different vocabulary that doesn’t only comment on how the data develops – so, whether the line goes up or down – it is also, helpful to comment on the speed at which it happens or how significant the changes that you choose to discuss are. The verbs in the table can help you do this:
hit a low
Here are some example sentences:
The table illustrates that profits have stabilized during this quarter.
Last year, stock prices plummeted due to the trade dispute.
If you want to comment on the speed and the importance of the developments in the graph you can add effective adjective or adverbs to your comments, like in the table.
So, you could say something like:
The graph suggests an encouraging trend.
In 2018, overhead costs were cut significantly.
The example below shows a basic example of talking about a graph in an effective way, using a clear and concise structure.
So, I’d like to draw your attention to this graph.(Drawing attention to the screen) What it illustrates is the number of people killed in car accidents between 2000 and 2010 (Explaining the visual). As you can see, the number fluctuated significantly during that time (General comment), but I’d like to focus on the year 2014 (Highlighting), when the number of casualties increased dramatically (Commenting). The explanation for this sudden rise in deaths can be found in the extreme weather during that period(Interpreting).
Eliminating wordiness is all about being concise, so only using the words necessary to make your point in a clear way. In other words, this means that if you can express an idea in five words, don’t use 10.
When revising a text, this means that all unnecessary words should be deleted until you are left with a clear, effective piece of writing that is not longer than it needs to be.
These nonessential words can be divided into four categories.
So, let’s start with number 1, which is deadwood. The term deadwood refers to words and phrases that take up space but add no meaning, like this example:
There were a few experiences that supported her decision to change her life.
Here There were, and that really serve no purpose and a sentence without these words would have exactly the same meaning. A revised version of this sentence would look like this:
A few experiences supported her decision to change her life.
Another common example of deadwood is starting sentences with phrases like I think, I feel, or I believe, like in the sentence:
I believe that not enough money is spent on education.
Here I believe is not necessary to make your point because since you are the person writing the sentence, it is obvious that – unless stated otherwise – you are the person who has that belief and just writing Not enough money is spent on education, makes exactly the same point.
The second way to eliminate wordiness, is to get rid of utility words. Utility words are words that just act like fillers and, just like deadwood, do not contribute to the meaning of a sentence. They include:
Words with imprecise meanings (Like factor, or aspect, etc.)
Meaningless adjectives (Like good, bad, important, and so on), and
Meaningless adverbs (For instance basically, or quite)
Now let’s look at look at the following sentence:
The financial aspect played a role in the decision.
The word aspect here adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence. Aspect means part or feature of something, so what the sentence says is something along the lines of the financial part of something. What the writer is really trying to say, however, is that money, or finances played a role, so that is what the sentence should be.
Finances played a role in the decision.
This much clearer.
The following is an example of how meaningless adjectives are used in a way that does not add meaning to a sentence.
This deal will offer many good opportunities to make a profit.
The word good can be left out here because opportunities are always good. The word opportunity itself means favourable situation, so, again, good does not add meaning to the sentence and it should therefore be left out. So, the sentence should just be:
This deal will offer many opportunities to make a profit.
Adverbs can also be used in a way that does not add meaning. Like here:
Going along with the proposal was basically out of the question.
The word basically is used to describe the essence of something to emphasize what the most important idea is in order to clarify a point. If something is out of the question, however, it is already clear that something is not going to happen. Basically does not need to add to that, and can therefore be left out. The revised sentence would then be:
Going along with the proposal was out of the question.
A third way to eliminate wordiness is to avoid circumlocution. Circumlocution means using roundabout way of saying something. Like here:
It is not unlikely that the virus will spread.
The phrase It is not unlikely is an example of circumlocution because the same meaning can be expressed by saying:
The virus will probably spread.
Here is another example using a roundabout way of saying something:
The suspect was in Paris during the same time that the crime was committed.
However, the writer could have said the same thing like this:
The suspect was in Paris when the crime was committed.
Avoiding wordy phrases is another way of making your writing more concise, or less wordy. Similar to circumlocution, using wordy phrases is also about using more words than necessary to express a certain idea, but here the difference is that wordy phrases are often standardized expressions that many people feel sound formal or academic. Because of that, they are considered good style. However, they are not terribly effective. Examples are using:
Due to the fact that, which means the same as because. Or using Have the ability to, which could be written as Be able to, or choosing the expression At the present time when Now would do
Now, as a final example of using wordy phrases, let’s look at a one and see how it could be revised.
