fbpx

Category Archives for General

Presentation Basics the Venue, Equipment, Hardware and the Performance

presentation basics

Presentation Basics, the Venue, Equipment, Hardware and the Performance – just so it’s clear this is the final part of the basics

Just like last week’s post, this one is covering the last points of Presentation Basics, the Venue, the Equipment, the Hardware and the Performance. In case you’ve missed the first part, you can find it here and the second part is here. By the way, you can download all points as a PDF document to help you prepare for your next presentation hereAre you ready for the final part of Presentation Basics?

 

Here we go:

 

The Venue, the Equipment and the Hardware

This is another important aspect of making your presentation a success. Just imagine, …

… you are invited to attend a presentation the following week. You accept the invitation because the topic sounds promising. So you make sure you get to the venue on time, as you want to have a good seat. A seat from which you can see and hear everything clearly and comfortably. You get there and all the seats have already been taken. Other people, who didn’t get a seat anymore either, are standing at the back of the room. It’s very crowded, you are now in a bad mood and very disappointed. Due to bad lighting and speakers you cannot see or hear anything properly. You are considering leaving the presentation. The speaker starts and at that moment you pray that the presentation will be worth it. Unfortunately, your prayers weren’t heard…

Needless to say this imagined presentation is a failure. In order to prevent some similar scenario happening to you, please consider the following guiding questions:

  • Is the size of the room adequate for the number of people attending?
  • What are the seating and lighting  arrangements?
  • Will you need a microphone?
  • Are the speakers working properly?
  • Which hardware will you use for your presentation?
  • Will your laptop hook up to the projector?
  • Have you made emergency backups?
  • Do you have handouts?
  • Who is responsible for your slideshow? Is someone helping you?
  • Have you tested everything before?

 

Finally, we’ve reached the last point:

The Performance

I had already mentioned in my blog post titled “How can I perfect my presentation in English?”  – in case you missed it, just click on the title – how important practice is. Having trained many students to give a short presentation as part of an oral business exam, I cannot emphasise this enough.

Practise your …

  • presentation
  • body language
  • pace and timing
  • voice

In case you’re wondering why practice is so important, I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s something my Dad told me back in the day. I remember he was driving me to school early in the morning and I had an exam that day. I was terribly nervous. He asked me if I had practised. I replied that I had practised numerous times. Then he looked at me, smiled and said then you have no reason to be nervous. That’s another reason why practice is so important. It helps you overcome nervousness.

That brings me to the end of the final part of presentation basics. In conclusion, please consider …

All aspects together will make or break your presentation! 

 

That just about wraps it up for today

 

One more thing though, Yvette and I have set up an early interest page for an upcoming course about presentations. Check out all the information about it here.

 

Please join me again next week, when I cover tips on how to overcome nervousness before your presentation, so you can communicate successfully in English and get your point across.

Have a wonderful time and take care

Nadia

 

PS Our new podcast is finally available on iTunes and Spotify. Check it out and subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode.

If you like what I’ve shared with you and you want to share it, then please do!

Presentation Basics the Structure and the Slides

perfect presentation

Presentation Basics, the Structure and the Slides – just so it’s clear this is another part of the basics

Just like last week’s post, this one is covering the next two points of Presentation Basics, the Structure and the Slides. In case you’ve missed the first part, you can find it here. By the way, you can download all points as a PDF document to help you prepare for your next presentation hereAre you ready for the second part of Presentation Basics?

 

Let’s get started with the next points of presentation basics:

 

The Structure

Your presentation’s structure depends on many aspects, some I told you about last week, like your “why”, your audience and your topic. You need to consider those aspects before you start building the framework, which will be a perfect fit for your content.
Your structure needs to have three parts:

  • an introduction
  • a main part
  • a conclusion

The introduction

In this part you want to ensure you will have your audience’s complete attention for the duration of your presentation. That’s why you inform them about yourself, your company, your position, your expertise, about what they are going to hear and/or see and why they should pay close attention to your presentation. Let them know how long your presentation is going to last and when they can ask their questions. Tell them what they don’t know yet and what they have to know. 

