Public Speaking, Presenting & English Pronunciation
Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
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English Pronunciation for Public Speaking and Presentations
What do you need to consider for better presentations?
The key to a great presentation is preparation, preparation and preparation.
Practise your presentation out loud as many times as you can before you do it. If you find practising your presentation painful you are not alone! Many people would rather swim with a shark than practise their presentations out loud BUT it’s the ONLY way to get the practise you need.
Clear pronunciation is a must for a good presentation. It’s important for listeners to be able to understand and catch your message easily and clearly. Particularly is the presentation is training related.
How can you improve your English Pronunciation for Public Speaking and Presenting?
Follow these top 3 tips for improving your English speech clarity for better public speaking.
- Practise your presentation out loud.
As you go, highlight or write down words that you aren’t confident with pronouncing. After you’ve finished, for each word, think about what you aren’t sure of. Are there long vowels or diphthong (double) vowels you are missing? For the multi-syllable words, are you confused about which syllable is stressed? You can listen to these words and check the sounds and stress in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) with the Cambridge Online Dictionary.
- Voice Record it.
The next time you practise out loud, record it using a voice recorder. For iphone users, record your voice using the VoiceMemo app. For android users, find your voice recorder app (eg Samsung Voice Recorder) or download one. If you can’t find one, use this great online voice recorder to record your presentation. As you listen to it check the following pronunciation aspects:
– rate or speed of speaking: if you sometimes speak too fast you will need to check your speed. Are you speaking too fast? If yes, over the next few days pay more attention to your rate of speaking and focus on controlling your rate. When you speed up, it is likely that your pronunciation will become worse and you are putting extra load on your listeners. See a video on improving rate of speaking. If you sometimes forget to control your rate, write ‘slow down’ at the top of your presentation notes in your first language to remind you.
– past tense: have you used the past tense correctly? Check you are using the regular and irregular past tense well. If you don’t it will be confusing for listeners.
– no ‘mumbling’. Some people don’t move their mouth enough for clear English. Often this is because their first language has a more closed mouth position than English. See this video to check you are opening and moving your mouth enough for clear English.
– English word stress: are you using good word stress in multi-syllable words or do they sound flat or have incorrect stress? Listen to the up and down of the voice / pitch in English. Many non-native speakers use a flatter pitch and tone. This can make presentations monotone, which can makes it sound less interesting. Make sure you join our 5 day Free English Pronunciation Video Course to improve your word stress and English accent and pronunciation.
– good word endings: check your word endings (especially speakers of Cantonese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese and other south east asian languages). If you are leaving the endings off words it makes many English words unclear.
Improving these areas above will set you on the path to clearer English. As mentioned above, to improve your English Pronunciation for Public Speaking and Presenting join our 5 day Free English Pronunciation Video Course.
- Practise it out loud again.
That’s right! Although it’s painful, each time you practise it out loud you are doing very important work. Pay attention to the areas listen above as you practise. The more you practise out loud the better. The key when you are practising out loud is to ACTIVELY listen to your pronunciation. This means actively listening for and checking things like word endings, past tense, rate and so on.
Remember that you’re the expert on the subject you are presenting about. Have confidence! Also anticipate questions people might ask you. Practise answering these out loud too.
Would you like to take your presentation skills and public speaking to the next level?
I recommend you join a Toastmasters club. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world that you can join to develop your public speaking skills in a friendly, small group environment.
Toastmasters is a fantastic way to meet locals, improve all areas of your spoken English including your pronunciation skills and develop your public speaking and presentation skills.
AND it looks VERY impressive on your resume.
So, you’re on your way to better, clearer pronunciation for Public Speaking and Presentations.
Would you like more free resources?
Make sure you join our free English Pronunciation Course. It’s the perfect place to start improving!
Listen to all the sounds in English and record your own speech and compare it to a native English speaker.
Open your ears and listen carefully to the way people around you speak English. Listen as much as you can to the sounds they make.
Select your first language on our course list page to see how a tailored Speech Active English Pronunciation Course will help you level up your spoken English.