Giving a presentation in English when it’s not your first language (or even when it is!) can be a little daunting, especially when you don’t have much time to prepare it.
Follow these 4 simple guidelines to ensure you deliver a clear, strong message every time.
1. PLAN…yes, you need a plan! I’m not talking about a detailed script that you and three advisors spent two months on.
I’m talking about making THREE notes: mental OR written.
MESSAGE: Know what your MAIN points are.
STRUCTURE: Know the most COHERENT ORDER for those points.
IMPRESSION: Know what FEELING you want your audience to walk away with.
When you have that….
The vast majority of professionals I work with have more than enough English to not only talk intelligently about their area of expertise, but about a wide range of subjects. I am sure you can too!
I’m not suggesting you free-style your presentation on the day, that would be asking for trouble! I do suggest you free-style into a recording device (your phone will undoubtedly have one). Play it back to yourself and then use the recording to
Notice your weak moments: the moments where you mmm and errrrr and aaahh.
Decipher the moments where it’s IMPERATIVE that you get your message across.
3. SCRIPT THOSE PARTS.
Take the time to create a powerful sentence that encapsulates EXACTLY what you need to say.
PRACTISE THOSE PARTS ONLY. Don’t waste your time going over the parts you can do easily.
Spend your limited preparation time on strengthening the parts where you feel insecure. The areas where you are already strong will flow naturally anyway. You don’t need to worry about them or put your energy there.
4. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Please remember that your English is NOT being judged. Your MESSAGE is being judged.
Luckily for you, presentations are the most effective when the speaker uses clear and concise language that the whole audience finds accessible. Presentations are not the medium to show off your elaborate English skills. Keep it simple, take it slow and DON’T EVER FORGET to…..
I’ll leave that to you!
By Sarah Jane