Being versed in International Legal English or International Business English is tough enough. Having to make presentations in English, to an English mother tongue audience, and doing so with confidence, is yet another level of challenge and difficulty. Speak in English with confidence at your next Conference when you adhere to these 10 tips:
1. Slow down. Don’t speak too quickly; you are bound to trip over your words.
2. Avoid telling jokes since you do not know how it will “go over” with your audience.
3. Prepare thoroughly before the conference and practice your speech till you know it cold.
4. Avoid slang.
5. Use idioms and other culturally specific language only if you are absolutely sure of their meaning and are confident that the audience also understands the meaning; and also be sure there is no double entendre that could be embarrassing in the forum in which you are speaking.
6. Be careful with your mannerisms and body language generally; remember that different cultures give different meanings to different gestures.
7. Choose your words carefully; select words that are simple and easy to pronounce but that effectively convey your meaning; avoid words that are more complicated and more difficult to pronounce.
8. Use a web cam or videotape to practice your speech before the conference; observe how you look and sound; if possible have someone critique your performance; and make adjustments as needed.
9. Make peace with your accent if you have one. Accents can be charming. If you speak slowly enough, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you speak too quickly, however, it may be difficult for the audience to understand and all the charm of your diction will be lost.
10. Do not allow yourself to feel powerless in an English-dominant business culture. Feel empowered by the notion that your English skills are probably way superior to the audience’s competence and proficiency in your mother tongue – whatever your native language happens to be.
…..Don’t forget to smile when appropriate.
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