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Business English Communication Skills: Making an Effective Presentation

September 29, 2019


[MUSIC] As you saw in the videos your
words are important of course, but how you say them maybe at more important. Let’s talk about some of the things that
can make your presentation successful. First, how do you feel
about giving presentations? If you’re like most people,
it makes you nervous. Being nervous is completely normal,
but you don’t want to be so nervous that you can’t
deliver your speech. So here are some ways you can control
your nerves and appear more relaxed. The most important thing is
to prepare well and practice. A common problem is that
people are still figuring out what to say right before their talk. So plan well ahead of time. So you have at least a few days
to practice your presentation. Before your speech, calm your nerves
with some breathing techniques. I’m not an expert on this, but the trick is to exhale for
longer than you inhale. Here’s an example,
breathe out, now breathe in for a count of four, then hold it,
for say two, and then breathe out for six, hold for
two, and breathe in again. The counting isn’t so important. It’s the idea that you breathe out for
longer than you breathe in, and that should help you relax. Next is posture, the way you stand. Did you notice the difference in
the speakers posture in the two videos? Standing tall and looking at
the audience makes you appear confident. And you know the podium, the high
table that the speaker was behind? I hate having to stand
behind one of those. I want to be as close to my audience
as possible when I give a talk. Although this is something that might
be different in different cultures. If you can move out from behind the
podium, but don’t move around too much. Don’t move around like this keep your
lower body still as much as possible. What about your hands? The way you use your hands will
depend on what’s appropriate for your culture, your situation,
and also your personality. But my advice is to be natural,
but not too informal. For example, don’t stand with your
hands in your pockets or on your hips. If you normally use your hands a lot,
that’s probably fine. But you might ask a friend, if you do anything that’s
distracting when you’re nervous. Sometimes you do things
you’re not aware of. Of course, don’t wear noisy bracelets or jingle your keys in your
pocket while you talk. My first point seems very obvious,
face the audience, not the screen. But it’s surprising how many times
people forget to face the audience, they face the screen. I tell my students to make sure their
feet are facing the audience, and if they need to look at the screen to,
go like this. Not like this. The other thing related to eye
contact is do not read a script. Reading from a script is a sure
way to ruin your presentation. Seriously. Don’t do it. Use notes with keywords or
bullet points, or memorize and practice enough that you know what to say. When I give presentations at conferences,
before the talk begins, I always walk around a bit,
chatting with people in the audience. Then when I start to speak,
I have some friendly faces to look at. So that’s another suggestion, find a few
people, a few friendly people to look at. Next, let’s talk about using
your voice effectively. Some people think that
they can’t talk loudly. Other people talk too loudly. You don’t have to yell, just talk to
the person in the back of the room. Project your voice. Next, tempo. How fast or slow you speak. Don’t speak to quickly. The average speed for
presentation is a 150 words per minute. Try timing yourself with a script and
see if you speak at the right speed. Last, and most important, is emphasis. Listen to these sentences spoken two ways.>>The important thing is this, a convention will bring
thousands of people to our city. The important thing is this, a convention will bring
thousands of people to our city.>>The second time through was
more effective, wasn’t it? The speaker used several important
techniques here, chunking, stress and pauses. The important thing is a chunk. A group of words that you
say as one phrase is this. Notice the emphasis or
stress on the word this. And then a pause, a break in
the speech before the main point. And notice the stress on the key words. Writing this kind of a script for
any speech you give can be very helpful. Think about your main points, and
then work on those parts of your speech. Mark the chunks and
mark the important words to stress, pause before and after the main point. And as I said earlier, practice it
until you feel it comes naturally and don’t need a script. When you stress a word, it’s a little
bit louder with a different pitch. And the vowel sounds will be clearer and
a little longer. Listen once to the examples.>>Could you pass me the marker, please?>>This black one?>>No, the blue one. This meeting went well. Our last meeting was terrible. We spent hours talking about one issue.>>Did you figure it out?>>Yes. We finally came up with a solution.>>Notice that the stressed
words are content words. Now listen again and
speak along with them. Imitate the pauses,
chunks, and word stress. Could you pass me the marker please?>>This black one?>>No, the blue one. This meeting went well. Our last meeting was terrible. We spent hours talking about one issue.>>Did you figure it out?>>Yes. We finally came up with a solution.>>One last point is rising and falling intonation You’ll sound more
confident and sure of yourself, if you use falling intonation at the end
of the sentences in your speech. Listen to the differences in
the way these sentences are spoken. It’s a very important point. You can make a difference. It’s a very important point. You can make a difference.>>The first one sounds
a bit like a question. The second one sounds like
it’s a definite, true fact. This speech pattern, using rising
intonation at the end of any sentence, is sometimes called uptalk. It’s a common pattern among younger
people in the US, Australia and Britain. Uptalk is also a common intonation
pattern in different languages. So, say you’re from a Scandinavian country
like Norway, you might speak English with rising intonation, because that’s
the intonation pattern in Norwegian. Just keep in mind that if it makes you
sound tentative, like you’re not sure, like you’re asking someone to agree
with you, I can’t speak this way, because I don’t normally do it. Do it. So, when you want to make a point,
use falling intonation. It’s important. Don’t forget. [MUSIC]

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