The Business of English – Episode 14: A formal speech

The Business of English – Episode 14: A formal speech


Our keynote speaker is a man who I’m sure
is very well known to all of you. He’s Professor of Fruitology at Dubbo University and has
written many books on the subject of tropical fruit. So without further ado, I’d like to
introduce our keynote speaker, Doctor Sam Eriks. Thankyou Denise.
The Honourable Judith Bryant, Minister for Trade, Professor Eric Vogel, Professor of
Economics at Wagga University, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Today’s topic
‘why bananas are bent’ is a very significant one in terms both of international trade,
and culture. In thinking about the topic, I felt it would be appropriate to address
briefly the history of bananas and banana farming, the many qualities of bananas, both
positive and negative, and of course examine the uses of the banana.
But first let me tell you a story about a banana. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope I’ve been able
to clear up a few misconceptions, and leave you with some new ideas about how we might
view bananas in the future. We’ve seen, in looking at their history, that
bananas have a significant role in many cultures. I’ve also noted their positive nutritional
qualities. And in addressing the main question, why bananas are bent, we’ve learned that the
reasons are many and complex. Madam Chair, thank you for the opportunity
to address the conference today, and thank you ladies and gentleman for your kind attention.
Making a formal speech to an audience is a scary thing for many people – even more so
if it’s in a language that is not your first language. What are the things you can do to
prepare a formal speech in English? First of all, let’s look at the structure of the
speech. In a formal situation, like a keynote address, the speaker will be introduced by
someone else. Our keynote speaker is a man who I’m sure
is very well known to all of you. He’s Professor of Fruitology at Dubbo University and has
written many books on the subject of tropical fruit.
When introducing a speaker, research their background and accomplishments – that is,
the important things they’ve done, such as books they may have written, important positions
they’ve filled, and of course their proper title or qualifications, such as Professor. Here are some useful phrases to use when introducing
a speaker. Practise them with Denise: Our next speaker is well known to all of you. Our next speaker needs no introduction. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Please make him welcome, Doctor Sam Eriks.
When giving a formal speech to an audience, we need to be aware of protocol. Protocol
means the proper or customary way of doing things in formal situations. Part of the protocol
for a formal speech is addressing the audience at the beginning. A keynote speaker needs
to know who the important people are at the meeting, and address them using their formal
titles, starting with the most important people. Thank you Denise. The Honourable Judith Bryant, Minister for
Trade, Professor Eric Vogel, Professor of economics at Wagga University, distinguished
guests, ladies and gentlemen. If there is a representative of government,
such as a minister, they would be acknowledged first, then any other people of particular
note. Include their title, name and position. Then he addresses ‘distinguished guests’ – this
can include anyone who has been invited to attend the event. And finally he says ‘ladies
and gentlemen’, which means everyone else. What does Doctor Eriks do next?
In thinking about the topic, I felt it would be appropriate to address briefly the history
of bananas and banana farming, the many qualities of bananas, both positive and negative, and
of course examine the uses of the banana. He outlines the three main parts of his speech.
Listen to him again. What are the three parts of his talk?
I felt it would be appropriate to address briefly the history of bananas and banana
farming, the many qualities of bananas, both positive and negative, and of course examine
the uses of the banana. The first one is the history of bananas and
banana farming, the second one is the many qualities of bananas, and the third one is
the uses of the banana. In listing things like this in a speech, it’s important to use
pauses in speech so that the audience can follow and hear the three points. How does it sound without pauses?
I felt it would be appropriate to address briefly the history of bananas and banana
farming, the many qualities of bananas, both positive and negative, and of course examine
the uses of the banana. In making a speech, it’s important to use
pauses to help make your point. In the list, pause before each point in the list. Pause
between sentences, and before making a major point, like this:
The point I want to make is this: not all bananas are bent.
Stress and intonation are important too. In saying, not all bananas are bent, Doctor Eriks
stresses the word ‘all’ because it is the most important word in that statement. In
listing the three parts of his speech, notice how his intonation is rising in the first
two parts, and then falling for the last. This indicates to the audience he has finished
the list: The history of bananas, the many qualities
of bananas, and the uses of the banana. In describing his topic, he said, “I felt
it would be appropriate to address” and then names the parts of his speech. To ‘address’
something here means to talk about it. You could also use words like consider, discuss,
outline, cover. Pronunciation is important too – it’s a good
idea to practise your speech out loud, especially any difficult words.
I’ve also noted their positive nutritionist, nutrition, nutritional qualities.
What does Doctor Eriks do next in his speech? But first let me tell you a story about a
banana. He says he is going to tell a story about
a banana. When making a speech, it’s good to put in some personal touches – a story
of something that happened or a joke. We move now to the end of Sam’s speech. How
does he finish? Ladies and gentlemen, I hope I’ve been able
to clear up a few misconceptions about bananas, and leave you with some new ideas about how
we might view bananas in the future. First, he signals that he is ending his speech,
by repeating ‘ladies and gentlemen’. Then he says, “I hope I’ve been able to clear up
a few misconceptions”. By using the present perfect, ‘I have been able’ he signals that
he is talking about his speech up to now. Practise with Doctor Eriks some ways of signalling
the end of a speech: I hope I’ve been able to clarify the issue. I hope I’ve addressed the major concerns about
this issue. Next he restates the major points he’s made.
We’ve seen, in looking at their history, that bananas have a significant role in many cultures.
I’ve also noted their positive nutritional qualities. And in addressing the main question,
why bananas are bent, we’ve learned that the reasons are many and complex.
Notice the use of the present perfect in re-stating these points. we’ve seen
I’ve noted we’ve learned There are other phrases that could be used
in this way: We’ve observed
I’ve outlined I’ve referred to, and so on. Finally, how does Doctor Eriks wrap up his
speech? Madam Chair, thank you for the opportunity
to address the conference today, and thank you ladies and gentleman for your kind attention.
Well, there’s a lot more we can say about making formal speeches, but I hope you’ve
learned some useful tips today. Thank you for your attention, and I’ll see you next
time for The Business of English.

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