Speaking in front of a group can be stressful, no matter what language you are using. But if you're presenting in a language that isn't your first, you need to work harder to get a good result.
But just like any other task, you can succeed if you plan and give yourself time to prepare appropriately. Let’s look at some useful tips to help make sure you’re ready when you step on stage!
Know your topic
One of the most important tips for a successful speech is to speak about something that you know well. Great speeches require confidence, and you will have much more of it if you have a deep understanding of your subject.
Therefore, if you have a choice about what to speak about, it would be best to focus on something that you have a personal interest in. In addition to knowing it well, the audience will see your enthusiasm, which will make them more likely to get interested in your presentation.
However, you may not always have control over your topics. If you’re speaking about something that you are not very familiar with, study it as much as you can. Look for resources both on and offline, and speak with others who can teach you.
When you are doing any task, it’s helpful to look at others who have done well and see what you can learn from them. In this case, it means finding a speech that you enjoy and studying it. What is the presenter doing that you like? How have they structured their speech? What parts do the audience seem to enjoy? Look for ways you can do similar things in your own presentation.
If you need examples of speeches to study, there are many excellent TED talks you can find online. This is a very popular series of short speeches that are given by scientists, artists and other professionals in many different fields.
Use visual aids
Visual aids are things such as charts, graphs and pictures that help your audience understand the content of your presentation more clearly. They are a great tool since they allow the audience to learn by using both their eyes and ears.
Visual aids also make your job easier because they do some of the “talking” for you. Rather than explaining points in detail, you can point to your materials, which provide the information.
Phrases such as "As you can see here~" and "According to this graph~" are commonly used when referring to extra materials. You can also use phrases such as "This data tells us~" to make conclusions based on the information in your visual aids.
Everyone loves to laugh, so humor is a very powerful tool in almost any situation. If you can find a good way to make your audience laugh, you can “lighten the mood” and make both the audience and yourself more relaxed during your speech.
Keep in mind that different cultures have different ideas about humor. It’s a good idea to check with a tutor or a friend who speaks native-level English to see if your jokes are understandable.
Additionally, always consider what is appropriate for the situation. There are some circumstances in which making a joke will have a negative effect instead of a positive one. If you are speaking on very serious topics such as death, disasters or tragedies, using humor is probably not a good idea.
Practice your speech
Knowing your topic well is the most important thing, but it’s only one part of a successful speech. You must also be able to talk about it in a way that is interesting and easy for your listeners to understand.
You can start by practicing in front of a mirror, but having an “audience” is better. Try presenting your speech to family members or friends. Or even better, book a lesson with us and ask your tutor to listen and give you feedback. Depending on the specific points you want to improve, you can ask them to check your pronunciation, intonation and speaking speed as well as the content of your presentation.
Use the feedback you receive to keep practicing until you can deliver your speech naturally and comfortably. Remember to also think about body language; natural gestures are important since standing perfectly still will make your presentation seem dull or uninteresting to your audience.
Anticipate follow-up questions
"Anticipate" is a verb that means to think about something that may happen and prepare for it.
It is very common to have a "Q&A session" after a speech; this is a time when audience members can ask the speaker questions about what they've heard. This means even after your speech is finished, you need to be prepared to speak more.
Think about the kinds of questions you expect your audience to ask, then practice answering them clearly. When giving your speech to your tutor or friend, ask them if they have any questions; they may surprise you with new questions you did not think of before.
Preparation is key!
It may seem scary at first, but you can deliver a great speech if you prepare properly. This means knowing your topic well and being able to talk about it comfortably. Look for ways to use visual aids and humor in order to add some variety to your presentation. Finally, practice it many times until it feels comfortable for you.
Remember that Engoo has thousands of excellent tutors who can help you to create and deliver the best speech possible. Find the right one for you and start practicing today!