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How can international students improve their public speaking skills?

Many native English-speaking students dread speaking in front of a crowd, so it’s no surprise that international students would feel the same way, if not more scared, when speaking in front of a crowd. 

No matter what course you pick, you’ll probably have to speak publicly, in English, at some stage in your studies. In fact, public speaking is a crucial skill for International students to learn before completing their degrees. But don’t worry, as with any skills, public speaking skills can be learned, practised and mastered.

So if you are one of the many people who avoid public speaking, this article will hopefully give you some useful hints and tips on how to overcome this common fear.

Choose a topic of interest 

Picking a topic that interests you or something that you are knowledgeable about will not only help you talk about it more easily, but it will give you the ability to deliver it more confidently as well. As a result, your delivery will appear more natural, plus you’ll have less room to make mistakes. You’ll also be in a better position to answer any possible questions thrown at you.

Try the “less-is-more” approach

Many foreign students think that they need to say more words and phrases in order to demonstrate a better understanding of the English language. This isn’t necessarily true. While this approach may seem smart, this can lead you to speaking too quickly and getting the words in the wrong order. 

A better approach is to learn to speak at a rate that will allow you to have the time to find the right words to express your thoughts. Practising this strategy will help you become confident in your word choices, and this, in turn, will bring out more confidence when delivering them.

Write down key points

Even if you've understood your topic well and have already picked the right words for the presentation, you might still end up relying on your notes, especially if you're nervous. Nerves can also impact on your ability to recall your speech, no matter how well you think you know it. To avoid this from happening, make sure you write down key points to refer to, but avoid full sentences so that you don’t end up reading from your cards. It can sometimes help to list your prompts in bullet point form on a slideshow presentation. In doing so, you can discuss your presentation in a natural way while also being able to maintain eye contact with your audience and your slides without having to look down at your notes.

Befriend native speakers

When improving your confidence in your English speaking skills, the key is to practise. This means conversing with others using the English language on a regular basis. An excellent way to improve your English is to make as many English-speaking friends as possible to push you to communicate with them using the language. 

Joining a language exchange program is also a great idea to help you to practise and develop your English conversation skills.

If you need further information when it comes to improving your English communication skills, speak with a friendly representative at one of our student services offices.

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