Public speaking is something that many of us find challenging but that may be especially so for anyone not doing it in their native tongue. Being able to deliver a presentation in English is a great skill to have, especially as English is the international language of business. Whether you’re giving a sales pitch, doing an internal presentation at work or delivering a presentation in an academic environment these are our top tips on how to deliver a presentation effectively in English.
How you deliver will be important
Nerves can make us all react in different ways and when it comes to delivering a presentation that could be speeding up speech, mumbling or looking at the floor. The way you deliver your presentation is going to be incredibly important, almost as important as the content. So, practice pacing so that you don’t end up rushing your presentation and make sure that you’re speaking clearly and enunciating well. Avoid speaking in a monotone and practice using emphasis on different words and phrases to get your point across.
Structure your presentation well
- A good structure not only gives you something clear to work to but will also make it easy for your audience to see where you’re going with what you’re trying to say. A good structure looks like:
- A solid introduction so that people know who you are and why you’re there. Follow this up by setting out the topics that you’re going to cover so that the audience knows what to expect.
- Set out when you will give people an opportunity to ask questions. The idea behind doing this is to avoid being constantly interrupted as you’re trying to move through your presentation.
- A brief overview of the presentation can help to ensure that your audience is engaged, whether you go through the key sections that are to follow or mention some of your data and conclusions.
- When you’re changing topics, make it obvious. You will inevitably lose some of the people watching at some point but announcing that you’re moving from one topic to the next can be a great way to re-engage.
Take the time to practice your presentation
This is a great idea whether English is your native tongue or not. If you practice your presentation in advance of giving it you’ll be familiar with the content and what comes next. You can also use a mirror to see how you express yourself, for example whether you’re using too many distracting hand gestures.
Use the right vocabulary
If you’re using words and phrases that people recognise then they are likely to be more comfortable. These are some of the most common:
- At the start of the presentation: “Good morning/hello my name is/welcome/today I am going to talk about.”
- If you’re changing topics: “Now let’s focus on/next we should consider/that leads me to this next point.”
- Highlighting your presentation slides: “If I could draw your attention to/look up at the screen.”
- Finishing the presentation: “To summarise/to finish/in conclusion/what we have covered.”
Delivering a great presentation in English can open up exciting opportunities that could otherwise be difficult to access.