By Simon Kennell on Jul 18, 2022 11:21:57 AM
Many of our customers come to us when they are getting ready for a big presentation and report that they don't feel confident enough to do it in English. They feel unprepared and scared to trip over. They are afraid of not sounding smart or of not knowing how to answer a question. In this new Talaera Bits (our short Talaera Talks podcast episodes), Simon shares some quick (but highly effective) tips for your next presentation.
1. Deliver your presentation with confidence
What can you do to improve your confidence before a big presentation? Number one, practice talking about the topic with someone. Find a colleague, a friend, or talk to your significant other and think about the big points you will be making. You don't need to show them your presentation or go through the slides. Just discuss the topic and allow them to share their ideas and ask questions –everything in English! This will help you get into an English state of mind. It will also allow yourself to find out if you have any vocabulary gaps you need to fill in before the big day.
Another great tip to increase your confidence when public speaking is to explain, don't present. This might be the best advice for public speaking. Oftentimes, we get into the mindset of a presenter and start to get stiff, we start to stumble, and we lose confidence. But the truth is, it works much better if you forget about your presenter role and just explain the different points to your audience. You will notice how this tip will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Oh, and it will help you captivate your audience.
Number three - be yourself. Your audience can feel if you are not being yourself. They can tell if you are reading or just spurting out words you learned by heart. So just be yourself. Tell a joke, share an anecdote. If it is in English and you don't feel fully confident, you are allowed to say "If you have any questions, or if I am not fully clear, just let me know. I'll be happy to clarify." This act of vulnerability will make you more endearing.
2. Focus on clarity
The first piece of advice to deliver a clear presentation is related to your slides. The rule is - less text, more visuals. Go back to all your presentation slides and if you have a big paragraph, boil it down to two or three bullet points. Then, add some visuals. Your audience will associate those images with the points you are presenting and remember them more than a big chunk of text.
Number two - KISS. Keep It Short And Sweet. When we are nervous, we tend to over-explain. We feel we need to clarify more. However, this is sometimes counterproductive. If your audience perceives that you have been talking about the same topic for a bit too long, they will switch off and disengage. It is more effective to be concise and keep it short. If people have questions, you can take those at the end and provide more in-depth insights.
3. Make your presentation engaging
To engage your audience from beginning to end, start and end your speech with a story. This will work as your introduction. Stories draw people in, they get your audience interested and make them care about your topic. If the idea of coming up with a story puts you off, think about it more as if you were telling an anecdote. We tell anecdotes all the time, and those are just mini-stories that make your presentation more memorable and relatable. The art of speaking in public is not as scary as it seems! So start with a story to keep them engaged throughout, and save the ending of the story for the very end of your presentation.
Go through these points, practice, use them, iterate, and keep improving.
This article works as supporting material for our podcast episode 56. You can read the transcript below. Make sure you check out all our other Talaera Talks episodes and subscribe to get new episode alerts. If you're interested in more tips about different presentation skills, check out our different podcasts: episode number five, on impactful presentations, episode 30, on how to start a presentation strong, and episode 43, all about business storytelling.
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Talaera Talks - Transcript Episode 56
If you are learning English, including new English words and expressions will help you with effective communication. Remember to check out our other episodes on how to make small talk, how to deliver engaging presentations, how to speak English fluently, and many more: visit the podcast website. Listen to it on your favorite platform.
Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we're going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!
Simon Kennell 0:24
Welcome back to another Talaera Bit, wherever you are, I hope you're having a great day. My name is Simon. And today, I'm going to give you some quick tips for your next presentation. Okay, so we hear from so many of our clients who are getting ready to do a big presentation that they don't feel confident or Yeah, I, I don't know, I'm not prepared. I don't I'm not going to sound smart. Maybe they'll ask questions, and I won't be able to answer quickly. I'll keep tripping over myself. I hear all of this all the time. And so do all of our trainers. And these are some very quick tips that we give to our clients that really helped them so I'm going to share them with you.
