Speaking in Academic Contexts

Presenting a seminar paper

Useful language

Academic Presentations

Academic Presentations can be individual or in groups.

Individual

Academic seminars and presentations often take the following form:

A. PRESENTATION

 

1. Introduction

What do you intend to do?
How do you intend to do it?

 
 

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2. Main Body

State your points: information and argument.

 
 

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3. Conclusion

Summarise
Invite questions

 

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B. DISCUSSION/QUESTIONS

  1. Presentation

    1. Introduction
      1. State what you will do

        What I'd like to do is to discuss ....

        What I intend to do is to explain ....

        In my talk today, ....

        My topic today is ....

        Today, I'm going to talk about ....

        I'm going to talk to you about .....

        My colleagues and I are going to give a short presentation on ....

        Today I want to consider ....

        In this talk, I would like to concentrate on ....

        The subject of this talk is ....

        The purpose of this talk is to ....

        This talk is designed to ....

      2. State how you will do it

        I'm going to deal with three aspects of the subject.

        I'm going to divide my presentation into three sections.

        I've divided my presentation into three sections.

        I thought it would be useful to divide my talk into three sections.

        This subject can be looked at under the following headings: ....

        I'll take about ... minutes.

        The talk should last about ... minutes.

        I'll be happy to answer questions at the end.

        If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them afterwards.

        If you have any questions, please feel free to interrupt.

    2. Main body
      1. Ordering points
        Firstly

        To start with,

        First of all,

        Secondly

        Next

        Then

        Thirdly

        Lastly

        Finally
      2. Giving examples
        For example, ....

        For instance, ....

        And as proof of that, ....

        Remember ....

        You only have to think of ....

      3. Emphasising
        Furthermore ....

        What's more, ....

        This supports my argument that ....

        It follows, therefore, that ....

      4. Referring back to what you have said
        As I said at the beginning, ....

        In the first part of my talk, I said ....

        As I mentioned earlier, ....

        I told you a few minutes ago that ....

      5. Putting it in other words
        In other words, ....

        That is to say, ....

        To put it another way, ....

        The point I'm making is ....

        What I'm suggesting is ....

        Let me put it another way.

      6. Using visuals
        On this graph, ...

        Take a look at this.

        Let's have a look at this.

        I'd like you to look at this.

        I'd like to draw your attention to ...

        Here we can see ....

        The ... represents ....

        The graph illustrates ....

        As you can see, ....

        If you look closely, you'll see ....

      7. Moving on
        I'd like now to move on to ....

        Turning now to ...

        Moving on now to ....

        Having looked at ..., I'd now like to consider ....

        Now, let's turn to ....

        I now want to turn to ....

        The next point is ....

        Another interesting point is ....

        The next aspect I'd like to consider is ....

        I'd now like to turn to ....

    3. Conclusion
      1. Concluding

        So ....

        We've seen that ....

        First we looked at ... and we saw that ....

        Then we considered ... and I argued .....

        In short .....

        In brief, we have looked at ....

        To sum up ....

        In conclusion, I'd like to emphasise that ....

        I think that covers most of the points.

        That completes my presentation.

        Thank you for your attention.

      2. Invite questions
        That covers the main points. If you have any comments or questions, I'll be happy to hear them.

        So that explains my main point. Does anyone have any comments or questions?

        I'd be glad to try and answer any questions.

  1. Discussion/Questions

  1. Encouraging participation
    Does anyone have any comments or questions?

    So is this the same as your experience?

    Do you agree with what X has just said?

    So, Y, what is your opinion of this?

  2. Interrupting
    If I could just come in here.

    Sorry to interrupt, but ....

    I'd just like to say that ....

  3. Getting clarification
    I didn't understand what you said about ....

    I'm sorry, I didn't catch what you said about ....

    I'm sorry, could you repeat what you said about ....

    What does ... mean?

    I'm not sure what you mean.

    I don't see what you mean.

    Could we come back to that?

    Sorry, but I'm not quite clear on ....

    I'd like to ask you about ....

    What did you mean when you said ...?

    Could you be more specific about ...?

    Could you expand a little bit on what you said about ...?

    Could you give an example of ...?

    Could you explain in more detail?

    So you're telling me that I can't ...?

    So what you're saying is that ...?

    So you mean that ...?

    Are you saying that ...?

    Am I correct in assuming that ...?

    Let me just make sure - your point is that ...

    If I have understood you correctly, your point is that ...

  4. Following up a question
    That's not really what I was asking. My question is about ....

    Perhaps I didn't make my question clear. I fact what I asked was ....

    I think you've answered a slightly different question. What I would like to know is ...

    I understand that but what I actually had in mind was ....

    Sorry, I'm still not clear about ....

  5. Dealing with difficult questions
    ... is important but it's too complex for us to deal with here.

    I think the aim of this talk is to focus on ... rather than ....

    It's too early for us to say whether ....

    We don't have enough evidence to show that ...

    That's not something I've had time to deal with, but ....

    I'd prefer to deal with that point later.

  6. Agreeing
    I couldn't agree more.

    On the whole, I think the speaker's arguments are fair.

    I (quite) agree.

    I think you're absolutely right.

    That's a very good point.

    You've got a very good point there.

    I fully support what you say.

    I totally agree.

    Exactly!

  7. Doubt and reservation
    Well . maybe . possibly .

    I'm not so sure about that.

