Presenting in English to an audience that uses English as a second language?
- Pause more often.
- Speak a bit slower.
- Using interpreters? Pause even more often so both interpreters and audiences can catch up with your message. And speak even slower. (Your interpreters will appreciate your professionalism, and it will be easier for your audience to get your message.)
Spanish translation of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH (St Martin’s Press). Spanish edition publisher, Alba Editorial of Barcelona Spain. Translator, Elena Bernardo Gil. Author, Joan Detz
About two years ago, St Martin’s Press did a contract for the Mainland China edition of How To Write & Give A Speech. That Chinese edition (with simplified characters) has just been published in Mainland China. I don’t have my author’s copy yet, but when I get the book, I’ll post and share the details.
Now: A few weeks ago, St Martin’s Press sold a new Chinese language edition that will be published in Taiwan (with traditional characters). The upcoming Taiwan edition will offer Chinese rights worldwide (excluding Mainland China).
Speechwriting and public speaking are global skills. I’m grateful to the translators who have made – and are still making – How To Write & Give A Speech available in multiple languages.
“People in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think people want peace so much that one of these days our governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.” (during a 1959 TV broadcast)
Perhaps you’ve seen people introduce speakers by reading from their phones. Perhaps you think it might be okay for you to do, as well.
It isn’t okay. It isn’t okay at all.
I’ve seen phone-readers lose their place, scroll nervously, mispronounce names, fumble with phrasing, bend their head down to see the screen, squint to read the small type, forfeit all eye contact, miss what’s going on in the room.
Audiences don’t like any of this.
Phone-reading might be easy, it might be fast. But it isn’t okay.
Your audiences deserve better. So does your speaker.
An occasional series of quirky tech tips for writers, speakers, teachers, entrepreneurs, execs … and pretty much anybody who has to communicate for a living (which is to say, almost all of us)
Includes: How to introduce a speaker
More than a decade ago, I did a presentation on public speaking for Columbia Women in Business – a club for graduate students at Columbia Business School. With more than 400 members, CWiB is one of the largest organizations on Columbia’s campus.
My presentation went well.
Afterwards, an attendee came up to thank me for the communication tips I offered. Then she added: “I’d like to return the favor by giving you a tip of my own.”
Here’s a summary of the insights she shared with me:
Women who change their opinions on a topic often face a unique blow back. Whether in business or politics or medicine or education, women are likely to get public criticism when they change their views.
Maybe they supported something 5 years ago, but they don’t support it now. They get labeled “flip-flop” or “indecisive” or “wishy-washy”. And what do they do? They often respond with apologies. “I’m sorry. I regret that choice” or “I’m sorry. I wish I’d made another decision.”
Apologies have their place – absolutely. But many women apologize way too often.
If criticized for changing your position, consider this simple honest statement: “New information presented itself.”
When new information presents itself, wise people listen. Wise people keep learning.
When new data shows a better way forward, wise people make fresh decisions.
“New information presented itself.” Memorize this short statement. You’ll convey truth and confidence – in just four words.
Gratitude to the wise audience member who shared this with me…
I’m pleased to give public speaking tips to English-as-second-language speakers in this Business Venezuela magazine. (The article appears in both English and Spanish.)
Te invitamos a leer Nuestra Edición Digital N# 360 2018 “TOP 100 COMPANIES” 20 Años presentando el mejor ranking de negocios en Venezuela.
To read my featured piece click here.
I rejoined the International Association of Business Communicators – Philadelphia Chapter. I started my career as a member in the New York City chapter – seldom missing a meeting.
Keep in mind:
You don’t have to join a professional organization to start getting involved. You can follow an organization on Twitter (IABC has great #commchats), get practical info through the group’s website, go to a local chapter meeting, grow professionally by attending the annual conference (I’ve presented on speechwriting at several international conferences and can vouch that IABC provides a well-run learning experience), or visit a distant chapter when you’re traveling.
Did you know, for example, that Toastmasters has chapters around the world? If you take a business trip to Singapore or vacation in Ireland, why not attend a nearby Toastmasters meeting? You’ll get a warm welcome – and boost your global network.
Each week, I do one thing to boost my engagement in a professional organization. I look forward to becoming more active in IABC again.
How will you grow this week?
“It’s not normal for you to go to a community, weigh 100 children and have 30 of them close to dying.” (Susanna Raffalli, nutritional coordinator, speaking about the human devastation in Caritas Venezuela)
+ the impact of using the personal pronoun “you” to engage listeners in the statistic (“It’s not normal for you to go to a community … “)
+ the power of using round numbers: “100 children … 30 of them close to dying”. Round numbers are more quotable.
On a personal note:
For the sake of the children who are suffering so terribly in Venezuela, I hope you’ll find opportunities to share this statistic with others. The chaos in Venezuela gets precious little media attention in the US. I’m aware of Venezuela’s situation through international business communication colleagues who are trying to do their professional best in what has become a disaster zone.
If it’s time to update your website, make sure you cite comments/clients/recommendations from a wide geographical range.
Freelance speechwriting is a global business – if you market it globally.
A freelance speechwriter who attended 5 of my speechwriting seminars has turned a local speechwriting business into a global speechwriting business. I’m delighted to see this. If the entire world is filled with potential clients, why limit yourself to the companies in your hometown?
Essential: Update your website to include blurbs from international clients. Don’t have any international clients yet? Well, cite diverse forums, global topics, English-as-second-language executives.
Maybe you’ve written a speech about Brexit, or climate change, or multi-cultural workforces. Note this speechwriting experience. It all speaks to your broad worldview, and it increases your professional value.
(Yes, in case you’re wondering: Experienced international speechwriters earn higher rates.)