18 de junho de 2024

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Making Presentations – Did they throw you any curveballs?

Making Presentations – Did they throw you any curveballs?

Here´s an engaging Listening Comprehension Activity meant for C1 level students. Vocabulary & Expressions: KNOCK IT OUT OF THE PARK – SLAM DUNK – LET IT RIP – CURVEBALLS – GAME PLAN – FUMBLE – TACKLE – BACK ON TRACK and more …

Click the link below to listen to the dialogue and then do the activities that follow.


Dialogue Comprehension – Check if the sentences are true or false:        

  1. Derek was confident his presentation went well. True_ False_
  2. This was Derek´s fourth straight successful presentation. True­_ False_
  3. Derek says it´s important to prepare first. True_ False_
  4. Steven has had no success so far in the company. True_ False_
  5. Steven believes in Derek´s ability. True_ False_

Language check – Find words or expressions in the dialogue that mean the same as:

a- go for it: ______
b- success for third straight time: ______
c- strong professional appearance: _____
d- achieve 100% success; hit a homerun: ____
e- back to previous form or situation; return to form: _____
f- works well with others: _____
g- plan of action: ______
h- attempt; go to try the situation: ______
i- last chance attempt:_____
j- stop the problem; get control of the situation:____
k- get lucky:______
l- make a mistake; “drop the ball”:_____
m- total success:______
n- making little or no progress at all: _____
o- tricky questions: ______


  1. Is it common to use sports vocabulary in business talk in your country?
  2. Explain your perspective of good preparation.
  3. What makes a strong presentation?
  4. Do you like to prepare carefully or be spontaneous?
  5. How can sports help someone in the world of business?

Language practice – Choose the alternative that best explains the meaning of the words in bold in the sentences below:

  1. “You are going to have a hard time growing in this company if you don´t have some specific goals.”, said Hank to a coworker.

a- a game plan       b- a slam dunk        c- a game face           d- a hat trick

  1. “So Harry, How did your presentation go? Did they throw you any tricky questions?”, Terry asked a coworker.

a- game plans       b- curveballs        c- aces        d- game faces

  1. “Susan works well with all the other people in the department.”, said Joe to a coworker.

a- she´s hardworking        b- she´s a Hail Mary        c- she´s a team player        d- she´s a player

  1. “Great presentation! You nailed it!”, said Ron to a coworker.

a- Hail Maried       b- brushed off         c- tackled          d- knocked it out of the park

  1. “When you get in there, just do it!”, said Frank to a coworker who was about to make a presentation.

a- Hail Mary       b- slam dunk         c- let it rip         d- fumble

  1. “Sorry I dropped the ball on our project. I thought I had prepared everything.”, Nick apologized to a coworker.

a- slam dunked        b- fumbled         c- tackled         d- served aces

  1. “He was having some problems before but now he has returned to form.”, said Howard to his friends.

a- he is back on track        b- he is treading water          c- he is tackling            d- he is serving aces

Audio Script: Making Presentations – Did they throw you any curveballs?

Steven: So how did your presentation go? You usually knock it out of the park.
Derek: Slam dunk my friend. I was sweating it a little before to be honest, but as soon as I got up in front of them, I let it rip.
Steven: That´s awesome, man! I know you were prepping that presentation for a while. So did they throw you any curveballs?
Derek: There were a couple of questions that were tough, but I was able to brush them off.
Steven: You gotta teach me how to ace these things because it always seems like I fumble my talk once things get testy.
Derek: You know, I normally just try to have a game plan before I enter the room. Of course you never know what they are going to throw at you so you have to be on your toes all the time. I think the more you prepare yourself with the possible questions, the better you will be.
Steven: Yeah, I gotta tackle this problem of being too nervous. I kind of freak out when I don´t think I know how to give the right answer or know all the numbers for certain regions.
Derek: I´ve had some really bad presentations myself, don´t worry. Got off to a couple of false starts before but got myself back on track quickly. Just have to make sure you have everything in order and go in with your game face on.
Steven: Well you know we have been treading water for a while in sales. But if you get them to agree, then this would be a hat trick for you.
Derek: Let´s see. They still have to sign the contract. But you have made some great deals yourself. If you had not brought in those new leads to our boss, I probably wouldn´t have even had the chance to go to bat here.
Steven: No really, those were some “Hail Maries”. I have no idea how I pulled those out of the bag. Just threw some of those ideas to our boss to see if any of them would work and we got lucky I guess.
Derek: Well, we all have to be team players to get us back in the game in the marketplace. Competition is just brutal now.
Steven: Yeah, but when you are serving aces like you have been, I really don´t think we have much to worry about.

Fluent Business English” – José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young, Disal Editora

José Roberto A. Igreja is the author and co-author of several ELT books, including:

LET´S TALK ABOUT IT! – The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book, now available on the Amazon stores of the following countries:


If you live in Brazil the paperback is available at a discount price on UICLAP!
(240 pages – 31 QR-CODES for the audio tracks “even the paperback comes with built-in technology”)


Let's Talk About It!: The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book (English Edition) por [Jose Roberto A. Igreja]

600 Phrasal Verbs (with Jonathan T. Hogan)

Talking Business

How do you say … in English?

Fluent Business English (with Robert C. Young)

What to say when …?

False Friends

English for Job Interviews (with Robert C. Young)

American Idioms! (with Joe Bailey Noble III)