Presentation skills in English (for non-native speakers): 6 tips to get results
So you have to give a presentation, in English, but it isn’t your native language. You’re terrified. In this blog, you’ll learn 5 ways to improve your English presentation skills.
#1 Choose your words wisely.
Create a rough script. You don’t need to follow the script exactly, but creating a script will help you identify the best words to describe your topic. And, you won’t be searching for words in front of your audience.
When you’re presenting in another language, some words are tougher to say and to understand than others. So, choose words that are easy-to-say and even easier for others to understand with your accent. Avoid jargon, slang, and abbreviations; these are difficult for the audience, even with native presenters.
#2 Put important phrases on slides.
Make sure to put important key messages on a slide of their own in large font. Make sure everyone in the room can read these words. Just in case your audience doesn’t understand your every word, they will be assured to take home your key messages. If it fits, add a picture so the audience can visualize your words.
#3 Slow down.
Speak slowing and pronounce your words. Often, when we’re less confident, we try to hurry through a speech or swallow the end of a sentence or word. This makes a difficult accent almost impossible to understand. So slow down and pronounce words to the best of your ability.
Repetition helps. Repeat important phrases or key messages. You can also say them in different ways, use a story or an example to make sure that your point is conveyed clearly. Repetition is a key communication tool for in public speaking, so don’t be afraid to use it!
Find a native-speaking public speaking trainer to help you to practice your presentation. Good trainers will listen for specific sounds that need work and will help you to soften your accent so you can be more easily understood. You can also record your practice sessions and listen to how they sound. I often hear non-native speakers say that they are surprised at how strong their accent is. Training and practice are key to sounding clearer.
#6 Read your audience.
On the day, stand tall and speak confidently. But, look for signs that your audience doesn’t understand. If they push their brows together in a look of confusion, don’t worry, simply ask them, “was that clear or shall I repeat?” Audiences appreciate this kind of attention, so don’t be put off track, just repeat your last couple sentences at a slower pace, then repeat again using slightly different words.
Following these simple tips will give you confidence and results!
Kimberly VanLandingham is an international communication trainer, adviser, speaker, and CEO.
European Market Link Sàrl, and EML’s Presentation Training in Switzerland offers open courses, private coaching and corporate presentation and public speaking training courses in English in Switzerland. We specialize in technical, sales and business training for analytical minds and international companies. Most of our clients are non-native English speakers so contact us for more information on our courses or coaching.