The main part

If necessary, this can be split into sections, however, preferably not more than three. If you need to make sections and to avoid confusion, please make sure you keep your audience informed about which section you’re covering at that moment. Introduce your point, explain it and give examples. Make sure you have supporting points and evidence. Finish the section by recapping and returning to your point.

The conclusion

Once you have reached the end, announce it. Summarise the key points or key benefit your audience needs to remember and give them your call to action. Thank them for their time and attention and invite questions.

 

Finally, let’s move on to my next point:

The Slides

 Your slides are visual aids, which really help and support you and your presentation. When designing the slides, please consider these guiding questions:

  • Do all slides match? Do they have the same design / font / colours? 
  • How many slides do you have?
  • Is there text on the slide? How much text is on each slide?
  • Does each slide have something important to say?
  • Is each slide a real visual aid?
  • Can you use a picture or simple graph instead of text?
  • Does each slide reinforce or clarify a point?

With the slides you want to help your audience see your point and/or their benefit. Avoid having your audience read too much text from your slides. Keep eye contact with your audience for at least 90% of the time. Do not turn your back on them. Speak before you click for the next slide.

You are in charge of the slides, do not let them take charge of you! 

 

That just about wraps it up for today

 

One more thing though, Yvette and I have set up an early interest page for an upcoming course about presentations. Check out all the information about it here.

 

Please join me again next week, when I cover part three of presentation basics to help you communicate successfully in English and get your point across.

Have a wonderful time and take care

Nadia

 

PS Last week’s post might be interesting for you too. Read it here.

If you like what I’ve shared with you and you want to share it, then please do!

Presentation Basics the Purpose and the Audience

presentation basics purpose and audience

Presentation Basics, the Purpose and the Audience – just so it’s clear this is part of the basics

Of course, there is more to presentation basics than the purpose and the audience. However, you should start with these two points before you do anything else.

Before going on, I need to tell you this post will be shorter than the others for two reasons:

  1. Yvette and I have broken down presentation basics into three parts and this is part one. 
  2. I wanted this post to be a short, useful and a doable guide, without any overwhelm.

 

Next week, I’ll cover the next two points of presentation basics. By the way, you can download all points as a PDF document to help you prepare for your next presentation here.

 

Let’s start with the first point:

 

The Purpose

Finding both your own and your audience’s “why” is the first step for establishing common ground. It will make your life a lot easier. Then you will be able to build a relationship with your audience. If your listeners feel you understand them and you know what their needs and struggles are, they will be interested in what you have to offer.

 

The purpose of your presentation has to be clear from the very beginning, otherwise your presentation will not be successful.

 

An effective way of finding the purpose of your presentation is to ask yourself a few simple questions. These are the same questions I ask myself before my presentations to ensure that my audience benefits from them. Honestly, even a training session is a presentation.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What’s your goal?
  • What is your benefit from the presentation? How do you benefit from the presentation?

 

Take your time thinking about these questions and finding the answers. Don’t worry if it’s the same one for all three. I recommend writing down the answers, as this will help you to keep them in mind and to focus on them.

After finding your “why”, it’s time to focus on your audience’s “why”.

 

  • How will your listeners benefit from your presentation?
  • What should your audience’s benefit be?
  • Which reaction would you want your audience to have after your presentation?

 

By answering these questions you should find the common ground you’ll need. I’ll give you an example. Just think of commercial ads on television or YouTube. They are small presentations. Many show a customer’s problem or struggle in the first few scenes. In the end, somehow magically the same problem has been solved because of the presented product or service, which is the solution.

Do you get my point?

 

Finally, let’s move on to the second point:

 

The Audience

If you’ve ever had anything to do with marketing, you’ll know why this point is a game changer. Being able to put yourself in your audience’s shoes is not only helpful, it’s crucial. By that I mean you should really change your viewpoint and consider your audience’s needs, struggles and challenges, their current mood, their cultural background and their level of expertise. Of course, finding out how many listeners you will be addressing is just as important. This information you’ll need for another point, which I’m covering in part three of presentation basics. Below are a few guiding questions I use to help myself understand my audience.

