Practicing your presenting skills in English is not only a great way to develop your career prospects, it’s also key to helping you become more fluent. It enhances your speaking skills enormously, as you have the opportunity to speak without interruption for a longer period of time and it boosts your confidence.
A presentation needs to be engaging, appropriate for your audience and well-delivered. This is how to give a great presentation in English:
1. Structure your presentation.
Your audience should know what you’re talking about, learn something about it, then know what you’re opinion is on the subject. You can follow this structure:
statement – details (visual aids) – expansion
(or Introduction – main body – conclusion)
2. Don’t bore your audience.
Try to use interesting content and examples. A little bit of humour helps sometimes, too. In your spoken English, ensure that you keep your points short and clear. The statement – details – expansion rule can be used for each individual point or paragraph, too.
3. Use notes; do not memorise.
The execution of your presentation should be as fluent as possible. There is no point in memorising your presentation (trust me), because if you forget something or get distracted, it’s likely that you won’t be able to remember where you were. The flow will be broken and your audience will notice. Instead, you should write notes with key words and phrases to help you remember what you want to say.
4. Construct full sentences.
In presentations, you should use quite formal vocabulary (especially if it is a work presentation) and complete sentences. Ones like this are not ideal:
“So, like, I want to talk about, well, why recycling is good, then how we can do it, then umm…”
Organise your thoughts before you speak so that you do not ramble:
“Today I’d like to talk to you about the benefits of recycling and how we can do it easily every day.”
5. Speak loud and clear.
Everyone in the room needs to hear what you are saying; people get bored and frustrated if they can’t hear you properly.
6. Take your time.
Don’t rush through your presentation, as no one will understand what you are trying to say. Good presenters speak slowly, as well as loudly and clearly.
7. Engage your audience.
It’s vital that you use visual aids. As they say; “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I usually use Powerpoint or Prezzi to grab their attention with photos and videos. Real objects can be a great aid, too.
Don’t put too much text in your visual aids. As soon as your audience see big chunks of writing, they’ll suddenly remember that it’s time for their siesta.
8. Use your eyes.
Every so often, maintain eye contact with your public to engage them in what you’re saying. When you’re not looking at your audience, fix your view on one spot ahead of you. This way, you have something to focus on and a point of reference to go back to.
9. Use signpost vocabulary.
Signpost vocabulary helps your listeners understand where you are in your presentation. For example they indicate if you are starting the presentation, welcoming people, introducing a topic, explaining that topic, or concluding. Love Speaking’s next blog post will bring you a lovely list of signpost vocabulary. See you soon!
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