Presentations as a tool in business communication

The aim of this article is to explore the
practical and relevant role that presentations
offer as tools in business communication
classes. It builds on content I delivered at the
2018 BizCom SIG’s 3rd Annual Conference in
Tokyo. The Japanese business environment
and classroom-based case studies ensure that
the content is connected to the current and
emerging Japanese cultural and business
environment. There are three questions that
guide this paper. Firstly, why are presentation
skills particularly important today? To answer
this, a discussion of political, social and
business shifts that are changing the Japanese
business environment takes place. Secondly,
what are the barriers to presentation and soft
skills workshops in Japan? And the final

question considers, what methods could help
overcome the barriers to presentation
workshops? In response, this paper offers four
activities that can be used in the classroom to
create a positive team-working environment,
and identifies individual strengths.
Furthermore, six key points are identified that
one might wish to emphasise during
workshops or input sessions, such as the head,
the hands, and the heart model, and the
importance of hard and soft skills. In summary,
by tackling this subject from a culturally
sensitive and engaged angle, and following up
with appropriate activities, it is possible that
barriers within presentation skills workshops
can be overcome.

Article available from:

Developing a Syllabus for the Business Client

The aim of this Presentation is to use a case study to help other professionals developing syllabi for the business client. To achieve this, the presentation explores the barriers, processes and outcomes of adapting a syllabus for a business client, and specifically a client in the energy market. Syllabuses in business communication tend to follow a timetable that is strongly aligned to a business English textbook. Simultaneously, staff are either encouraged or obliged to sit the TOEIC test on an annual basis. Consequently, this can lead to misaligned targets for the student, company and trainer. The presenter argues that the combination of a misaligned testing method in combination with a general textbook leads to muddled outcomes. However, this could be partially resolved by using different methods, being practical and realistic about outcomes, and using feedback as a guide to development. Therefore, this presentation will utilise a case study that identifies barriers to maximizing workshops, and through (realistic) change, offers potential solutions. Those solutions are informed through the insights gained from feedback about the impact, relevance, and comparative success of the course.

Delivering a Syllabus for the Business Client

Hokkaido JALT Winter Conference 2019
Mat Davies (MSc,CIPD L&D)

Key message: Integrating the L&D and EFL field is not only effective but also increasingly necessary.

Barriers: How about these?

The TOEIC Test ——– General Textbooks —– Vague Performance Targets 

An L&D framework: Capability, Skill-Will Matrix & Multiple needs

1. Capability

A) Knowledge
B) Skills
C) Behaviour

2. Multiple Needs

  1. The organization
  2. The Department
  3. The Learner
Rea, A. Beavers, K. (2016)

How the Framework to a client in the Energy Sector was applied.

  1. Feedback led.
  2. Bespoke needs test.
  3. Soft Skills and intercultural skills.
  4. Student led class design through carding.
  5. Trainer workshops using an L&D framework.  

JALT BizComSig Conference, Toyo University

On Sunday 9th September 2018 I will be giving a presentation at the 3rd JALT BizComSIG Conference in Toyo University.

I will be discussing Presentations as a tool in business communication.

The agenda for the day and the text of the handout to go along with my talk are available below.

Conference Agenda

I hope to see many of you there!


Presentations as a tool in business communication
Mat Davies (MSc (Econ), BA, CIPD, CELTA)
3rd annual BizComSIG Conference Tokyo

9th September 2018

What interests you about this topic?
What would you like to know?

Why is this topic important?

  1. Political changes (national)–Three Arrows : Competition Law.
  2. Social shifts (Prefectural) – Demographics, (recruitment), seniority system.
  3. Departmental change (business specific) – ES, CSR, T-model.

Crossing the divide.
A manufacturing company asked me to develop a full-day workshop for staff based on presentation skills. I was told they couldn’t find a provider for soft skills in English  in Japan that met their needs. I have repeatedly observed a gap in service provision in this field.

What are the barriers when delivering presentation workshops in Japan?

Putting it into practice

  • Students introduce each other by learning what motives the other person.
  • Apply HR hacks and activities  used in HR, L&D and corporate development.
  • Use a strategy wheel to elicit what the students already know and care about.
  • Design and deliver the worst presentation you possibly can.

Core principles that I have recommended that have received hot and cold positive feedback from business communication workshops.

There is no silver bullet

  • The head, hands and heart model. Be interesting. Know your subject. Connect.
  • So contextualize. What is the challenge? What is the solution?
  • Structures and hacks. The hook, think in threes, words maze.
  • Define hard skills: Prompt cards, techno-fixing, visualizing.
  • Develop soft Skills: Credible, curious, collaborative, and engaged.
  • Emphasize constructive feedback and questions. Silence is OK!.

©Mathew Davies 2018