Jon Naunton is co-author of Business Result and Oil and Gas 2 in the Oxford English for Careers series. In his final post on helping students with their presentational skills, he offers some tips on how to spice up a presentation. If you missed them, catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.
Download my helpful hints on Presentations – Expressions and introductory phrases (PDF).
Once we have dealt with the basics it can be fun to teach students a few rhetorical devices to make their speeches and presentations more memorable. The study of rhetoric – a way of speaking or writing meant to influence or impress people – was once at the heart of a classical education. Nowadays the only people who seem to employ it are politicians. So why not teach our students a few rhetorical tricks which they can easily put into practice?
Here are some ideas you may like to draw on or add to.
(i) Lists of three
For some reason, human beings seem to be hard-wired to use lists of three. There are numerous examples which we can draw from a range of languages:
- “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) – Julius Caesar
- “Liberté, fraternité, egalité” – motto of the French people
- “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” – Lincoln
- “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” – Churchill on the pilots of the Battle of Britain
- “My foundations support people in the country who care about an open society. It’s their work that I’m supporting. So it’s not me doing it. But I can empower them. I can support them, and I can help them.“ – George Soros (financier and philanthropist)
Remember that in English when we say lists we tend to use a rising intonation on the first items, and a falling intonation on the final item to denote completion.