Guide your audience using signpost language

roadsign In all my workshops “Speaking in Public”, we look at signpost language or the technique called ‘signalling’ for presentations. But what is this exactly?

On the road you have a lot of signposts indicating where you are, where you are going and how long it will take you to get there. In the case of a presentation: you, the presenter, know these things of your presentation. But, how can the audience know where you are during your presentation? What point you will be covering next? Or how long it will take? They know because you tell them. You have to give them the signposts. It’s important to draw a roadmap for the audience.

In the introduction, you could say something like:

“To start with, I will give you an overview of the project. We’ll look at the different parts of the project, the scope and where we are right now. After that I will give you the results of the analysis. Then we’ll move on to the most important part of today: the decisions we’ll have to make based on our analysis. Before turning to the actual discussion of those points, I will share with you our recommendations based on the analysis.”

Later during the presentation you can use expressions like “that’s all I wanted to say about the current situation”, “let’s move on to the analysis” or “as you have seen the results of our analysis, let me give you some or our recommendations.”
If you want to know more about signpost language and see more examples, check this post of BBC learning English of the section Talking Business.

Don’t forget to use signpost language to make your presentations easier to follow and in that way more effective.

Image: David Castillo Dominici,

Workshop Speaking English in Public for TEDxValencia Adventures

workshop fotoLast Friday I gave a workshop ‘Speaking English in Public’ as part of the TEDxValencia Adventures Program. The workshop was held at Coworking Valencia.

During the workshop we paid attention to language for presentations: common sentences, phrasal verbs and ‘signposting language’ (language to guide the audience during our presentation). But it was not only about English as a language, we also paid attention to non-verbal communication: how to use the voice and body language. We did this with the use of drama techniques.

Why is it important to pay attention to non-verbal communication?

Most English learners started to learn the English language only ‘with their head’. While they learned their mother tongue through playing games, listening and imitating, through emotional interaction, they started to learn English words and grammar rules at school sitting at a desk. But speaking another language is not only about words and rules, it’s about how to communicate effectively. That’s why we need to integrate both verbal and non-verbal communication and restore the gap that was created. Especially for presentations, the non-verbal part of communicating is very important, because it transmits more than 50% of our message.

Building confidence through games

Speaking in public is the number one fear of people and speaking in a foreign language is frightening too. Speaking English in public is a combination of both. It’s frightening, because most people don’t like to make mistakes and less when they are in front of other people. But without taking the risk, you will never have a chance to succeed. We have to build confidence and we need to embrace those emotions: our nervousness, our shyness and our fears.

Attention for presentation techniques in general

It’s always good to talk about how to give presentations, because great part of presentations in all fields, business, science and education, is delivered very badly. How to catch the attention of the audience, how to keep it, how to tell an interesting story; all very interesting subjects and they deserve more attention.

During this TEDx workshop of 4 hours, we made a start working on those concepts to give the participants a little push to go out there and speak English in front of other people. More pictures of the workshop you can find in the facebook account of Purple Presentations.

Remember that next Saturday the 5th of May, TEDxValencia is celebrated. Look at the website for more information about TEDxValencia.