Do you find it hard to understand native English speakers? It is sometimes difficult for them too! Help you listeners by following these rules.
Clearly explain when you change subjects so listeners understand that you’re now talking about a different issue to five minutes ago. “We’ve discussed finance up to now. The next point in my speech will be production.”
Slang, acronyms and ironical phrases
Irony doesn’t travel well from language to language and can cause confusion. Foreigners will not recognize slang. Acronyms often only make sense in your language. If you are French you know what TGV stands for but you’ll have to explain “TGV, which means high-speed train” to Americans.
Don’t speak too fast or close your mouth
Don’t hide your accent by speaking with your mouth closed or increasing your speed. Talk slowly, look at people in the eye and open your mouth wide.
Is it important? Say so.
Listeners are not listening all the time so if what you’re about to say is important, introduce it with the right words, such as “This is vital” or “Please pay special attention”. People often don’t know what’s important until you tell them.
Likewise, if part of your speech is directed at a group, let them know you are addressing them specifically. Imagine talking to an audience of doctors and nurses. By saying “Now I’ll speak primarily to the nurses in this room” you’ll allow the doctors to drift off and be ready for the moment when you need their attention.
Don’t chew, eat or smoke while you speak
I think we don’t need to explain this one, do we? If your mouth is full your pronunciation won’t be that good…
This is my second article on this subject. You can find the first part on this same blog.