Präsentieren: zielführend und ohne Gähneffekt (Teil 1)

Präsentationen sollen überzeugen und beiden Seiten etwas bringen. Doch oft sind sie langweilig und verfehlen ihr Ziel. Wir zeigen Ihnen, wie Sie sich perfekt vorbereiten und bei der Durchführung für Spannung beim Publikum sorgen. So wird Ihr Vortrag selbst in der Fremdsprache ein voller Erfolg.

Und wenn Sie nicht selbst präsentieren, sondern „nur“ Ihren Chef, Ihre Chefin bei der Erarbeitung unterstützen, wird Ihnen unser Artikel die nötigen Hilfsmittel an die Hand geben, um Ihnen die Anerkennung zu sichern, die Ihr Einsatz verdient.

Gute Vorbereitung in vier Schritten

As in all business situations where you as an assistant or secretary are responsible, good planning is the first step towards a successful presentation. How can you get started?

Schritt 1: Inhalte und Ziele klären

The exact subject of the presentation is the most important thing. The second most important thing is the presentation’s target or targets. Talk about that with the person in charge and don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as necessary if you feel anything needs further research.

Sometimes this will help your superiors to realise (BE)/realize (AE) that they have to put more effort into the matter. This will add more substance to the material you use for the presentation.

Define the targets clearly.

Ziele Some examples:

Convince the audience to agree to the necessary changes. • Teach the staff to handle the new machine. • Show the customers the advantages of the new XY in comparison to their old ones. • Encourage their desire to purchase the new XY.

The last point in the list is a subtarget of the previous goal.

Insider tip from your American editor Ulrike Rudolph

The more detail you produce for your target planning, the easier it becomes to reach them.

Schritt 2: Material sichten

Step two is the selection of the material you need to produce a successful presentation. Although you may have a lot of specialist knowledge it is not always necessary to add all the details and bore your audience with the trivial or marginal details. Your audience do not necessarily have to know all that to make their decision – if that is your main target.

Which leads us to the audience as another important part for the success of the presentation.

Exercise: Begriffe zuordnen

Here are several words relevant for presentations. Please match the correct pairs.

actual                                                             beleidigend
moderation aktuell
punctual pünktlich
oversight   Transparenz
lucency eigentlich
offensive Mäßigung
 relevant Moderation
presentation punktuell
aggressive Aufsicht, Versehen
selective Übersicht
overview  Folie
 transparency offensiv

Answer key

Zielgruppe identifizieren

It sounds like common sense, but it is worth a second thought: You have to know your audience well if you want to “reach” them.

And “reach” does not only mean to make them understand the words and meaning, but to reach them on an emotional level by what you say and through your style.

Otherwise they will only understand but not react. And that would mean you wouldn’t reach your goals.


One important way to reach your target group is to know their language level and style. This is quite easy in your mother tongue. But in a foreign language?

To help you to identify the correct language level we have an exercise (top of the page) about formal and informal style.

These two levels are basic. There are more language levels than just these two, but these are the only levels which you can use in a presentation – apart from technical terminology, which should be reserved for specialists.

When you have identified the language level, you need to find out the amount of knowledge your audience has of your product. This is important. If you go into too much detail on facts they already know you run the risk of boring them. Which might lead to a lack of attentiveness with adverse consequences for your goals.

But once you have figured your audience’s

  • language level,
  • previous knowledge,
  • expectations,
  • needs, you can start structuring your material.

Schritt 3: Material ordnen

It depends on your targets how you arrange your material.

If you want to persuade your audience to act and if you expect challenges along your way, you can start with:

  • the audience’s anticipated reservations, prepare for their likely questions,
  • counteract them with your responses,
  • give relevant background information,
  • add scientific or trend analysis,
  • explain the advantages and benefits,
  • conclude with the measures to be taken.


If you just want to introduce a new service or product you can use the same structure and invent possible reservations.

Different structures are possible. But keep in mind that you want to surprise your audience and keep their attention over a length of time. So make it interesting in the first place.

Schritt 4: Der Titel als Fänger

You would think that the title is the least interesting part of the presentation, wouldn’t you?

Well, have you taken into account that the title is the first impression your future audience gets of your ideas? Therefore the title is the hook for success. It can intrigue them, it can illustrate your goals and it can implant new ideas. So take your time and find an extraordinary title.

Exercise: Titel finden

Now find alternative titles to the following correct but boring suggestions:

  1. “Some thoughts on the acquisition of new customers”
  2. “How to introduce new standards of service to the customers”
  3.  “T?he advantages of our new delivery system”

Answer key

In the next issue of English@work we will show you how to stage your presentation. To be continued

Exercise: Der richtige Tonfall

Please tick off the correct language level.

The topic of today’s presentation is …
Shall we get started?
Hi, everyone.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
I know you’re all very busy.
I’m going to talk about …
I would like to talk about …
Let me start by introducing …

Answer key

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