To become a great communicator, one must learn to become a great storyteller.
Firstly, many students understand the fundamentals of tenses, adjectives and more -- but when you’re in a real-life situation where you have to apply what you know; you feel the immense pressure and frustration that builds up. We’ve all been there. Thankfully, there are options to rectify this.
There’s a reason why the greatest leaders are naturally good at captivating their audience, gaining admiration from followers and delivering a memorable story. There’s a reason why TED Talks, are all so familiar to one another; because it works. What I have listed below is tailored towards learners needing to present their idea in another language.
1) Preparation vs Memorisation
It is clear that tension increases when you have to remember everything. The key is to truly learn what you’re addressing; a product/service or business. And when I mean to learn it, I don’t imply to memorise every single word, but to be perfectly capable of explaining your idea to anyone without effort.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. – Albert Einstein.
You also don’t have to impress the audience with long words or terminologies to be a great storyteller, but to believe in what you’re saying, makes a world of difference. You begin to recognize how irrelevant mistakes are, once you pay less attention to yourself, and more towards to what you believe in. I also advise to highlight the areas of your speech (topics) to help guide your mental thought process to stay on track.
You’ve been told to study common idioms over the years to be more fluent in a conversation. It is indeed true. You probably have learnt countless by now, but find it difficult to use it in everyday situations, let alone a presentation. Relax! Everyone has the potential to deliver an exceptional story without the usage of an expression. Don’t just learn the expressions for the sole purpose of impressing others, but do it because you enjoy it. Giving a presentation in a foreign language is already impressive enough; don’t hurt yourself, keep it simple and avoid confusing your listeners.
Do you have a strong accent? Do you speak too fast or slow? Do you have problems pronouncing certain words? If the answer is yes, then you’re not alone. Many feel this could ruin their entire presentation or story all because of a simple mistake. This your presentation, you have the freedom to speed up, slow down, add excitement, vary the tonality of your voice, or use synonyms to make it easier. Do not fight your weakness, correct it.
Above all else, show enthusiasm! Yes, pronunciation, grammar, cohesion and vocabulary are all important to get your message across. However, you can override any difficult situation, mistakes and all -- if you fully engage with your audience, appear confident, passionate and learn to have fun in the process.