    You may be right.

    I don't think I'd say that.

    Yes, but don't you think ...?

    I can see your point, but ....

    I think that's debatable.

    Perhaps, but don't you think that ....

    I see what you mean but ....

    I agree to some extent, but ....

    It seems to me ...

    I tend to think ...

  8. Disagreeing
    But don't you think that ...?

    I see what you mean, but ...

    But isn't it really a question of ...

    But what about ...?

    But surely ...?

    I take your point, but , ....

    But all the evidence suggests that ....

    I'm afraid I can't agree with ... on this matter.

    I wouldn't say that.

    I don't agree at all.

    I can't accept that.

Group

Group discussions often take the following form:

A. GROUP DISCUSSION

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B. REPORTS BY GROUPS TO CLASS

  1. Group Discussion

    1. Ordering points
      Firstly

      To start with,

      Secondly

      Next

      Then

      Thirdly

      Lastly

      Finally
    2. Giving examples
      For example, .

      For instance, .

      And as proof of that, .

      Remember .

      You only have to think of .

    3. Emphasising
      Furthermore ...

      What's more, ...

      This supports my argument that ...

      It follows, therefore, that ...

    4. Putting it in other words
      In other words, ...

      That is to say, ...

      To put it another way, ...

      The point I'm making is ...

      What I'm suggesting is ...

      Let me put it another way.

    5. Interrupting
      If I could just come in here.

      Sorry to interrupt, but ...

      I'd just like to say that.

    6. Getting clarification
      I didn't understand what you said about ....

      I'm sorry, I didn't catch what you said about ....

      I'm sorry, could you repeat what you said about ....

      What does ... mean?

      I'm not sure what you mean.

      I don't see what you mean.

      Could we come back to that?

      Sorry, but I'm not quite clear on ...

      I'd like to ask you about ...

      What did you mean when you said ...?

      Could you be more specific about ...?

      Could you expand a little bit on what you said about ...?

      Could you give an example of ...?

      Could you explain in more detail?

      So you're telling me that I can't ...?

      So what you're saying is that ...?

      So you mean that ...?

      Are you saying that ...?

      Am I correct in assuming that ...?

      Let me just make sure - your point is that ...

      If I have understood you correctly, your point is that ...

    7. Following up a question
      That's not really what I was asking. My question is about ...

      Perhaps I didn't make my question clear. I fact what I asked was ....

      I think you've answered a slightly different question. What I would like to know is ...

      I understand that but what I actually had in mind was ....

      Sorry, I'm still not clear about ....

    8. Dealing with difficult questions
      ... is important but it's too complex for us to deal with here.

      I think the aim of this talk is to focus on ... rather than ...

      It's too early for us to say whether ... .

      We don't have enough evidence to show that ...

      That's not something I've had time to deal with, but ....

      I'd prefer to deal with that point later.

    9. Giving opinions
      I definitely think that....

      I'm sure that....

      I'm convinced that....

      I really do think that....

      I'm of the opinion that ...

      As I see it, ....

      I think ....

      I consider ....

      I feel ....

      Personally, I believe ...

      In my opinion/view, ....

      It seems to me ....

      I'm inclined to think that ...

      I tend to think that ....

    10. Agreeing
      I couldn't agree more.

      On the whole, I think the speaker's arguments are fair.

      I (quite) agree.

      I think you're absolutely right.

      That's a very good point.

      You've got a very good point there.

      I fully support what you say.

      I totally agree.

      Exactly!

    11. Doubt and reservation
      Well . maybe . possibly .

      I'm not so sure about that.

      You may be right.

      I don't think I'd say that.

      Yes, but don't you think ...?

      I can see your point, but ...

      I think that's debatable.

      Perhaps, but don't you think that ...

      I see what you mean but ...

      I agree to some extent, but ...

      It seems to me ...

      I tend to think ...

    12. Disagreeing
      But don't you think that ..?

      I see what you mean, but ...

      But isn't it really a question of ...

      But what about ...?

      But surely ...?

      I take your point, but , ...

      But all the evidence suggests that ...

      I'm afraid I can't agree with ... on this matter.

      I wouldn't say that.

      I don't agree at all.

      I can't accept that.

    13. Asking for opinions
      What do you think about ...?.

      What are you views ...?

      What do you feel about ...?

      What's your opinion of ...?

      What are you feelings about ...?

      Have you got any comments on ...?

      Could I have your reaction to ...?

      Do you have any particular views on ...?

      Don't you agree, ...?

      I think X knows more about this than I do?

      I expect X will agree with me when I say ....

  1. Reporting to group

    1. Summarising and reporting

      It was generally felt that ....

      Generally speaking, we felt ...

      On the whole .....

      We couldn't agree on .....

      Opinion was divided on .....

      We had some difficulty in deciding .....

      We decided that the best way was to .....

      After some discussion we reached a compromise on ....

    2. Concluding

      So ....

      We've seen that ....

      First we looked at . and we saw that ....

      Then we considered . and we argued ....

      In short ....

      To sum up ....

      In conclusion, we'd like to emphasise that ....

      That completes our presentation.

    3. Invite questions
      That covers the main points. If you have any comments or questions, we'll be happy to hear them.

      So that explains our main point. Does anyone have any comments or questions?

      We'd be glad to try and answer any questions.