Podcast intro:

Welcome to the InFluency podcast. I’m Hadar. And today we are going to talk about how to prepare for a presentation in English.

Hey everyone. Welcome to the InFluency podcast. Thank you for being here today with me. What I’m gonna talk about today could be a painful point for some of you. Painful point. Listen to those aspirated Ps. They always sound a little funny when I’m speaking close to the mic. P. Anyway.

So, if you need sometimes to prepare for presentation at work, or maybe you have to make a video in a community on Facebook – not to name names, but there are communities out there, for example, the InFluency community. Yes, there is a connection between this podcast and the community where you might be invited to record a video once a week and share it, to improve your fluency and make connections. Link in the description below.

So anyway, if you need to present something, or you just wanna prepare well for something where you have to speak in public, then I am going to share with you a few tips on how to do it in the most effective way. A lot of times we are afraid of such situations because a) we don’t have a lot of experience. That’s okay, legit. But also, because we don’t set ourselves up for success. And how do you do that? You prepare really well.

And preparing is not just like saying it out loud a hundred times. It’s about knowing what to focus on how to prepare, and what to say out loud, a hundred times (not the entire presentation, by the way). And also, preparing for a presentation does not mean getting your slides ready or making them look really well, because that is not what counts, my friends. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

If you have friends who need to deliver presentations, or students or anyone who might need it, please feel free to share it with them. It’s not just about English, but it’s also about English. So, if you just need to prepare a presentation in your native language, I am sure you are going to find this helpful as well. So let’s not wait because it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

Take notes, if you need to. Actually, you don’t need to, because I created the notes for you, and a checklist on what to do before each presentation so you are ready to rock it. And you can download it by clicking the link below. And it’s free. So, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you download it, and I hope your next presentation is going to be awesome. Let’s listen.

Video transcript:

Are you afraid of giving presentations in English? I hear you. Even in our first language, it might be sometimes challenging to deliver presentations. In this episode, I’m going to share with you a few tips and strategies on how to prepare and structure your presentation so you can deliver it confidently and have a positive experience. I have seen it. I have used it. And now I’m going to share it.

I’ve also prepared for you a checklist that you can download for free, so that you can remember all the steps and the things that you need to do before a presentation so you can have a successful one. If you’re new to my channel, then Hi, I’m Hadar. I’m an English fluency and pronunciation coach. I’m a non-native speaker of English. And I’m here to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom. Check out my website hadarshemesh.com for a lot of free resources to help you get started. And come say hi on Instagram at @hadar.accentsway where I share daily tips for improving your fluency, pronunciation, and mindset.

Here’s the thing, delivering your presentation requires a certain skill. First of all, the confidence of speaking in public. Second, you have to know what you’re talking about so you can deliver what you want to say in a clear and simple way. Sometimes, when you deliver a presentation in a language that is not your native language, there are a lot of fears associated with it, in addition to potential public speaking fears. And those fear are around not being able to communicate your message clearly, getting stuck, not using the right words, not being understood, and all of that “good” stuff.

But here’s the thing. If you prepare well, you can avoid all of these challenges and come to the presentation feeling prepared and feeling confident, and actually succeeding in the presentation. So, I’m going to divide it into two parts. The first part is going to be around structuring your presentation and preparing for it. And the second part is what to do right before presenting. And that has to do with your performance, and dealing with stress and anxiety that might come up.

So the first part is about preparing your presentation. Here you have to be very, very prepared. There’s no such thing as over-preparing. Because when you prepare really well, first of all, think of it as practicing your English. You know, it does not have to be just for the sake of the presentation, it could be just for developing your communication skills in English. Because when you repeat something again and again, you can optimize it and fine-tune it, and notice things that you usually don’t notice when you’re speaking in English. Like how you use your body, or how you use your voice, or the words that you use.

So repetition and preparation is nothing to be ashamed of. And I recommend that you do a lot of it, but there is a way to do. That is effective and not just redundant. And I’m gonna talk about that, but what I’m saying is that preparation matters a lot. So make sure you set some time aside for preparation; and probably more than you think you will need. Okay? Good.

Now, I’m not gonna go into the actual structure of the presentation. I’m just going to recommend that when you plan the presentation, you want to make sure that you’re clear about the beginning, the middle, and the end. And in terms of your preparation, you wanna focus mostly on the beginning and, probably, the end.

And the middle – you wanna prepare for it, but it should not take most of your time in the preparation. Why? Because the beginning is the most important part. If you start strong, you are more likely to continue strong. If your beginning is weak, you’re more likely to have a hard time coming out of the feeling of incompetence or feeling like you are not doing well. And you will lose momentum, and that is going to affect your entire presentation. So focus on the beginning more than the rest of the parts.

