ESL Topics for Business Presentations

Turning the classroom into a boardroom encourages authentic language practice.

Business presentations offer the English language learner the opportunity to practice communication skills essential to business success. Much like writing, business presentations require organization and audience awareness. Furthermore, ESL business presenters develop oral and visual communication skills by honing their speaking skills, cultivating their deportment and choosing interesting visual aids to get their message across.

1 The New Product Rollout.

Introducing a new product in a particular market tests the presenter's powers of description. The ESL business presenter chooses the details required for his particular audience, most likely in this case the marketing department. In addition to description, the presenter describes the product's history in other markets, requiring mixed tenses and indicative mood. Product plans in the new market combine a mix of careful planning and speculation, requiring a mix of subjunctive and indicative moods as well as present and future tenses.

Vocabulary Builder

2 The Earnings Statement.

The careful choreography of graphs and numbers creates a successful earnings presentation. In addition to current numbers, the presenter offers historical data and future projections as a basis for comparison. English learners review tenses, comparatives, superlatives and quantifiers to prepare for this assignment. Presenting earnings data to a highly trained audience demands a highly accurate and fluent performance. The ESL business presenter acquires the critical skill of careful preparation in carrying out this assignment.

3 A New Manufacturing Process.

Process writing requires the logical exposition of steps in a process towards a goal. Sequencing vocabulary such as "first of all," "next," "then" and "finally" backed by flow charts and decision trees help the audience, composed largely of the operations side of the firm, follow the new process. Keenly aware of the implications a new process presents, the audience will follow these steps with a great deal of interest. This is a good opportunity to teach the narrative present tense as the best means of conveying a chronology.

4 A New Regulatory Requirement.

Changes in the regulatory environment are realities every business must deal with. Asking business English learners to describe these changes and how they impact business operations challenges their powers of organization and explanation. Given the nature of laws and regulations, this assignment tests ESL students' reading and comprehension skills. Encompassing personnel from the shop floor to the accounting department all the way to the executive suite, the diverse audience for such a presentation demands a clear presentation with simple, informative graphics.

Paul Argodale has written for the "Village Voice" in New York City, as well as several specialized academic journals. He holds a Master of Arts in applied linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and philosophy.