In this week’s presentation tips video, I’m going to answer a question I received from someone on YouTube named Ton Rod about intonation and, specifically, how to sound like a native English speaker when giving a presentation.

What the real issue is

Whenever somebody asks this question, it’s usually because you really care about your English presentation performance. You probably understand how important it is to give a good presentation in English. And you probably think that what is holding you back from giving a good presentation is your English speaking ability. But in my experience, the real issue is not so much your English ability, as it is the fact that you are presenting in English by memorizing a script.

Why that is a problem

Well, the problem with that is that your script was probably not written in a natural native English-speaking kind of way. It was likely written to be more, or as much as possible, grammatically correct and with the best vocabulary you could think of.

So memorizing it becomes an issue

When you memorize a presentation script that was not written in a natural way, there is no way you can deliver the presentation and sound natural. Not even a great actor could do that.

Another thing

If your audience is made up of non-native English speakers, then they likely won’t care that you don’t sound like a native English speaker. It would be impressive, though, and there are some ways to help you.

Here are 3 things you can do to sound more like a native English speaker…

1. Use simple vocabulary that a 10-year-old child can understand

Be sure to avoid complicated, overly technical or very advanced words and sentence structure.

The reason is because to sound more natural, you must use more common and natural sounding vocabulary and sentences.

2. Go to Hemingwayapp.com

Use it to check your presentation script for clarity, sentence structure and vocabulary usage.

This is a great app because it clearly points out how readable your writing is, which in turn, determines how natural sounding your presentation script will be.

3. Give yourself enough time to prepare

You need time to write your script and edit it to sound more natural.

Preparing for a presentation at the last minute or with little time to go over your script, is a recipe for a poor sounding presentation.

To wrap up

Remember that the most important thing is working from a good script. You should try to avoid sounding too academic. Instead, aim for being understood by your audience, as that is far more important.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Good luck and thanks again to Ton Rod!