Language tips for presenting in English

Preparation is key for any presentation, especially if you are presenting in another language. We have put together a list of tips to help you communicate better with your audience. 

1. Essential questions

Seasoned presenters always ask themselves the right questions when preparing their presentation. The first important question is "Who is my audience?" taking into account the variety of different language skills your audience. Other important questions include what you would like to achieve with your presentation, how long it should be, and what is should contain. 

2. Translation 

Google Translate is a very practical tool, however it is not perfect. To reduce the risk of translation error, check with somebody who knows the language.  

3. Key words 

If you have a strong accent, try to have key words written on your presentation slides for your listeners.   

4. Pronunciation 

If you are struggling with how to say a word, the easiest solution is to find an alternative word. You can find synonyms on an online thesaurus. Google Translate also has an audio option which allows you to hear how any word you type in is pronounced.  

5. Slow down  

Speaking slowly and clearly is always recommended when presenting. This is even more important when you are presenting in a language which is not your own, and it will help you with your nerves and breathing. Remember that speed does not show fluency.

6. Spell check 

Make sure you always use a spell check programme, many of which also have useful grammar tips options, and beware of any false friends.

7. What to avoid 

Be careful with cultural references as they can be specific to a country and not familiar to an international audience. Jokes can also be controversial, especially about nationality, ethnicity, religion or politics. If unsure, do not use them.  

8. Double check your figures  

Remember that the rules for how thousands and fractions are written vary between languages. Mistakes about the use of decimal points and commas can lead to misunderstandings. 

9. Handouts 

A summary of your key points in simple language is a good idea, particularly if there are non-English speakers in the audience.  You could even include a glossary of important terms. 

10. Practise, practise, practise  

Hearing yourself say something out loud is usually a very different experience to saying something in your head, so practise in front of an English speaker so that you feel more confident.  

Presenting in another language is usually more nerve-wracking than presenting in your mother tongue but plenty of practise will help you feel more comfortable and confident.  

Good luck with your presentation! 


Seasoned: experienced 

Synonyms: a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word 

Thesaurus: a book of synonyms, often including related and contrasting words and antonyms. 

Controversial: likely to give rise to disagreement    

Repeatedly: over and over again, constantly 

Nerve-wracking: causing stress or anxiety

False friend: a word that is often confused with a word in another language with a different meaning because the two words look or sound similar

This blog has been written at level B1. Stretch your reading skills by looking at the blogs below.

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