I am trying to prepare a presentation. I need to find some good starting sentences. I will present this to my teachers and they won't know the topic of presentation. I should explain it. I used:

Heute möchte ich über ... sprechen.

Zuerst möchte ich Ihnen ... erzählen.

What can I use instead of or in addition to this sentences?

  • Welcome to German.SE. Can you describe a bit the setting of this presentation? E.g. a students group is something else than a customer. And the time constraint is also interesting to avoid a long opening or don't care. Aug 11 '20 at 19:50
  • Actually it is some kind of homework. I'm gonna present this to my teachers Aug 11 '20 at 19:52
  • 1
    Please include any clarification into your question. Aug 11 '20 at 19:54

"Ich möchte ..." means "I want ..". But nobody is interested in your desires when you start a presentation. People want you to present something. So, better beginnings are:

Heute spreche ich über ...
Ich erzähle Ihnen heute etwas über ...

But the audience already knows that you are here to talk to them. So, there is no need to tell them that you talk to them. They are clever enough to realize this very conspicuous fact.

I think the best beginning is a question. There are closed questions that need to be answered with yes or no:

Did you know, that ...?

But much more interesting are open questions: questions that start with "What" or "How" or similar question-words:

What will happen, if ...?
How does a ... work?

But even better: include the audience! Ask them what they think:

What do you think will happen, if ...?
How do you think does a ... work?

And you can ask the very same questions in any language, also in German:

Was glauben Sie passiert, wenn ...?
Wie vermuten Sie, dass ein ... funktioniert?

The audience will be curious about the correct answer to your question. This creates tension, and the audience will listen to you much more interested than if you told them that you want to do something.

At some point in your presentation you will have to give a clear and understandable answer to your question. The best moment is at the end of your presentation. And everything between the initial question and the answer must be a story that leads from one step to the next. Never forget that your presentation is only good if you tell a fascinating and pulsating story. It begins with an interesting question and ends in an surprising answer.

  • 3
    the style depends on the context. in more technical contexts, giving structure can greatly help people, especially people new to the topic. I mean something like a list of contents, so that people know what to expect. When a presentation is more for entertainment (something like science slams comes to mind), a pure chaotic joy ride can be very entertaining and starting with an interesting question is definitely right there!
    – Benjamin
    Aug 12 '20 at 13:56
  • @Benjamin There are two problems with the table of contents. First, as a speaker, you want to get the attention of the audience, and a table of contents is probably the most boring thing that one can put on the first slide. Second, the table of contents may contain notions and concepts that the audience is not even familiar with, and then starting with the table of contents is just pointless. If presenting a table of contents is useful at all, presenting it after an introduction to the topic is typically more effective.
    – Uwe
    Aug 12 '20 at 17:14

Starting sentences that are never wrong:

Einen schönen guten Tag, ich begrüße Sie recht herzlich zu (Thema).

Herzlich willkommen zu (Thema), mein Name ist (Name).

The first words shouldn't have important content, so the audience is able to adjust to your speaking style and your volume (just like when starting a phone call). After you did such a formal sentence go and try your "unique" intro, followed by the overview and your actual presentation.

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