 

  • Who are they? Are they team members / suppliers / customers / founders?
  • What do they do? Are they engineers / trainers / doctors?
  • What is their cultural background?
  • What mood will they be in?
  • Where will they listen to you and see your presentation?
  • Are they experts or non-experts concerning the topic and the language?

Here again, please take your time to consider the answers to these questions and write them down. Think of the example I mentioned before.

Good commercials (presentations) always consider their audience. Otherwise, they’re not good.

 

That just about wraps it up for today

 

One more thing though, Yvette and I have set up an early interest page for an upcoming course about presentations. Check out all the information about it here.

 

Please join me again next week, when I cover part two of the presentation basics to help you communicate successfully in English and get your point across.

Have a wonderful time and take care

Nadia

 

PS Last week’s post might be interesting for you too. Read it here.

If you like what I’ve shared with you and you want to share it, then please do!

 

 

False Friends and How to Avoid Them

false friends

The Story of  True and False Friends

Many years ago, a good friend, let’s call him Sebastian, was working for a company which sold production machinery in China, the Middle East, and North America. Sebastian sometimes had to go on business trips to North America to install the machines, make sure they were up and running according to the customer’s wishes and to train the employees how to work the machines.

One evening we met up after work and he told me about his latest trip to the US and the people he had worked with.

“Oh, so you’re a Turkey?”

He was excited about the opportunity to travel because it meant meeting new people, going places he had never been before and encountering new challenges. There was one encounter of the special kind he told me about.

He had asked one of the employees he was training, where he was from, as he wasn’t American. The employee knew Sebastian was from Germany and told him to guess, as many people from his country work in Germany too. After a short thought, Sebastian replied: “Oh, so you’re a turkey?”

I asked him what the man from Turkey had replied. It wasn’t until this moment, a week after having said that sentence for the first time, that Sebastian started doubting its correctness. “Well”, he continued, “he only said ‘yes’.” (Which leaves two options: either politeness or not knowing it better)

Looking into Sebastian’s puzzled face, I couldn’t leave him in the dark, despite the idiom “ignorance is bliss”, which by the way doesn’t fit in with my line of work or mindset. My friend laughed about himself when I told him what his mistake was. After that, he never mixed it up again.

False Friends, what are they?

Over the past years, I have encountered very many mistakes Germans make when learning English. Many because the words sound similar and people think they have the same meaning. Or because they have been adapted from English, but are used differently.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, then just consider these examples of false friends:

  • “Handy”, in German it is a synonym for a mobile or cell phone. In English, it means something is helpful or accessible.
  • “Chef”, in German means the head of your department/company or the person you report to. In English, it means a cook.
  • “Stadium”, in German means stage or level. In English, it is a place where sport or music events are held.
  • “lch bin erfreut”, in German means I’m pleased or delighted. Some people mix it up with “I’m afraid”, which means, unfortunately or I’m scared.
  • “unterbrochen”, in German means interrupted. Some people mix it up with “broken”, which means something is not functioning, it’s out of order or in pieces.

By the way, they exist across different languages not only in English and German. They even exist within the same language; check out this and this on Wikipedia for impressive lists of differences words can have in American and British English.

How do you avoid these false friends?

Please keep in mind when learning a language or anything else for that matter, you cannot become an expert overnight, it is a longer process.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you there is no short cut to avoiding false friends. It takes time and practice.

These are the strategies you can do:

  • Get or make a list of false friends for the language you are learning, for English I would suggest: False Friends: A photographic journey through 67 tricky English mistakes, “False Friends in Business English”  or “Fighting False Friends”   (by clicking on either link you will find each book on Amazon and if you make a purchase via these links, I will receive a small commission). Revise these lists.
  • Be especially careful in professional situations and make sure the words you want to use e.g. in a presentation or a speech are correct. Have an expert proof read your script.
  • Don’t forget, you’re human. Making mistakes is a natural part of learning a language. If you have friends who are native speakers, tell them to inform you, when you have made a mistake. Learn from them.
  • Above all, keep a sense of humour, even if your faux pas is embarrassing. You’ll never forget it again. Believe me, I know, ask Sebastian.

