In today’s international business environment, having strong presentation skills in English is fundamental to success. Even for native English speakers, this can be challenging. But for non-native speakers, delivering a presentation in English can be a downright daunting proposition.
Of course a good knowledge of grammar, a varied and relevant vocabulary, and practiced pronunciation are all essential ingredients when preparing your presentation. The good news is that a teacher here at Rype can help with that. He or she can help you focus on your pronunciation, enunciation, and the pace of your delivery.
Think in terms of breaking your language into chunks. This is known as microlearning. You can also apply microlearning to your presentation. Structure it around concise sections and signal when you are moving from one section to the next.
With those general language learning tips in mind, let’s move on to some more specific tips on building strong presentation skills:
Keep it around 20 minutes or less. Short and sweet.
People learn best in 20-minute chunks. People enjoy themselves more, and they learn and retain more in 20-minute chunks. This is why TED videos are so successful. So if your presentation goes on for a longer period of time, have pauses for questions or break it up into smaller chunks of 20 minutes using clear signals that each part is coming to an end.
Don’t overload the senses.
Multiple sensory channels compete for your audience’s attention. During a talk, you engage both their auditory and visual channels. We’re visual creatures and the visual channel beats the auditory channel. So make sure your slides don’t require people to read too much. If your audience is doing a lot of reading, they won’t be listening.
Know your audience.
This is fundamental: giving a good presentation in English, and indeed in any language, boils down to knowing your audience. Who exactly are you speaking to? What value are they looking to get from your presentation? Knowing that can give you a certain edge. It can also make you more confident. Shift the focus from your own performance to the audience. Make it about them.
Remember that it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
People make very quick (and unconscious) decisions about other people. The field of paralinguistics explores how information is communicated beyond the words you say. Be aware that the audience will also responding to your body language and tone. What you say is only one part of your message. How you say it matters equally if not more. The only way to prepare for this is to record yourself presenting to get a feel for your style and adjust accordingly.
Always have a call to action.
If you want people to act, you have to call them to action. At the end of your presentation, be very specific about exactly what you would like your audience to do and what the enxt steps they need to take are.
Let your passion show.
People will naturally mirror your emotions and feel your feelings. People copy what they see. If you’re passionate about your topic, your audience pick up on that and will be infected by your passion too. Don’t hold back!
If you follow these general tips, your presentations will stand out and people will respond in the way that you want them to and remember what you said. The most important aspect being what the audience take away with them, what they have understood and having clear indicators of what the next steps are.
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