Business English presentations: emphasizing a point

Emphasizing a Point

There are times when we need to convey the importance of a message to others in addition to the information with which we provide them. Emphasizing a point may be due to the important of the subject or the information itself, or its importance to us, our audience, or the organization where we work in. Emphasizing a work is possible through the use of voice, the use of certain vocabulary, or sentence structure.

Emphasis through the use of voice

A presentation or speech involves the use of voice to convey a message. This can be very powerful tool at the speaker’s disposal when they intend to emphasize on a specific point. Every sentence is uttered with a pitch on a certain word which dictates the intonation of that sentence. However, when emphasizing a point, the pitch relocates to stress the word of the utmost importance to the speaker. A stress followed by a short pause can be used to multiply the effect. The use of a loud, high, and sometimes a quiet or a deep voice can communicate emphasis as well.

The same is possible through the use of tone. While humor can help soften the intensity in a presentation or discussion, a more serious tone can emphasis the importance of a point within the same setting. In some cases such contrasts can even exist to amplify the emphasis, if the setting and the topic allows it. The speaker’s tone of voice allows them to express their feelings and beliefs, in other words express themselves, without explicitly referring to them. Showing enthusiasm through the tone of your voice can also indicate the importance of the topic or a certain point. Tone can easily be manipulated and managed by the speaker without any changes to the speech. Therefore, it is a tool which can be easily used when needed.

Emphasizing a point through vocabulary

The speaker or presenter can emphasize certain point through the use of vocabulary. Words and phrases such as in fact, indeed, as a matter of fact, nonetheless, and to say the least are a few examples. Extreme adjectives and adverbs are also useful tools when it comes to expressing the importance of a subject or topic. They provide additional information about the quality, intensity, and the magnitude of the topic or related information provided by the speaker. Superlatives are an instance of adjectives which enable the speaker to stress a point.

Examples of emphasis through words

    Here is an example that shows how words can heighten the effect of the topic and certain points. Please note that the use of tone and stress with this words multiplies the effect:

Unfortunately, sales are low and the department is under serious scrutiny at this point. The product has failed to attract customers. The figure does not even cover the expenses. Our executives are highly disappointed and expect an explanation. In fact, they have mentioned that this failure could possibly lead to termination.

     We not only need to investigate the reason behind this failure, but we also need to explain the results to management in a meeting next week. Contrary to the other two products, this one has been a disaster. But, we may be able to prevent the situation from being escalated by providing information about the other two products. We have done extremely well with regards to sales, and the customer care has shown to be highly satisfactory. The profit made from these two may can cover the expenses of the new product and still appear attractive.

    This is a very very sensitive situation. We need to be careful with how we present the information. On the other hand, we can improve the new product and get feedback until we reach a satisfactory result. Maybe we can save the product and ourselves. This may be our most difficult challenge.

Emphasizing using sentence structure

The structure of a sentence can be manipulated in order to emphasize a certain point. This is possible by rearranging the elements of the sentence in a way that heightens the most important point. One way to create an emphatic message through sentence manipulation is by moving the object to the beginning. Another method is the use of a relative clause in the beginning. Here are two examples of sentence rearrangement for emphasis:

Example 1

Example 2

What we have to consider, is the possibility of liquidation.

Insolvency, was the last word she uttered.

The third method has to do with making connections between sentences and points within the speech; through the use of an appropriate reasoning strategy and adopting the suitable approach to reasoning, the importance of a point can be implied. The approach can be used for short speeches and long presentations. It focuses on the structure of the presentation or speech, and the role of sentence arrangement within them.

Emphasizing a point is possible through the use of voice, vocabulary, and sentence manipulation. The combination or two or more of these methods amplifies the intended effect. Emphasis can indicate the importance of a point or topic, or show the importance of them to the speaker.

Task 1

1. Find examples of the words and phrases provided in the vocabulary section. Then, use them to explain a real work situation you have experienced.

2. You need to give a presentation about the latest status of your business. Using the methods above emphasize positive points that lead to your success.

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