Simon Kennell 1:26
Basically, it breaks down to three points, confidence, clarity, and engaging. If your presentation can do these three things, you're going to win, you're going to succeed, you're going to walk out after the presentation and think, man, that was a good one.
Simon Kennell 1:47
Okay, so let's start with confidence. What can you do to improve your confidence before the big day, the big presentation? Well, number one, practice talking about the topic with someone. You don't necessarily need to present in front of your mother and her friends. Don't worry, you don't need to do that. But if you can talk about the topic with someone, what will you be talking about? What are the big points you're going to be making? This is just as good. This is practice that you're taking in, of course, you want to do this in English, but practicing about, you know, talking about the topic is really a great way to practice. This can be with anybody, of course, your mother and her friends, but also your friend or whoever, your significant other. Talk about the topic in English. And this is going to help get you in that English state of mind.
Simon Kennell 2:50
Next, when it comes to presenting, we want to explain, don't present. This is something that I tell a lot of my clients explain: what it is, don't present. A lot of times when we get into this mindset of I need to present, then we start to get very stiff, and we start to stumble and we start to lose confidence. So your job is to go up there and be yourself and explain. Not necessarily present. Then you're going to feel more comfortable.
Simon Kennell 3:30
The last part about confidence, maybe it's easier said than done is be yourself, you know. Your audience they can feel if you're not being yourself, they can feel if you're trying to act in a different way. So be yourself, tell a joke. You can even if it is in English and English isn't your first language, you can say, Hey, listen, if you have any questions, or if I'm not so clear, just let me know. I'll be happy to express it further or to clarify. And then you lower the expectation level for yourself. And for the audience, you show yourself to be a bit more endearing. Okay, so that was confidence.
Simon Kennell 4:14
Now how do we prepare for clarity? So with clarity, we want to be clear and I have two key points here. Number one is on your presentation on the slides on your presentation -less text, more visuals. Okay? So if you have a big paragraph on your presentation, uh-uh. No, boil it down to two to three bullet points. Okay. And then you want to have a couple of visuals. People will associate, they'll remember these visuals more than a big pile of text. Number two, you want to KISS. Yeah, so Add that you want to kiss, keep it short, and sweet. KISS - K I S S, keep it short and sweet. You don't need to explain for 10 minutes about one point. Many times we do this because we feel we need to clarify more. Keep it short and sweet. If people have questions, you can take those at the end and then provide a more in depth answer.
Simon Kennell 5:30
Okay, so the last point here is engage. So we talked about confidence, we talked about clarity. And now we want to engage our audience. How do we do that? Two points here. Number one, we want to start with a story. Start with a story to make your introduction. What does this do? This draws people in it gets them interested, and it makes them care about the topic. Maybe I'm not so interested in financial planning for the next year. But if you tell me a story about how this is really going to impact someone, or in the past that really impacted someone, I'm going to care about the story. I want to know what happened, what what could be fixed, right? This draws people in, right, it makes them care. Then we want to end with a story to make the point. So we start with a story to draw people in. And then we want to end the presentation with the end of the story. Right? So keep them engaged throughout, use the story and then at the end, you tell the ending of the story. Does it need to be a real story? In all cases, not necessarily. The point is is to engage your audience, right? And you can even say, Did I make a few of these points up? Yeah, maybe I did. But at the end of the day, we love to hear stories because we connect emotionally to them.
Simon Kennell 7:13
Okay, so we talked about confidence, clarity, and engaging. With confidence. Talk about the topic with someone practice, be yourself right? And explain, don't present. With clarity, we want to have less text, more visuals, so less words on your presentation, more visuals, more pictures. KISS. Keep it short and sweet. And then we want to engage. Start with a story. End with a story. Keep the audience engaged. If you're interested in more points about different presentation skills, check out our different podcasts. Number five, episode number five impactful presentations. Episode 30. Starting a presentation - how can you do that strong? And then episode 43 all about business storytelling. Okay. Remember, go through these points. As always practice, use them, iterate, that means to improve, keep improving. And as always, keep learning.
And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We'll be back soon with more! And visit our website at talaera.com for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!