some tips for presentations and speeches
I've got this text from a book somewhere (sorry forget the title, and I do apologize if I somehow break any laws or copyrights), but anyway, I've adapted the text somewhat so that I could use it for the levels I teach. It's a good idea to underline or highlight the difficult words in word-format for the students and make a separate column with their definitions.
I teach 'Oral English', like so many of us out there, and so a large portion of my classes is about presentations and speaking in front of some people. I use these tips to somehow comfort them and prepare them better.
The 10 commandments of Speeches and Presentations:
Body language and voice
1) Body language is important: good posture makes sure you look confident and serious. So: chin up, shoulders straight, chest forward.
2) Look at your audience, and try to make eye contact with everyone (not all the time at just one person or point in space). When having a private interview, look your interviewer straight in the eyes. This is often a sign employers look for; it means you’re confident and not afraid.
3) Articulation and pronunciation: you have to make sure that you speak clearly, especially with the ‘stress words’. Move you mouth, breath normally and make sure your mouth isn’t dry (drink water if you feel the need). You should be aware of how you physically speak to be able to understand how you speak (look in the mirror when you practice speaking).
4) Whatever you do, avoid a monotone! Your voice should rise and fall with questions and statements. This keeps your group interested in your speech.
5) Your speed is important to control. Too fast and you may look nervous; too slow and you sound boring, like you are lecturing (If you’re not sure about your speed, tape yourself and listen).
6) Mind punctuation; pause at the end of a sentence or with comma’s. Only when you want to stress a certain word, just pause for one second before it; this highlights the word. Avoid slang, except to make a point, and don’t say, "You know" or “like”, too often.
7) Speak to the last row of people: not too loud, but not too quiet. If you scream all the way through your speech, people will get used to it and you will lose effectiveness. On the other hand, a few well-timed shouts can liven up the old speech!
8) Know your voice. Tape yourself and listen, because often people are surprised to hear themselves. Convey the ‘feeling’ that goes together with a word: If you use the word "kill" say it with ‘Danger’ in your voice. If you say the word "bulldozer," make it sound like a huge machine, not like a child’s toy.
9) Look smart and honest: you must sell yourself before you sell your message. If people feel that you are not being rational, you do not stand a chance. Do not use words such as "maybe" or "might"- use positive words such as "will" and "must." People feel it when you try to lie to them, so often use simple words and don’t over-use complicated sentences or abstract words. Show emotion; to make people believe, you have to believe it first.
10) Practice, practice, practice, at home, in front of the mirror, before you go to sleep, etc. Feel confident and at ease when speaking. And know your stuff!
Hope you find it useful,
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