Introduction:

What is the main purpose of a presentation? It's not to give or present information, but it's to sell something or convince the people listening that what you're saying is the truth. So in a business presentation, you not only need to express your argument clearly, but also persuasively.

In this online exercise on presentations, you'll learn and remember business English vocabulary and phrases which allow you to express your opinion in a convincing way. In addition, you'll learn phrases that are used for referring back to (talking about) previous parts of a presentation.

Click here to see more online exercises on presentations and presentation vocabulary


Exercise: Expressing opinion and referring

In the following part of a business presentation, the speaker of a presentation is giving their opinion why something is happening.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are and why they are being said. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Speaker:'Now, let's move on to the second part of the presentation, the causes of the increase in relative staff costs. Earlier I mentioned that relative staff costs have increased by over 10% for the top 100 UK companies over the last 5 years. And how this has and will damage the competitiveness of companies.

So, the question is why? Are staff lazier than before? Or are companies failing to understand both how their staff think and which management techniques are out-dated in the modern changing world? Although the first factor, does have an impact, I would argue that the second is by far the most important factor, which in fact contributes to the first. Allow me to explain.

Although this may sound surprising to you, People are inherently lazy. It is undeniably true that people would prefer to do less and earn more. Numerous studies have been carried out in the work environment which clearly demonstrate this. And this is something which we must take into consideration when considering the true cause of the relative increase in staff costs.

We find ourselves in an ever more rapidly changing world. There can be no question that information technology today dominates most of our working lives. Whereas 30 years ago, the majority of the tasks in the office had to be carried out manually, by hand, today everybody has a powerful computer, which can carry out complicated and multiple tasks. Tasks, which in the past would require a team of people working on for days, can now be done by one member of staff in minutes.

But while most companies have embraced these advances in information technology, they are still using management techniques and processes which were designed 30 or more years ago. Designed in a time when people were still using typewriters and had to wait for hours in the office for an important phone call. But today, rather than having to hold numerous meetings to inform staff of changes, you can just send them a global email. It would seem obvious that these advances in technology save us money. But do they really?

I would like to show you a chart, which shows the amount of physical communication between managers and staff, actually talking face to face, for a well-known American company. As you can see, the average number of hours of physical communication per week fell from 15 in 1995 to 8 in 2007.

Furthermore, physical communication between staff fell at a similar rate. And the only answer for this trend can be because of the increasing use of technology. This lack of physical communication leads to a sense of isolation on the part of the staff, not only from their managers but also from their colleagues. Which impacts their motivation and more importantly, their commitment.

Let us go back to what I said earlier about people being inherently lazy. If people are happy to do nothing and at the same time, they don't feel important or needed in a company, what will they do? What would you do?

And this combined with less direct physical communication with their manager, gives them greater opportunity to do the minimum and waste the rest of their time chatting on Facebook.

I would just like to point out that I'm not recommending returning to a time where we didn't use IT in the work place.'



Quiz: Expressing opinions and referring in presentations

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. A phrase that states that the following statement is a fact, that contains the world 'that', is
         

It is undeniably true that:
(phrase) This is a very similar expression to 'There can be no question'. It is used when you wish to state that the statement following it, is a fact and not an opinion. In Spanish: "Es indiscutible que".

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It is undeniably true that:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. A different way of saying 'in addition', is
         

Furthermore:
(adverb) 'Furthermore' and 'In addition' mean the same. In a presentation or report it is recommended to use a mixture of phrases or words with the same meaning to avoid repetition. In Spanish: "además".

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Furthermore:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. A phrase that tries to highlight to the audience an opinion, point, detail etc.., is
         

I would just like to point out:
(phrase) This can be used in various different situations. For example with charts, or stressing an important component/service of a product, or trying to avoid any misunderstand, e.g. 'I would just like to point out that we don't approve of his actions'. In Spanish: "solo quiero destacar que".

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I would just like to point out:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4. A phrase that informs the audience that you're starting on a new part of the presentation, is
         

Now, let's move on to:
(phrase) It is polite. It has a similar meaning to 'moving on to', but by using 'let's' (which means 'let us'), it suggests that there's little or no separation between the speaker and the audience. It's like saying 'let's go to the park'. In Spanish: "permítanme ahora pasar al ".

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Now, let's move on to:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5. A different way of saying 'by a great amount', is
         

Is by far:
(phrase) It is used when you want to stress how more important something is in comparison to other factors. It is often followed by a superlative e.g. 'smoking is by far the biggest cause of lung cancer'. In Spanish: "es de lejos".

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Is by far:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. A different and more professional way of saying 'told you', is
         

Mentioned:
(verb) This is used for referring to an earlier part of the presentation. The infinitive is 'to mention', but it is generally used in presentations in the past simple form. In Spanish: "mencionar".

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Mentioned:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. A phrase that states that the following statement is a fact, that contains the world 'no', is
         

There can be no question:
(phrase) It is a very similar expression to 'It is undeniably true that'. It is used when you wish to state that the statement following it, is a fact and not an opinion. In Spanish: "no existe ninguna duda".

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There can be no question:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8. A phrase that says that you have to take into account something when making a decision, is
         

We must take into consideration:
(phrase) It is often followed by the thing that should be considered, e.g.' We must take into consideration the probability of failure before deciding'. It has the same meaning as 'to take into account'. In Spanish: "debemos tener en cuenta".

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We must take into consideration:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. A phrase that expresses the opinion of the speaker of the presentation, is
         

I would argue that:
(phrase) It is used when the speaker/writer wants to express a strong opinion, e.g. 'Although climate change is an important threat to the earth, I would argue that it's less serious than most people believe'. It is sometimes used when comparing two factors or opinions. In Spanish: "yo diría que".

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I would argue that:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10. A word that makes a comparison between two different parts of a sentence, is
         

Whereas:
(conjunction) In this context it has the same meaning as 'while', e.g. 'His department was losing money, whereas my department was making a profit'. It can also be used in a similar but slightly different way as 'in contrast'. In Spanish: "mientras".

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Whereas:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the expressing opinion and referring vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.