Top Tips for Non-Native English Speakers

As a coach and global teacher, I have actually worked with thousands of current as well as future leaders that are bright, and also capable– and also that swiftly shed their confidence and proficiency when making business presentations. For a subset of these leaders– those that have to present in English when it isn’t their native language– the stakes and the tension can feel even greater. At the same time, the requirement for leaders to be able to present in English is growing at a rapid pace. “English is required for global collaboration and worldwide success”, according to Harvard Business College,”

However, being obliged to speak in your non-native language can lead to feelings of frustration, pressure, and also insecurity. When non-native public speakers are forced to communicate in English, they can really feel that their worth to the business has actually been decreased, regardless of their fluency degree. Add to that the worry of making official organisation discussions in front of superiors, decision-makers, and also vital stakeholders in your non-native language, and the anxiousness is substantially better.

One leader whose key additional languages are Hebrew as well as Spanish, but who speaks mostly in English, confessed that she felt “awkward” about her “weird and amusing accent” that seemed to get larger the more anxious she really felt. She additionally shared that she really felt much less efficient in spontaneity– and also much less clever– when she presented in English. A Chinese leader shared, “When I can’t locate words I require, I realize the simplest word rather. So a calamity would be like stating ‘you guys’ at a formal conference.” And a Korean leader was much more concerned: “I assume one will be proficient at providing what they have actually prepared, yet if the presentation goes beyond this extent, the circumstance can turn your brain to mush, and also it ends up being a catastrophe.”

Certainly, even indigenous English speechmakers frequently prepare for calamity when making presentations.. But for non-native presenters, the waiting and situational stress and anxiety associated with their distinct difficulties– being reasonable, selecting the ideal words, talking spontaneously– can be frustrating. In addition, if these worries hinder your desire or capacity to make company discussions, the influence can be job restricting.

Here are three techniques non-native English speakers can use to aid them really feel more certain before, during, and after a discussion:

Invest dramatically more time practicing your statement than perfecting your deck. When we asked our clients to show us the percentage of time spent on preparation, making, and also refining their PowerPoint slides compared to exercising or talking the presentation aloud, the majority of them confessed that they spent nearly no time doing the latter. While this is frequently a trouble for native speakers as well, for non-native English public speakers, practice session and repeating are specifically important action in getting ready for a successful presentation. The objective here is “overlearning” your presentation– pushing on with technique also when it appears like you’ve done enough. This will assist your discussion to become embedded in your long-term memory you’ll be  much less vulnerable to the impacts of anxiety.

Don’t agonize regarding your accent, however do reduce your speaking speed. Everyone has an accent of some sort, consisting of native English speechmakers. Also, people who stay in different parts of one country can be identified by their accents. Your accent can be a problem for your audiences, nevertheless, if they have trouble comprehending you. An unfamiliar accent is specifically troublesome in the very first minute or two of your presentation when your target market have to at first strain to recognize you. According to a study in Frontiers in Person Neuroscience, writers claim that audiences who are listening to accented speech of any kind experience “reductions in intelligibility, coherence, and handling rate– the very same results triggered by hearing loss or poor  sound.” By slowing down your speaking speed, you aid your target to make  better the barriers of  actually listening to and understanding you. Pick your opening words intentionally and pronounce them very carefully, making sure to express your words, not simply rush with them. As your presentation continues, the problem will be less intense as the audience  will slowly establish an ear for your accent, making it much easier to understand what you are saying.

Use pauses! Pause early as well as often. Stopping briefly in your discussion offers 2 advantages– initially, to help your target market comprehend your message, and second, to provide you a break. Researchers have  discovered that comprehending accented speech calls for audiences to draw on extra cognitive sources, not only to recognize and remember what has been said yet also to manage various other info or jobs while paying attention to accented speech. When you pause, you provide your listeners an opportunity to relax from drawing upon their cognitive resources, as well as to absorb what you’re claiming. However your pause is additionally a chance for you– you get to keep in mind or consider what you wish to say next, examine your notes, checked out signs from the audience, maybe even take a sip of water. You can likewise use a pause to construct rapport with your audience by checking with them about your rate and also pronunciation by saying something like, “Let me pause for a minute here. I recognize that I am making total sense to myself in [Spanish/French/Japanese/ Hindi/your native language] Exactly how am I carrying out in English?” Not only will you most likely obtain some immediate positive as well as helpful feedback from your audience, you will also get to relax, breathe, and also collect your thoughts.

For both native as well as non-native English presenters, perfection is overvalued. However with some added effort, initiative, and also commitment, non-native English speechmakers can present  with absolute confidence and proficiency.