One more thing

Let me know about the false friends you’ve encountered. Here are your possibilities to get in touch with me:

  1. Contact me and we’ll find a way to get together online or offline.
  2. Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Xing.

Take care, have fun and let me know if you need any help.

Nadia

 

6 Tricks to Improve your English in 10 Minutes

light bulb head

In order for you to understand why these 6 tricks to improve your English can be very effective, let me tell you about the most important ingredient, if you want to improve your English skills immensely. 

“I just don’t think about it.”

Those were the words of Julian Pollersbeck, Germany’s keeper, at the European U21 Championship after saving the final penalty shot and by that taking his team into the final. By “not thinking about it” Julian indicates he has trained his skill so well, it has become second nature to him.

That’s the attitude I wish more people had sometimes when speaking English. Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about the problem non-native speakers of English have: they translate every word they want to say before they speak. By doing that, at some point, they experience the following: they don’t know the translation of one word and reach what I call “speaker’s block”. Surely you’ve heard of writer’s block, the inability to produce new work or lack of ideas to write about. Well, “speaker’s block” is quite similar. The people experience the inability to go on speaking, i.e. to produce oral content. 

Think in English

Now be honest! Do you feel caught red-handed? Well, if it makes you feel better, there’s a remedy for that. However, as with most things in life, it does not come naturally: it requires a lot of practice. Think in English. Don’t think in your native language when speaking English, unless it is English, of course ;-).

Ok, now you’re probably thinking: “Great, how am I supposed to do that?” At least, I hear that comment from many of my students. As I mentioned before it takes practice. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sit down for hours and hours every day and practise to improve your English.

 Ten minutes a day are all you need. Focus on your vocabulary. Integrate learning or repeating it into your daily routine

Here are six tricks to get you on track and improve your English. 

  1. Learning is easier to integrate when combined with fun. Start with something you enjoy doing. What is your hobby? Are you a football fan? Great, then start learning the vocabulary you’ll need to talk to someone about it. After all, discussing the game is almost just as popular as watching it.
  2. Use Post-its, start with naming the things around you or what you use every day. Write the object’s name on a Post-it and stick it to the object. If you don’t know what it is called in English then look it up. Test yourself after one week, how many objects can you name correctly? 
  3. Before having a meal, try naming every ingredient before eating it. The next level is to describe how it is prepared. This can be very useful or even life saving if a friend has a food allergy.
  4. Listen to native speakers. Every language, actually every dialect has its own sound or melody. It depends on your personal taste if you consider them to be melodic or not. The more often you hear native speakers talk, the faster you will get used to the language melody. So do not give up on practising your listening skills, they are essential if you want to improve your English. Of course, songs are a great way to practise and nowadays it’s very easy to read the lyrics, no matter where you are, just by using an app of your choice on your mobile phone. Other good sources for improving your listening skills are radio shows, podcasts or audio books. For the next exercise, I recommend, finding a podcast about a topic you’re interested in, which offers a script of the spoken content. Once you have gotten used to the speaker’s voice and intonation, check out the show notes for the script. You can read along or just check the words you don’t know and look them up.
  5. Of course, reading books, newspapers, magazines, graphic novels or blogs in English will help you improve your English skills and build vocabulary too. You can use them on a daily basis. Try a tear-off calendar, it won’t even take 10 minutes.
  6. Communicating with others. For some people finding someone with similar interests to interact with will help them to skyrocket their improvement. Find someone with similar interests. Either in the office, among your friends or join an English speaking/writing group on social media. 

Here is a list of items you can buy on Amazon (by clicking on them you will be redirected to Amazon.com and if you buy one of them, I will receive a small commission, thank you ;-)) and of useful websites or apps to help you achieve your goals and improve your English learning experience.

 

There is just one thing to remember to improve your English learning experience

Combine your language learning with something you enjoy doing like your hobby, your family, your work, your next vacation etc.

Whatever it is you enjoy doing, go for it!

I’d love to hear from you and learn which tricks have helped you to improve your English.

Here are your possibilities to get in touch with me:

1. Contact me and we’ll find a way to get together online or offline.

2. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Xing.

Take care, have fun and let me know if you need any help.

Nadia