Giving a speech can be really intimidating. Facing unfamiliar faces, trying to remember the flow of your speech, knowing where to put your hands, and managing your props—all of these while making sure that the audience understands the message that you are trying to get across. As if this isn’t hard enough by itself, you need to deliver your talk in English? But what if English is not your native language? Now that’s another hurdle you have to get through.
As a non-English speaker, you may be afraid of the idea of doing a speech that isn’t in a language that you are comfortable with. Relax, this is completely normal! In fact, even people who would give speeches in their native tongue still have a hard time dealing with this kind of engagements.
To help you on this, first, let us show you some of the common fears that we encounter with our students.
1. I’m embarrassed of my accent.
An accent is a distinct way of speaking a certain language that is often associated to a locality, nation, and even social class. Since English is not the language that they are used to or they have not mastered just yet, they can have very thick accents that the audience can easily distinguish. Hey, this isn’t something to be ashamed of. Accents, as a matter of fact, are beautiful.
2. I can’t find the right English words.
You will often encounter a situation wherein a certain word seems to be stuck at the tip of your tongue. Don’t waste an awkward amount of time trying to remember what that word is. You can survive your speech without using that word. Instead, think of synonyms.
3. Did the audience get what I just said?
Because English is not their native language, they often find the need to repeat themselves because thinking that the audience didn’t quite grasp what they’ve tried to say the first time. One way you can ensure that the audience understood what you were trying to saying is with the proper use of intonation. Keep in mind that the audience is not only listening to what you’re saying but also on how you say them.
4. I might be boring.
Speaking a foreign language may mean that you would take more time than usual to give your speech. This isn’t something to worry about. In fact, non-English speakers can use this as an advantage. When one feels too comfortable, they tend to speak too fast. However, If a speech contains new information, audience would need an ample amount of time to fully process it.
Do you see yourself facing some of these apprehensions? What must you do to make sure they don’t get the best of you? Continue reading for a few tips we’ve prepared for you.
1. Practice your delivery.
Don’t focus on creating the perfect deck or memorising your speech. Spend more time on your delivery. Your deck would only be like 25% of your speech because it would mostly rely on what you would say. If your level of comfort in speaking English is what worries you, spend more time on polishing that.
2. Take your time in the stage.
Don’t feel awkward in speaking slowly. This will allow you to choose your words wisely. Also, work on articulating your words. Open your mouth wide enough to properly pronounce the words coming out of it. By doing so, your audience will find it easier to understand you.
3. Don’t say sorry.
Don’t apologise if you couldn’t help your accent or couldn’t seem to grasp the right words to say. Your confidence and knowledge about the topic is already enough to carry the whole speech.
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