At the present time my client does not have the ability to comment due to the fact that he is part of an ongoing investigation.
This sentence could be rewritten like this:
My client cannot comment because he is part of an ongoing investigation.
So, to conclude. To make your writing less wordy, make sure you get rid of deadwood, avoid utility words and circumlocution, and check your work for wordy phrases.
At the beginning of your presentation there are usually four things that you need to do, and the first of those is greet your audience. Also, when you are not presenting within your own organization – so when you are presenting to people that may not know you – you need to introduce yourself and say which company you represent. It is also helpful to say something about yourself and to welcome your audience.
Greeting your audience is usually what you start with. Apart from it being the polite thing to do, it is also important to make your audience feel welcome. Doing this helps to build, what is called, rapport between you and your audience. You want to build a good relationship with the people you are presenting to and greeting them before your get to the actual presentation is an important part of that.
If you are presenting to a group of people that you don’t know, or to people who don’t know you, it is also important to introduce yourself by mentioning your name and, for example, the organization you are working for. Just like when greeting your audience, it helps to build rapport. Also, it helps the audience to put you into a certain context as a speaker, like in this this example:
Hello. I’d like to welcome you all here this morning. I am Jill Anderson of Anderson and Brand International.
In this example it is likely that the audience will link the name Jill Anderson to the company’s name, Anderson & Brand International. This information may give the audience an idea of Jill’s position in the company, adding to her credibility as a speaker.
This is not always necessary, of course. Sometimes saying your name and mentioning how the opportunity to speak makes you feel is enough to build rapport. Like in this example:
Good afternoon. I’m delighted to be here today. My name is Peter Jones.
Sometimes it may be helpful to mention your name together with the name of your company if your company has a good reputation in your field, or if it is particularly well-known. Like here:
Good morning everyone. Thank you all for coming. I am Rebecca Ferris from KPMG.
Similar to the first example, mentioning your name together with the name of a respected company could positively affect the impact your presentation has on the people that are going to listen to you.
After you’ve greeted your audience and have introduced yourself, it is often a helpful to say something about yourself. Not only does this help your audience to relate to you on a more personal level, it is also an opportunity for you as a speaker to showcase your expertise. Here is an example:
Before I continue, let me tell you something about myself. I’ve been working for Anderson and Brand for seven years.
Letting the audience know that you have been working for the company that you are representing for seven years tells the audience how much experience you have and how dedicated you are to that company. This could make what you are going to say more credible because your audience is more likely to assume that you know what you are talking about because of your experience.
If you have a lot of experience in a certain field, but have worked for a number of companies during your career instead of just one, you could use a sentence like this:
My career in finance began in the late 1990s when I joined …
… and then you add the name of your company. It tells the audience how experienced you are, and if you add the companies you worked for in the past, along with the job titles you’ve held, it could tell your audience something about your skillset.
The following sentence works in a similar way:
My experience in the field of environmental preservation started when …
… and then you can mention an experience that had an impact on your career. You may want to use a sentence like this when you are a freelancer, for example, or when you are not representing an organization.
Welcoming your audience is also important when you begin your presentation and it is often combined with thanking the audience for the opportunity to speak. Like here:
Welcome to Google. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to you today.
This sentence not only expresses that you are glad that your audience showed up, but by expressing that you are grateful for the opportunity to speak, you are also expressing a level of humility. You are putting yourself on the same level as your audience and when your audience feels they are more or less the same as you, they are more likely to be interested in what you have to say. In other words, this way of welcoming your audience also builds rapport, just like the following sentence.
Thank you for inviting me to talk to you today.
By using this sentence, you are positioning yourself as a guest of the audience, which suggests that you aren’t there to tell them what to do or to believe, but that you are there with them to discuss the topic of your talk together. You are putting yourself on the same level.
Now, let’s look at this sentence:
Welcome everybody. I appreciate the chance to speak to you this afternoon.
This sentence works in the same way as the previous one. It builds rapport between you and the audience by pointing out that you are there because of them.
So, to conclude. A successful presentation starts with an effective opening during which you greet your audience and introduce yourself, you provide some background information about yourself, and you welcome your audience by expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to speak. If you do this well, you will set yourself up for a successful presentation.