How To Give A Great TED Talk With Imperfect English

Suki Kim gives an inspired, unconventional TED talk here.  Ms. Kim spent a few years teaching in North Korea and her stories from that time are heartbreaking and harrowing. They deserve to be heard, and thankfully, despite having some difficulty articulating certain words and phrases in English, each idea is clearly conveyed.  Let’s take a look at a few things Ms. Kim does to ensure she is being understood.

1) She reads from a script – For many speeches, it’s best to read from a loose outline.  But if your English is not perfect, it may be better to write the entire speech out.  Make sure to look up the pronunciations for the words you have trouble with, and circle them in your speech so you know to slow down and take your time with the articulation when you pronounce them.

2) She speaks slowly – I repeat this quite a bit in this blog because it’s so important.  You can fix 50% of your articulation problems simply by pausing at the end of each thought, and taking your time with the language. 

3) She uses simple words- There is no need to use complicated language.  Some of the best speeches in history used very simple language.

It should be noted that Ms. Kim’s use of live music while speaking is odd, and not to be reproduced.  It is your ideas and your words that are most important when speaking. It’s best not to do anything that will pull attention from these important factors.

 

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