Präsentationen und Referate auf Englisch durchführen … is it a challenge for you?In international ausgerichteten Firmen und Organisationen, ist Englisch oft die relevante Arbeitssprache. Immer häufiger kommt es vor, dass deutschsprachige Mitarbeitende ihre Präsentationen und Referate auf Englisch halten sollen.
Doch wie fühlen sie sich dabei? Auch wenn Mitarbeitende es gewohnt sind, bei der Arbeit, in Ihrem Team, täglich oder sogar mehrheitlich Englisch zu sprechen und zusätzlich über einen breiten Wortschatz verfügen, fragen sich Nicht-Muttersprachler oft:
- Wie formuliere ich auf Englisch Arbeitsaufträge freundlich und korrekt?
- Wie lade ich zu einer konzentrierten Arbeitsatmosphäre ein?
- Wie gebe ich wertschätzende, akkurate Rückmeldungen?
- Wie stoppe ich Zwischenrufe?
- Und wie fasse ich zusammen?
Yvo Wüest, Dozent für Didaktische Reduktion und Transkulturalität, ist der Autor von zwei Fachbüchern und mehrerer Artikel für Erwachsenenbildung. Als Trainer ist der in der Schweiz und international unterwegs. In diesem Artikel gibt er Referierenden Formulierungen an die Hand, die ihnen helfen, ihre nächste Präsentation auf Englisch mit mehr Leichtigkeit und Souveränität, durchzuführen.
Wie lege ich los oder … How to beginn a presentation?
You’re about to start a workshop or seminar – in English. So much is going through your mind: „I really want this first round to go well. It can set the tone for the whole day. It’s easy enough to find the right words in German – but in English?“
Let’s make sure that the introduction round goes just as smoothly in English as in your native language. The following phrases can help you to introduce yourself, invite the participants to introduce themselves, and ask questions to make sure you get all the information you need. Pick the ones which will work best for your training.
Every training is different and the information you provide in your introduction will depend on the context, of course. Different cultures (national or organizational) focus on different aspects. Some are more likely to stress qualifications and experience, others to provide more personal information. When you’ve considered what is called for in your situation, you can choose from the following phrases to prepare your personal introduction:
- „If you can give a decent speech in public or cut any kind of figure on the podium, then you never need to dine or sleep alone“, said the late Christopher Hitchens, an English-American author, journalist, and social critic … and one of my idols for enlightening presentation techniques.
- Good morning. I’m [name] and I’m very happy to welcome you to [name of seminar].
- Good morning and a very warm welcome to [name of seminar].
- Let me begin by saying a few words about myself.
- I originally studied [subject] and worked in that field for xx years.
- I graduated as a [profession] and then worked for several international [name of sector] companies, before …
- In [year], I qualified as a trainer and have been training groups in [training topic] ever since.
- When I’m not working I spend a lot of time …
- Today’s topic is one of my favourites, because …
Asking participants to introduce themselves
Unless you’re training nativespeakers, your participants may well be anxious about having to speak English. Having a very clear framework helps to make this task as stressfree as possible for them. And writing the points you would like them to mention on the flipchart provides important additional support. Here are a few ideas for you to adapt to your own training situation.
- Now I’m interested in finding out more about you. I’d like you to introduce yourselves telling us your name, a little about your job (for inhouse training also: role in the company) and whether you have any experience with [topic of seminar, e. g. „Didactical Reduction“ or „Presentation Techniques“].
- So that we can get to know each other a little better, I’d like you to introduce yourselves to the group by answering the following three questions: What do you enjoy most about your job? When did you last feel a real sense of achievement? What brought you to this seminar?
- For the introduction round I’d like you to tell us briefly about the points I’ve written on the flipchart: …
Tip: As the participants arrived and you greeted them, you probably also got an impression of their English skills. If there were big differences, try to get someone whose command of English falls somewhere in the middle to introduce himself/ herself first. Why’s that? Anyone whose English is exceptional could intimidate the others, whereas weaker speakers will appreciate the chance to refer to the questions on the flipchart, collect their thoughts or hear what others have to say before it’s their turn.
What to say if you need more details
It’s useful to have a variety of phrases you can use to dig deeper and get more details. This is also an effective way to support weaker speakers of English. They may have kept their introduction very short simply because they don’t feel at home in the language.
- Could you say a little more about [topic]?
- I’m interested in what you said about [topic]. Could you tell me a bit more?
- What you mentioned about [topic] sounded fascinating. Can you give us a few more details? You touched on [topic]. Can you expand on that a little?
What to say if you didn’t understand
If you didn’t fully understand what a participant said, don’t be embarrassed to ask. Chances are good other members of the group haven’t understood either. So you’re doing everyone a favour. The following phrases help you to be specific about what you didn’t understand.
- Could you explain … again, please?
- I’m afraid I didn’t catch what you said about …
- Could you tell me what you do again, please?
- Did I understand correctly, you’re a [the job you understood]?
- Let me be sure I understand which information you’re looking for…
- Am I right in thinking you’re responsible for [what you understood]?
Getting the name right
Perhaps you didn’t catch how a participant’s name is pronounced. Ask him or her straight away so that you don’t spend the whole day wondering if you’re getting it wrong.
- I’m not sure how to pronounce your name. Can you say your name again, please.
- [Your attempt at saying the name] – am I pronouncing that correctly?
Especially if you’re nervous about holding a seminar in English, time spent preparing for the introduction round is time well-spent. It’ll help you feel more confident and relaxed – and that’s the way to make sure your seminar gets off to a flying start.
