Last 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.