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Presenting tips for non-native English speakers

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 | 0 comments

Presenting tips for non-native English speakers

Presenting tips for non-native English speakers   Public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, is one of the most common fears in adults. Now imagine, if presenting to a group of people is that scary – doing it in your second language is even scarier. But it shouldn’t be. Indeed, much of advice that can be given to non-native speakers applies to the native ones as well. Simple words What looks good on paper doesn’t necessarily sound as good. That’s one of many reasons why you should practice your presentation aloud, trying to identify any words that could be replaced with shorter, more familiar ones. For example, replace “utilize” with “use”, “perceive” with “see” or “desire” with “want.” People sometimes assume that using complicated, big words will make them seem smarter. Well, it won’t – it will only make their audience struggle to get their message and eventually lose interest in whatever they may be talking about. It’s simple, sharp and concrete words that get the message through. And, luckily for non-native English speakers, they are usually easier to pronounce. Short sentences Whether written or spoken, complex and superlong sentences are difficult to understand. You know that feeling when you read a book or an article, you get lost in a sea of words in a very long sentence so you go back looking for a capital letter to identify where it begins and start reading it again? Well, in public speaking there is no way back – once said, your words will either reach the audience or be permanently lost, often along with your audience’s attention. On the contrary, using short sentences will make your speech easier to deliver, you’ll have less trouble to catch up if interrupted and, most importantly, your audience won’t be struggling to understand what you are trying to say. Smooth transitions Making a transition from one topic to another can be challenging and non-native speakers are more likely to use fillers such as “um” and “er” while trying to find the right words. It makes the presenter look nervous and insecure and it is disturbing for the audience. Try to replace the fillers with pauses. Remember, good speakers enjoy their silence. Also, try to get familiar with using some transitional words and phrases such as “however,” “furthermore” and “Keeping these points in mind…”. They help you to establish coherence and strengthen the arguments of your presentation and buy you some time when struggling to find the right word. Pronunciation Native speakers of different languages are prone to different mistakes in English pronunciation. Those errors are typical for each language and thus, not so difficult to avoid. The Spanish will often say “’ear” when they mean “here,” Germans can always be recognized by pronouncing “so” as “zo” and Italian natives may say “beg” when they mean “bag.” While most of those mistakes don’t make one’s speech incomprehensible, there are situations when they may be confusing, especially if the keywords are mispronounced. For example, I remember a...

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Five common public speaking mistakes

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 | 0 comments

Five common public speaking mistakes

Five common public speaking mistakes   Public speaking, just as many other skills, can’t be mastered without practicing and knowing your mistakes. It is a first step toward improvement. Here are some of the most commonly seen errors along with advice on how to avoid them. Mistake #1: Reading from a script Not only does reading your presentation word for word significantly undermine your credibility, as people can’t be that sure that you know what you are talking about, but it is also very boring. Having your key notes beside the PowerPoint presentation is a good reminder that won’t stand in the way of your spontaneity. Mistake #2: Talking too fast You are anxious and you want it to be done as soon as possible so you speed up your speech. Talking too fast reveals your lack of confidence, undermines your credibility and makes it difficult for the audience to follow your presentation. Mistake #3: Too much information You worked hard on your project and when you finally get a chance to present it, you want to tell it all. Unfortunately, human capacity for information is limited so you need to carefully select the information you want to share. When it comes to public speaking more is not better. Mistake #4: Using too many “ums” and “ers” Buying some time between words and sentences by using fillers such as “um” and “er” is a commonly seen malpractice. Not only does it makes you look nervous and insecure but it is also disturbing for the audience. Try to replace the fillers with pauses. Remember, good speakers enjoy their silence. Mistake #5: A sudden or a never-ending end The closing is an important part of every speech or presentation. Some even claim that it is the last words that the audience remembers the best. Nervous speakers who can’t wait to be done with their presentations often give a weak ending. Seeing a last “Thank you for your attention” PowerPoint slide when no one expects it is a bit frustrating for the audience, and almost as annoying as speakers who announce they are about to finish, then keep talking for a prolonged period of time. Photo:...

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How to choose a public speaking course (Interview)

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 | 0 comments

How to choose a public speaking course (Interview)

How to choose a public speaking course (Interview)   Ever considered taking a public speaking course? Well, if you did, you know that there are hundreds of schools and coaches out there, offering you an instant transformation from terrified to confident. But what should you keep in mind when choosing a school or a coach? Former TV anchor, journalist and public speaking trainer Ljubica Vujadinovic gives us some insights. What are the biggest fears people have of public speaking? Speech anxiety, or glossophobia, is one of the most common fears. Some people fear that they won’t leave a good impression on their audience, mess up their presentation, forget what they were supposed to say or even experience a complete block and freeze up. Everyone has their own worst-case scenario – the more you’re afraid of public speaking, the more anxious you’ll become, which makes it more likely that you’ll deliver a poor presentation. What’s the secret to being a good public speaker? The very first and most important thing you can do to start improving your presenting skills is to become aware of yourself as a speaker. This means being aware of your words, voice and body language. Quite often, people get caught by surprise once they see themselves presenting (“I had no idea I was doing that!”). That’s why I always use video for my workshops. Are public speaking classes effective? I’ve heard about a wide variety of experiences. Some clients I worked with said they have already taken a public speaking course but didn’t improve. There are many reasons why some courses simply don’t work, but the main reason is a lack of practical exercises. How do I choose a school or trainer that will fit me best? If I were looking for a public speaking coach, it would definitely have to be someone who has concrete experience actually speaking in public – the more, the better. If I could afford it, I would opt for small sessions with a personal coach. Finally, I would choose practically oriented courses, since the best way to improve is to actually do it. Are there any popular public figures today whom you admire as great speakers? The first one who comes to my mind is the late Steve Jobs – his presentations were informing, entertaining and, above all, highly effective. A lot has been said about his presenting skills, but the recognition he earned as a public speaker demonstrates one of the most important qualities of effective communication – simplicity. He wasn’t using big words or dramatic techniques: He presented his ideas in a down-to-Earth way, and the world got it. It’s that simple. I was recently interviewed for Allvoices.com. This article originally appeared at: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/15956083-how-to-choose-a-public-speaking-course-interview and has been reposted with permission....

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