Am Anfang eines Seminars müssen zunächst grundsätzliche Fragen geklärt werden: Agenda, Pausen, Regeln zur Interaktion und Vertraulichkeit … Schaffen Sie als Referentin oder Trainer gleich von Beginn an für Klarheit für die Teilnehmenden.
I guess we’re all familiar with the expectant, slightly tense atmosphere at the beginning of a workshop or seminar. The participants are often unsure what exactly awaits them during the day(s) ahead. They could be worried wether their previous knowledge or their language skills are up to the task. PIf they don’t know each other yet, they may be wondering how they’ll get on with the other members of the group. Perhaps they’re forming their first impressions of you as a trainer. In this situation, providing a clear framework and agreeing on rules at the beginning is specially important. It helps to create a much-needed sense of direction and security.
Presenting the agenda
You’ve spent so much time beforehand deciding on the best sequence for the material you want to present, the right moment for each activity, etc. Now it’s time to let the participants know what’s in store for them:
- So, what’s on the agenda for the next two days? Let me show you.
- We’ve got a pretty tight schedule for the next two hours. Here’s an overview of what we’ll be looking at.
- To give you an idea of what to expect this morning …
- We’ll be covering quite a lot of ground today …
- You’ll find a copy of the agenda in your folder.
Let’s take a moment to look at it.“
- Today we’ll be concentrating on … and …, then tomorrow we’ll move on to …
- After looking at …, we’ll turn to …
- In the morning we’ll be looking in detail at the theory behind …, then after lunch you’ll have the chance to put the theory into practice.
- We’ll have coffee breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon and we’ll break for lunch at twelve o’clock.
- The workshop finishes at five o’clock today. Tomorrow it starts at half past eight and finishes at half past five.
Answering some key questions
How are we going to address each other?
One thing you don’t have to decide in English is whether to use „Du“ or „Sie“. But you don’t get off completely scot-free: you still have to clarify whether to use first names or surnames:
- We need to decide how to address each other while we’re here. Are you comfortable using first names? Please raise your hand if you are.
- In the English-speaking world, first names are generally used in this kind of workshop. Is that okay with everyone?
- Is it okay with everyone if we use first names?
Do I need to write everything down? To avoid confusion, the participants need to know now how to deal with any documents you’ve supplied and also what you’ll be providing after the workshop:
- As you’ll have seen, you’ve each got a handout for the day. This helps you to take notes.
- I’m about to hand out a folder with some work-sheets we’ll be using today.
- You can take notes if you want to, of course, but I’ll be sending each of you an email with photos of the flipcharts after the seminar.
- You’ll find all the documents handed out today on my website, www.didacticalreduction.com
- If you’re interested in receiving the slides, just let me know and I’ll send them to you after the seminar.
Where’s the coffee? What’s for lunch?
Attending a workshop is hungry and thirsty work! Use the following phrases to talk about catering arrangements:
- Coffee, tea, water and fruits are on the table at the back of the room. Help yourself at any time during the day.
- We’ll be going to a nearby restaurant, called „La Strada“ for lunch. I’ll pass round a list of meal options in the coffee break so that you can choose what you’d like to eat.
- Lunch will be served in the canteen at one o’clock. I’ve reserved a table so that we can all sit together.
- Has anyone got any special dietary requirements?
Agreeing on ground rules
You’ll have your own experiences regarding the ground rules you need to set for your workshop or seminar. Below are just a few ideas on what you can say to present rules, explain the reasons behind them and ask for commitment to them.
- To make sure that we work effectively together, we need to agree on a few rules.
- These [pointing to flip-chart] are rules that have proved useful in previous workshops. Do you agree with them, would you like to add another rule?
- To prevent disturbances, I’d suggest that you all switch off your phones. Is that a problem for anyone?
- Laura mentioned to me beforehand that she has to take an urgent call this morning. Is it okay for everyone else if she keeps her phone on until she’s received that call?
- As you’ll have seen from the agenda, we’ve got a busy day ahead. So please make sure you return from breaks at the time we’ve agreed.
- After lunch the room will be open from half past one onwards, we’ll be starting again at half past one o’clock sharp.
- As the trainer I can assure you that I won’t pass on anything you say in the course of this workshop.
- It’s essential that you treat everything shared by other participants confidentially.
- Please listen carefully to the other members of the group.
- Please let people finish speaking before you add your views.
- If you don’t understand anything I or another member of the group says, please don’t be afraid to ask.
- No side conversations, please.
Committing to the rules:
- Could you raise your hand if you agree to these rules, please.
- Are these rules acceptable for you? Please raise your hand if they are.
Phew! That’s a lot to cope with in English, isn’t it? But the good news is that you can plan what you want to say in advance. Choose the phrases which best fit the situation and your personal style and then – practise, practise, practise!
Was sind Ihre Erfahrungen mit Präsentationen auf Englisch? Schreiben Sie Ihre Gedanken und Überlegungen unten in die Kommentarspalte; teilen Sie Ihre Tipps mit den LeserInnen von diesem Beitrag.
Nicola Bartlett, Artikelserie, Training Aktuell, 2018
Präsentieren auf Englisch: Überzeugender Auftritt – treffende Formulierung – klare Visualisierung, Mario Klarer, Pons, 2003
Sag’s auf Englisch: Die 1.000 Wörter, die man wirklich braucht, Langenscheidt, 2015