Now, how do you prepare for a presentation? Like I said, you have beginning, middle, and end. And you wanna write bullet points for each part. Right? How do you want to introduce your talk, your presentation? What do you want to do to grab their attention? And you wanna write a few bullet points. I do not recommend to write the script unless you have a few months to prepare for that presentation. If it’s something that you only have a few weeks to prepare for, I would recommend learning what you wanna say, and then practicing saying it freely and talking about it freely in all sorts of different ways.

So, now that you have the bullet points for the beginning, middle, and end, you wanna practice speaking freely based on those bullet points. So I would spend a few minutes every day, not full hours if you have the time for it, right? Just like a few minutes elaborating on each of the bullet points. You wanna talk about it, you know, when you are doing your dishes, when you’re walking your dog, when you’re in your car. Remember the bullet points and each time just try to elaborate and explain it and talk about it freely.

Learn how to talk about it from several different angles and in several different ways so it isn’t just this one way. You wanna create versatility and freedom talking about those things. This is how you’re gonna feel prepared, especially if people ask you questions in the middle or at the end. You will feel confident to answer those questions, ’cause you have practiced it in many different ways, and not just in one way that is very rigid and strict, and you will feel very limited when people ask questions.

So, after writing the bullet points and elaborating on all of these points, you wanna structure it and organize it, ideally, with slides. If you do work on slides, make sure that most of the time is not devoted to design. And usually, if you use Canva or Keynote or PowerPoint, you usually have a lot of great templates. I would really focus on not spending a lot of time on design, even though it’s very tempting. Because most of the work on the presentation should be on the actual speaking: not thinking, not structuring, not organizing the photos on your slides, and not playing with the fonts. It should be all about speaking. All right?

So once you have the slides, you have the beginning, middle, and end; you have practiced the bullet points. Now it’s time to practice the entire presentation. Like I said, I think the beginning is the most important part. So, the ratio should be three to one. That means you practice the beginning three times, and the third time you go into the entire presentation. And then again, you practice the beginning twice more and then you do the entire presentation again.

Now, if there are parts where you feel stuck or where you feel you’re unclear, just practice that part alone, just do it again and again, and again. You don’t need to do the entire presentation from beginning, middle, to end. Because again, like you don’t really need to improve the parts that are already working well. You wanna improve the parts that are hard for you, that are not clear, that you feel like you get stuck. And if you feel that you don’t have the words – stop, write it down; think about how you wanna say it; look up some words that you might wanna add or include; and then just practice it again and again, and again, just that part. And then do the whole presentation.

If you have friends or family members that would like to listen to you, I recommend that you do that. And one more thing that is very useful is to present while being distracted. So you can turn on the TV, or play some music, or ask your kids to make some noise and play next to you, and try to deliver the presentation as you’re being distracted and as other things are happening. Because what happens is that you’ll learn how to stay on track, even though the circumstances don’t allow it, ‘cause that’s what happens in a real presentation. Sometimes you get distracted.

Another thing you can do is to record yourself and watch the video. And then, first of all, stop judging yourself, and don’t just look at the bad things, look at what works, even list it. Because that part is really important, it’s really important that you are able to recognize what works. And then write the things that you would like to improve. And then work just on those things and deliver the entire presentation again.

On the day of the presentation or right before the presentation, you wanna set yourself up for success. So the first thing you can do is to do a little warmup or a pronunciation warmup. I have a few videos that I’m going to link to in the checklist that I’ve prepared for you, that you can do just to get your muscles going and to help you improve your diction.

The second thing I want you to do is to focus on your breath. Right before the presentation, take a few deep breaths. You fill your body up with oxygen, you calm down, and it helps you settle your nerves, if you feel nervous. Right? Check for tension, check your shoulders, check your throat, your neck if you have some tension there. And really focus on breathing into your belly, and breathing out really slowly.

Another thing is that I want you to make sure that you clear your mind. Don’t be on your phone or check your emails or on social media or have some hard conversations right before the presentation. Because it’s really important to feel clear and focused, and not occupy your brain with a lot of things that are not necessary for that specific presentation.

Another thing I want you to think about is to step into a positive mindset. So if you have some negative thoughts and fears, and maybe you feel like your English is not good enough and you’re gonna get stuck and people are gonna judge you, maybe fill your brain with more positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts.

For example: “I deserve to be heard”, “People want to hear what I have to say”, “My voice matters.” If I found it helpful, other people will find it helpful too. This is going to help people. So, say these things to yourself and remind yourself that it’s about them, and not just about you and how you’re feeling. Because you are here to deliver knowledge and they need to hear it. And it does not matter if you make a pronunciation mistake or grammar mistake, or even if you get stuck – we’re all humans, and they want to see you succeed. Remember that when you go on stage or when you present on Zoom, or even if you present in front of two people in a small meeting. That’s what matters.

All right, that’s it. Now I wanna hear from you: What do you do when you are preparing for a presentation or a meeting or a talk? Write it down in the comments, and let’s share it with the community. If you like this episode and you found it helpful, please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues and students. And don’t forget to subscribe so you can find out about every new video that I post once a week.

Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.