You're going to make mistakes: how to make sure your audience doesn't care

Mis à jour : août 24

Do you worry that your English is not good enough and you are going to make mistakes in your presentations?

Let me tell you 2 things: if you can read this, your English is good enough. You are definitely going to make some mistakes.

Now let me tell you how to make sure your mistakes are not important:​

  1. Practise, practise, practise. If you don’t have a lot of time, practise the introduction and the conclusion. These are the things people will remember.

  2. Don’t memorise your presentation, but make sure your content is very familiar to you, so you are not stressed about forgetting it.

  3. Think about all the vocabulary you might need related to your topic. Now learn it.

  4. Before you start speaking, go somewhere and take some really deep breaths. Move your body around. Do some power poses. Release your jaw.

  5. Stand up straight. Plant your feet equally on the ground and imagine you have roots coming out of your feet into the earth, like a tree. Release your neck.

  6. Make eye contact.

  7. Breathe and speak slowly. Take the time to fully emphasise the important words.If you make a mistake or you forget a word, pause and go back. Breathe. Don’t let it stress you for the rest of your presentation.

  8. A lot of people worry about questions, because you can’t control them. Follow the 4 steps to answering questions and you’ll be much more in control.

  9. Be human! You are not a robot. If you forget a word, or you make a huge mistake, or you forget what you were saying, just say so! Anybody in the audience who has ever done a presentation in a foreign language will understand.

  10. Work with someone - a trainer, a coach, a fluent friend - who can listen to you and make sure you are not making any terrible mistakes. Your confidence will really increase once you know that your mistakes are not that bad. 

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