Online working means that we often have to speak confidently for any presentation format, whether it’s webinars, videos, lives on social medias and hopefully back in real-life presentations eventually.
Effective communication is a core skill for any professional working in international teams, no matter what your industry, department, level or role is. It is an important area to continue to practise & develop, so you feel confident in a variety of situations, on & offline, with different audiences. Even if you are not currently working, it is still a skill to develop for future career prospects.
It is also an area that some people find challenging when presenting or public speaking. The pressure to speak persuasively, impactfully & land your message, which has an extra challenge if you are presenting in English as your 2nd or 3rd language, and then also are doing it via online.
So today I am sharing some of my tips about how to improve your English communication when you want to speak in videos or social media lives.
Maybe you want to use video to get closer to your remote team, or you are a business owner who makes videos to share what you do, or you lead online training/ coaching. It may be part of your strategy to build closer connections to your people, whether they are teams, clients, customers or suppliers.
My international clients tell me this is an area of public speaking in English which they find especially challenging, even if they are confident in online meetings & in day-to-day interactions, so here are my ideas which can help you:
- You are talking to people in a conversation, even though you are looking at a little light on the camera. There are still people there watching & that is what is important to remember. Try & visualise a friend, colleague or somebody you know well & imagine you are meeting them face to face. It will help keep you focused on others, rather than worrying what you look like on camera.
- You have something important to say which you have an opinion on, or you are an expert in, so speak up to share your knowledge, insight & skills. People want to hear from you. So put away your doubts, smile, and put your energy, passion & charm into communicating in this video.
- Slow your language down & create pauses so you sound clearer. We tend to speed up our speech when we are nervous & this may cause English pronunciation challenges for you, making it harder for the audience to follow. Look at what you want to say & break it down into short speech sections with pauses between each section.
- Create more dynamism through stressing (emphasising) key words to convey meaning. Usually we stress key content words, such as nouns, verbs or adjectives, and we can do this in a number of ways. For example, slow down the word & make it sound longer, say the word louder or make your voice go up on the word to create anticipation. These types of techniques focus the audience’s attention.
- English speakers tend to communicate their ideas briefly & concisely, using short sentences. If you are used to speaking in long sentences or in long sections, then break your ideas down into shorter points.
- Use key English flagging phrases to frame your points & naturally guide the audience through the flow of your talk. For example, when opening you can connect with the audience by asking a question ‘Hello everybody, thank you for joining me, I’m …. from….. and I am here today to talk to you about…. Let me start by asking you a question: Have you ever felt/ experienced……?’ Or when you are moving on to the next point: ‘So now we’ve talked about…., & as a reminder the key points are…. Let’s now move on to focus on ……’
- Keep talking, no matter what, even if you make a mistake or have to restart your sentences. Believe you will find a way around it to say something, even if it is expressing it simply. Yes, there is a time to use 100% accurate grammar, complex English phrases or the new idioms you have learnt, but don’t worry if doesn’t happen when recording videos.
- If you do stop speaking or lose your way, the best thing you can do is smile, laugh at yourself & move onto your next point. Do not feel you need to keep re-recording until it is perfect.
- Practise & improve. If video is particularly challenging for you, then start by voice recording your talk & listening back. Ask yourself some key questions: Have you slowed down the pace enough? Can you hear the pauses? Are you emphasising the key words? Once you are comfortable with this, you can also practise in front of a mirror or by videoing yourself. I know this can feel strange to start with. If you are not comfortable watching yourself do it live, then start with videoing yourself with the rear camera. Then build up to videoing yourself with the front camera so you are more confident with creating video content & social media lives.
- Finally, we are all human. Remember even native speakers of English forget their words & mess up too! It is completely natural in normal conversations to do this, we do it all the time, so it is fine in video too.
Hope that has been helpful! Do you have any more questions on speaking confidently in English for videos or lives? Reply to me here, and happy to answer them.
Victoria Rennoldson, Founder of Perfect Cuppa English
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If you want to take your learning further to upgrade your presentation English confidence for webinars, videos & lives then find out more about my next online masterclass, Presentation English.
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