Non-native English speaker! Don’t be afraid of presenting in English!

Presenting in a foreign language can make anybody nervous, but it doesn’t have to be that scary. Here are some tips and guidelines for you to succeed in your presentation.

When preparing:

  • Think about the audience and the key things you want to get across to them. What is it in your presentation that makes it especially significant for the audience? Concentrate on concrete things about, how the listeners could benefit from what you’re telling them. Give tangible examples that are easy to relate to. Tell stories. (These are good ideas regardless of the language you’re using).
  • Use simple and concrete language. Don’t try to impress with the vocabulary. Keep it simple, avoid jargon.
  • Work on your English skills: Vocabulary, idioms, transition words and pronunciation. But remember: We don’t have to be perfect before we can get onto the stage. The key thing is to get our message across!
  • Use visuals, and if you talk about numbers, write down the key figures. But don’t fill the slides with too much information! (Again, this is a good idea for any presenter in any language!)


When delivering the presentation:

  • Slow down! Don’t try to impress by speaking too fast. Your content is way more important than your velocity.
  • Be interactive. Look at the audience and see if it they are with you. You can even ask questions, like “Is this clear”, to monitor the audience and notice it they should lose track of what you’re saying. If there’s conversation, though, be careful not to go overtime.
  • Think with your mouth closed. Although it’s tempting to fill the empty places with filler words and sounds like “aaahh” and “mmmm”, Leave them off, they might make you feel more fluent but actually they just distract the audience and make it more difficult for them to get your point.


If you get stuck:

  • If you get stuck go back to the basics: Tell what you’re about to say in a clear and simple language.
  • Ask for help. People like to help. If you find in the middle of the sentence that you can’t find the right word, you can say the word in your native language and ask a fellow-countrymen to help.


Have trust in yourself!

  • You know your topic. You know the key points, you want to deliver. Concentrate on getting the message across! That’s enough.
  • Be yourself! Tell your story! Have fun!


The author of the article is Petteri Hynönen, a communication skills trainer at Vuorovaikuttamo. Petteri will help you prepare your speech and get your message across to the audience in a clear and compelling way.önen-51097111


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