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Posts Tagged ‘Nonverbal communication’

Audience

Audience (Photo credit: thinkmedialabs)

If you’re anything like most of my English students, you’re probably constantly looking for new ways to practice your oral English and speak spontaneously.

Giving a presentation can provide that platform to practice. It can also do the following:

  •  it gives the presenting student a good opportunity to practice unaided speaking
  •  it gives the other students good listening practice
  •  it increases the presenting student’s confidence when using English
  •  it can be good practice for the real situation for those students who may actually need to give presentations in English in their professional lives
  •  it is an excellent generator of spontaneous discussion

What is a presentation, anyway?
It is a verbal report presented with illustrative material, such as slides, graphs, etc.  by one person to a group of people introducing and describing a particular subject (for example: a new product, company results or a proposed advertising campaign).

For this article we are considering the use of presentations for speaking practice.

Let’s begin exploring how to prepare an English presentation to an English language class.

1.           CHOICE OF SUBJECT

The first question that goes through any student’s head when presented with this task is ‘What will I talk about?’

If you have anything of interest that you want to share with others such as: hobbies, professional activities, past holidays etc., this can be a starting point.

Sometimes when making a presentation, a student may discover a hidden talent like performing a stand-up comedian routine, or juggling act.

Everyone has an interest or skill that is particular to them and may be of potential interest to others. After having dug a little into your mind, you can record the interests on paper as you narrow down the topic of your proposed presentation.

Only if you are at a complete loss do you need to ask for help from the teacher or a friend. But be imaginative.

2.           TIME LIMIT

It need not be a long presentation, just 5 or 10 minutes, plus questions. Practice reading the presentation with a timer to determine how long it is.

Read it in a normal tone and pace. Pause after each sentence to give yourself time to breathe and most of all relax.

In reality, it is far more difficult to prepare and give a 5-minute presentation than a 20-minute one. In addition, once underway, most students very often overrun on their time.

3.           EQUIPMENT

This will be governed by your environment. The main thing is to use support material and visual aids.

The bare minimum would be a whiteboard or flipchart. If you have an Overhead projector or data show projector so much the better.

Bring in additional materials, for example wall maps or samples or other realia like tools or objects discussed in your presentation, if allowed.

 4.           PREPARATION

 

No doubt, preparation is the key element of any presentation. There is no getting around this one.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It will give you confidence on the day. You can use homework and/or classroom time for preparation. You can ask for help from the teacher to further explain what you need to speak about.

Remember that lack of preparation may lead to failure, and the last thing you want to do in front of class is to present a failure.

5.           THE PRESENTATION

You may wish to read up on the principles of presentations, just to take the edge off of your nervousness.

Depending on your objective, are you giving a ‘presentation’ as an end in itself, or are you using presentations as a means to practice English? In any case, learning the value of preparation and signposting will help.

As a student, you are watching the teacher presenting all the time and probably take for granted the sheer mechanics of presentation and don’t notice the butterflies she may have before her lessons.

Learn from the presenters, and emulate them.

6.           KEYWORDS AND NOTES

Remember that the objective is not to come to class, show everybody the top of your head and read a text.

The objective is speaking, admittedly prepared, but without a text.

Key words, yes! Notes, yes! But no texts, don’t read the presentation, present it.

Again, prepare your notes or keywords.

 7.           QUESTIONS

Presenters usually indicate to their audience when they will answer questions – i.e., during or after the presentation.

It may be best to encourage question-taking after rather than during the presentation.

This will give you more time for uninterrupted, unaided speech and avoid any danger of the presentation itself degenerating into a free-for-all.

A well managed Q&A session at the end of the presentation is of real value. Don’t be afraid of silence! Students need time to think of and formulate questions.

 8.           PEER FEEDBACK

Again, depending on the audience, level and culture, you may wish to invite feedback from other students on your performance.

You can give the audience a prepared feedback form, listing the points to watch out for and comment on. But be very careful, some nationalities will be unwilling to, as they see it, ‘pass judgment on’ their colleagues.

At lower levels, students may be totally deflated by such feedback. In all cases, the audience should be looking for positive points at least as much as for negative ones.

This can be a useful activity, but if in doubt, it’s probably best avoided.

The important point is that this type of verbal practice exercise should have a positive, beneficial result – Improved oral communication.

Most of all have fun doing it.

Presentations will build self confidence and give you a platform to practice speaking English.

Do you like to give presentations in any language?

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free speech 2

free speech 2 (Photo credit: dogwelder)

Speak and talk, saying the same thing

 

Speak now or forever hold your tongue  (not literally) remain quiet.

On my journey I was approached by a woman who said, “You speak with nobody on the telephone.” She saw me using my mobile phone and wanted to tell me not to use it inside.  What she should have said was, “You can’t talk on the telephone in here.”

‘Speak’ and ‘Talk’ are often used interchangeably.

‘Speak’ is often used when someone is speaking to a group of people in general.

Examples of various ways to use ‘Speak’ include:

to talk or utter words – “ I was so shocked I could hardly speak.”;

to communicate thoughts or feelings – “I want to speak my mind while I still have the courage.”;

used with languages – “Max speaks both English and Swedish”;

to be on good terms with someone – “We used to speak on a daily basis, but not anymore”;

to make a speech – “My sister will now speak to the crowd to quiet them down.”;

to express something in writing – “His prose speaks of such joy and hope for his people.”;

nonverbal communication – “Their actions speak louder than words.”

to indicate a sign of something – “ Her posture spoke of self confidence and high character.”

Speak also tends to used in more formal situations.

“The President will now speak to the nation in his weekly State of the Union address

 

Verb Forms: Speak – Spoke – SpokenSpeaking

 

Do you tend to speak first and then get talked about later?

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Fun With Dick and Jane

Fun With Dick and Jane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look and See, so simple yet difficult.

 

While on my journey a woman said to me, “Anybody not look for any people when they are home.” Clearly she meant to say, “Nobody will see any people when they are home.”

 

When I tried to explain that she should use ‘see’ instead of ‘look’ because they will not see anybody when they are home, she had a confused look on her face.

 

Look at Jane run faster than Dick.

 

A person listening to someone else speaking will automatically put together what is being said with how it is being said to facilitate understanding.

 

To completely understand speech we must first process the non-linguistic properties, i.e. properties not relating to language. When you are only passing through a new town or country, sometimes that’s all time will permit – so non-verbal communication kicks in and is a sufficient replacement.

 

 

Look can have several meanings.

 

As a verb, ‘Look’ means:

to look at something for a reason – “They looked everywhere for the missing child.”;

with an intention – “Look at that three-legged cat”;

to turn the eyes toward something – “Look me in the eyes and tell me the truth.”;

to express something- “She had a disappointed look on her face when she saw the room.”;

appear fitting for something – “She looks every bit of her age.”

 

As a noun, ‘Look’, can mean:

an appearance or fashion – “She has the perfect look for the job.”;

the act of looking – “Take a look at this.”;

the way something appears – “It looks like it will rain today.”;

 

LOOKS LIKE THIS IS THE END.

Have you ever looked around and not seen?

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