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Three tips for presenting in English when it's not your first language

Presenting in front of a crowd is difficult enough - but what about when English is not your first language?

I often get approached by people with accents or who are non-native English speakers asking what they can do to communicate better. This was one reason I decided to create the international speakers package, specifically focused on these individuals when presenting. Want an insider peek? Here are three tips I always tell my clients to instantly improve their communication skills.


1. Do your homework on cultural nuances when presenting


For those who already speak English fluently, translation is not the difficulty when presenting or communicating in English. Instead, it's around cultural nuances or phrases that do not land with an English audience. A great example is the Chinese "what's wrong with you?" vs the English "are you okay?" These messages - although getting at the same sentiment - can land in very different ways. So look up the culture, test phrases with a good English mentor, colleague or friend, and be sensitive to cultural directness that may not directly translate.


2. Change your mindset


Often, people feel very self-conscious and held back by the fact they may have an accent. This is fundamentally not something to worry about. I have seen speakers present better with accents than those who don't. But having a mindset that you are inferior or not as good will hold you back. A confident mindset will translate into a confident demeanour. So stop doubting your public speaking ability just because of where you are from.


3. Create a feedback mechanism


Feedback, feedback, feedback. Everyone should create a feedback mechanism to help identify their improvement points. But for international speakers, a native-speaking English mentor will be especially helpful. Who do you know who is especially good at communicating? Practice in front of them and ask them to point out what you did and did not do well. They will act as a role-model you can study, as well as someone who can provide feedback to you.


For 1-1 coaching on presenting in English, tips and direct practice, book a session today.

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