Public speaking can be a challenge for anyone on a good day but when you’re a non-native English speaker, there’s an added layer of pressure and complexity.

I work with many clients for whom English is not their first language and there are tools in their toolbox that I give them especially for non-native English speakers.  They are simple and effective skills and with a little practice you’ll master them in no time.

Here are my top five tips for non-native English speakers that will help you to crush your next presentation, public speaking gig, or meeting.


#1  Breathe, Breathe, Breathe


Breathing is a public speaking tool that can give you huge bang for your buck, non-native and native English speaker alike.

But for non-native English speakers, breathing helps you speak and feel better in a number of ways.

Ground your energy and manage your nerves

Not all breathing is created equal.  When you are breathing in a grounded, centered way, you are getting high octane, quality fuel for your words, your energy, and your delivery.

Diaphragmatic Breathing is a posh name for breathing into your belly and into a deep, grounded place of center.  This kind of breathing will help you center your energy, your thought, and manage nerves when they raise their ugly head.

Um’s and Uh’s

Breathing also helps with ‘fillers’ or ‘placeholders’, those pesky ‘um’s’, ‘uh’s’, and ‘erm’s’ that disrupt the flow of your words and distract the audience from your story and message.

Power of Pause

Breathing allows you to use the power of pause, which not only helps to slow you down but helps you parcel information for the audience.

We can’t take in too much information at once or at the same pace.  Pausing helps you chop your information into bite sized chunks for the audience so we can better digest what you’re talking about.


#2 Slow Down!


We ALL need to slow down and non-native English speakers especially.  When you’re uncertain of your words and message or your proficiency in English, you can start to rush just to get through to the end of your communication.

Rushing through your words makes it difficult for your audience to follow you and can also result in mumbled and unclear words.

It’s very common for non-native English speakers to speed through their presentation or speech because of fear:  Fear you’re words aren’t good enough or that your delivery won’t be good enough.  So you rush to get to the end, hoping the audience won’t notice anything amiss!

So slow down, make sure you’ve put the work into creating a clear message and amazing delivery so you don’t feel the need to rush.  The audience will not run to catch up with you; they’ll just stop listening.


#3  Articulate your words


Clear articulation is a non-native English speaker’s best friend.  Clear articulation means thinking into your consonants and using the hard edges of language, the consonants (consonants are everything except the vowels, A-E-I-O-U) to help you speak more clearly.

When you think into the consonants you will automatically slow down, which is another benefit of speaking clearly.

Articulation is also one of the colours on the palate of engaging, memorable speaking.  You can use articulation to punch certain ‘power’ words and phrazes, which will help us remember them because they stand out.

Using articulation helps you to be heard more easily and clearly, which means your audience has to do less work to understand you.  This is important because if your audience has to struggle or work to understand you, they’ll just stop listening.  More importantly, they won’t hear your message because they’ll be distracted by trying to understand you.

Remember, your audience is always looking for a reason not to listen to you.  Don’t give them the chance.  Speak clearly and take your time.


#4  Practice and Prepare For Success


There’s no getting around this one.  You must practice and prepare if you want to show up as professional and polished.  NOT perfect, mind you.  But practiced and prepared.

When you put in the time and prepare your words and your delivery, you are creating new memories in your body and prepping your brain and body for the main event.

Also, when you prepare and practice you are giving a great compliment to the audience.  You are saying, ‘Your time is important and I’ve thought about and prepared what I can give to you today.’.  That is sexy to an audience.  THAT is what gets people listening.

So have a plan of action.  How are you going to map out your story and content so it’s easy for the audience to follow and is engaging and relatable?  How are you going to deliver that story and content in a way that it going to make them sit up and listen?

Get your speaker toolbox filled with skills and techniques that you can pull out and use over and over again to deliver impactful messages.


#5  Ditch the Script


No one enjoys hearing you read a script of what you have to say.  It’s flat, lifeless, and you will have no emotional connection to the words you are giving your audience.  And in turn, neither will they have any connection with your message or words.  What you are is what the audience gets.

Also, if you use a script you will throw yourself off if you lose your place.  You will also never be able to make that message sing for the audience (unless you are very experienced and a seasoned public speaking veteran).

Get rid of your script.  I always insist that my clients map out their story instead.  And I mean map it out.  Take a piece of paper and pen, start with the beginning, continue with the middle, and end with the end.

There is a very clear way to map out your story and message.  It will save you so much time and energy and speed up your creative process when it comes to manifesting your content.  Mapping out your story will also help you to learn it faster and more indelibly.

Remember:  You Rock As A Non-Native English Speaker

No matter what your mother tongue is, as a non-native English speaker you can knock it out of the park just the same as a native English speaker.

Learning a few tools and techniques and putting them into practical application can help you to connect with your message better and in turn connect with your audience.

Simple and effective techniques will help YOU to connect with your words and messages.  And when you’re connected, we’re connected.

Start filling up that tool box and watch yourself soar.  You’ve got this.



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