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Archive for the ‘Presentation Skills’ Category

There’s a lot of talk about confidence when we’re talking about students learning English. Students want to build confidence.  Parents often told me they wanted their children to be more confident when speaking English.  Confidence-building is a class!

But what exactly is confidence? The word “confidence” is the noun form of the verb “to confide.”  When you look up “confide” at, some form of the word “trust” appears 8 times: trust, entrust, intrust, trustworthiness, trustingness, trustfulness. Look up these words if you don’t know them.

One of my most favorite meanings for the word trust is to allow without fear.  We don’t make ourselves confident. We allow ourselves to be confident. Confidence is something we already have. We only need to allow it to come forward.

Many people associate confidence with success. If we’re confident, everything will work out the way we want. This is often not so.  Life often works out differently than we planned. Does this mean we can never be confident? Of course not!

Others think confidence is about being number ONE, the strongest, the smartest, the best, able to beat all others. Well, there is only one number one. What about everyone else? Is it possible to be number 2 or 52 or 192 and still be confident? Of course it is!

Some think confidence is something we put on like a coat. Look and act confident no matter what. Never show you’re afraid or nervous. Is this real confidence? No.

Confidence is allowing us to be who we are and knowing that who we are is valuable.

Confidence is knowing that we’re always learning and learning involves trying and not getting it quite right and trying again.

Confidence is knowing we’ll feel afraid when we try something new and trying it anyway.

Confidence is not worrying so much what others think.  When we’re okay with ourselves, what others think isn’t very important.

Confidence is the ability to confide in oneself — to be truthful and trustworthy with yourself which then helps you be truthful and trustworthy with others.

As we allow ourselves to be more confident, our English lessons become easier. We’re more relaxed so we learn more quickly.

We can speak an English word, say it incorrectly, laugh and try again.

We have more energy to put into our studies.

We’ll take more risks in speaking out and in our writing.

No matter where you are in your English study, you are fine! Keep going! Keep learning and using what you learn! Enjoy!


Have you ever thought about your voice?

Part of being a good speaker is having a voice people like to listen to.

A voice that is too high will not be as easy to listen to…  as a voice that is lower and more rich (no, not the “rich” that’s about money, “rich” as in pleasantly full and mellow).

A voice that is too high will also not carry very well. This means that the sound doesn’t go very far. People close to you can hear you but people who are sitting further away have to work hard to hear you.

I am not a professional voice coach, but I know a couple of tips to share.

Voice has to do with breath.

Try this.

Breathe into your belly. Put your hand on your belly and breathe in. Feel your belly rise as it fills up with air. You may have to practice this. Many people only breathe into the upper part of the chest.

When you can breathe all the way down into your belly, exhale and make a sound with your exhale. Don’t push the sound or try to make the sound big or low. Just make a natural sound from this part of your body. The sound will be deeper and richer than a sound that comes from your upper chest. Again, you will probably need to practice this.

Using this voice, practice reading something aloud.  As you become more comfortable using this voice, try it out with a friend. At first you’ll laugh and think it sounds weird, but you will get used to using this voice.

Your speaking will become more confident   and relaxed.

Be well, practice your English, don’t stress, enjoy!

Many times, we create a poster to go with a presentation.

Go online to Google Images and search “posters.” Look at the hundreds of examples and decide which ones you like and why.

What makes a good poster?

Well, it depends on what you want the poster to do for you. It depends on how many people are in your audience. It depends on how close you are to your audience. And it depends on whether you will be asked to stand with your poster to answer questions at another time during the event.

The biggest problems with posters is that they can have too much information on them and they can be impossible for the audience to see.

Example 1: You are going to make a presentation at a conference. It’s about a research study and you will report the results. At another time during the conference, all the presenters will stand with their posters so conference attendees can look at them and ask questions or chat with the presenters. So you will have some people who come to hear your presentation and others who will just see your poster.

You will need enough information on the poster to interest people walking by. This may be too much information for people to read clearly during your presentation. Think about making small photocopies of the poster to hand out during your presentation. Also, highlight your most important points in yellow.

Example 2: The only people who will see your poster are those coming to your presentation. The more people at your presentation, the less information for your poster is a good way to think about it. If people are working hard to see words on your poster, they will not be listening as well as they could be.

For an interesting and effective poster:

Think about how you can organize your information so that it will be easy to understand.

Use color!

Think about using a handout for details and a poster with one large visual or some smaller ones that go with your topic.

Your presentation is the most important. Your poster is supposed to make your presentation better, to help you, not to contain your entire presentation. Use your imagination. Make your poster interesting and attractive.

Be well. Study hard, but most of all, enjoy!


Posted on: June 11, 2010

This post is dedicated to my friend, Im, from Chiangmai and all her Facebook friends! You are mostly graduates, I’m sure,  and are now out in the world making yourselves known and famous…Yes!!

So here are some thoughts especially for you about how to connect with others in your world of work, especially when you need to express yourself to groups — big or small — in English or in Thai.

Communicating well and being understood by others is partly about making a real connection with them. You can only really connect from the natural parts of yourself. Interestingly, the natural parts of ourselves are the parts we often feel the most shy about. Nonetheless, this is where our ability to be genuine lives.

When you allow yourself to communicate naturally — not trying to be someone that you are not — you begin to develop your own style. And this is what this post is really about…finding your own style.

In your jobs, as you grow and are promoted to more and more responsible positions, many of you will have numerous chances to speak to groups in one form or another. You will be most effective when you can find what’s special about you and use it in your communication.

An example: I had an IELTS student who is a doctor, a pain management specialist. He often gives talks. He also loves to search the internet for cute icons and characters. So he connected his hobby with his speaking and incorporates funny and interesting characters in his slides for all his talks. He knows that keeping everyone’s attention is challenging and that medicine is very serious. So he lights people up and lights up his talk with unexpected humor.

Maybe you are visual in this way or maybe you’re a storyteller, like me, and can bring a story into your talk that describes your point.

Maybe you are very active and find moving around when you speak, gesturing and showing your emotions with your face and body to be much more fun and interesting for your audience.

Maybe you’re relational — that is very happy when you are relating to others. So when you speak, you might ask questions of your audience, drawing them into what you’re saying, asking them to think with you rather than just listen to you.

What is your style?

You have a unique style to help you connect and communicate. If you can use it, you will become more relaxed and sure in your life and work.

, Im, for your support and kindness!

Public speaking seems to worry everyone. Many people feel that speaking in public is about the speaker, however I think it’s really about the audience.

When I speak I know I’m there to describe or explain or help people understand something. I’m there for them.

So how can I help them understand? By keeping it simple, clean, clear, not trying to be sophisticated or funny but genuine, sincere and easy to understand.