Methods Of Improving Communication And Presentation English Language Essay

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During the Impact Workshop we were asked to mention our two skills which we think we need to improve. According to me the skills which I want to develop are Verbal Communication Skills and Presentation Skills. After the completion of the workshop I went through few books and found out certain methods which authors believe, can be usefull to improve these skills.

Skill 1: Verbal Communication Skills

Many teachers worlwide have to teach mainly grammar and vocabulary because these areas are tested in examinations. This means that speaking is a neglected language skill in many classrooms. Even after good knowlegde of grammar, students tend to find difficult to speak English outside tha classroom. Students who can speak English well may have a greater chance of, finding employement and gaining promotion. Good English speakers will be in a strong position to help their conutry's economic, political and social development. Speaking activities can reinforce the learning of new vocabulary, grammar or functional language. Speaking activities gives students a chance to use the new language they are learning.( Baker, J and  Westrup,H, 2003, pp. 6-8)

It is very important to speak in English during the classroom sessions; it is not only a place where we learn about the rules of language. It is also a place where students can practice using the language in a supportive environment. People learn language in different ways. Many learn to speak in english without taking a single lesson however other learn it by taking classes in the language.( Baker,J and  Westrup,H, 2003, pp.6-8)

When we talk about speaking, we mean using language for a purpose. The author says that instead of asking students to repeat sentences, some time give students a topic and ask them to construct and say their own responses. And this examples is related with me as this is one technique which I have been following since my schooling however when I decided to come to U.K. and pursue masters I had to appear for IELTS exam, I found that this is not enough as my score was pretty low in spoken english as compare to other metrices. I realised that speaking in English requires a lot of practice, not just discussion on small topics in the classroom. It requires a hold over the language so that one is able to comprehend first what needs to be spoken. And should be able to make others understand what they want to say by communicating effectively. Hence I realised after reading this book that to have a good command on the language one need to practice and use his/her skills to create his/her own sentences and try to communicate in english as much as possible. In order to be affluent with the language and stand out of the crowd one should not repeat what others say, but one should make his/her own sentences and dialogues.

I have started applying the methods suggested by the author in order to improve my spoken English. I have seen a change in me, as I have started speaking a lot in the class, started asking questions during the claassroom sessions. I found that I am not that much hesitant anymore, while interacting with students from different counrties, cultures and I have realised that by doing this on a daily basis I happen to improve on my vocabulary and I fumble less while speaking. And I think that because of this i have become more confident and started taking part in group discussions and presentations in the class. Now I feel that flying from India to UK is worth, and I feel this leap in my life and opportunity to study here and have a good grasp over the language will help me in near future i.e. HR in which I would like to pursue my career. As English is a universal language one must have a good command over it as it is required worldwide for employment.

The author suggests that an individual can improve speaking skills in english by activating and extending their linguistic competence; increasing their confidence in using spoken english; developing their ability to analyze and evaluate spoken performance; sharpening their competence in face to face interaction. By using these points one can improve the quality of their speaking skills as well as to increase the quality of their knowlegde of the language system. ( Anderson,K et al.,2004, pp.7-8)

After attending theImpact workshop I realised that it is very important to develop speaking skills, if I have to sustain in this competitive world. I thought a lot on how I can improve this skill and I confronted this to my tutors and with the help of their guidance I found that I should read a lot of books and also look at different approches which various authors have suggested to improvise this skill. Then I found this book and i discovered that in order to improve spoken English one needs to have good vocabulary knowlegde so that he/she can use different words while interating with others. Doing this helps in increase in confidence while speaking in English and along with this one also enculcate an ability to observe and measure different ways of speaking. Polishing their skills by interacting with more and more people personally and talking to yourself by looking at the mirror. Hence building your self confidence and thus enhancing your skills.

Since these factors are very helfull in order to build up one's speaking skills, I have also started implementing them in my day to day life. I try to speak and interact in English on a daily basis with my friends, classmates, family members etc. I also try to participate in those activities which require use of spoken English as a whole so that my skill is developed.

In order to speak good English one should also be able to pronounce words clearly aand correctly. While pronouncing a word one must take care to voice the sound at the end of the word. If one don't and intend to say 'I need a cab', the listener ill hear 'I need a cap'. The author further explains with this example that if all vowels are voiced, then this should help cleary the voicing through to the end. The author put forward the methods to improvise on one's pronunciation and speaking by praticing the pronunciation of such words by speaking them on a daily basis and during spare time. Practising it has added benefit of carry-over to its homophones, 'too' and 'two', also used with high frequency. ( Bareithe, T, 2007)

As per the author one needs to practice this skill by communicating more and more even during the spare time, be it wailking from one place to another, or driving from one workplace to home or vice a versa, or waiting for someone. The author says that there are few words which are pronounced similarly however written differently and have different meanings. We need to practice pronounciation of such words along with others. And there are few words if not pronounced correctly, then the listener might interpret it something else. E.g. if we don't pronounce 'backed' correctly then the listener may hear it as 'packed'.

Earlier I use to listen to English songs and use to think that I can extract few English words that are considered as part of good vocabolary. However later on I realised that by doing so I am not improving, rather hampering my vocabulory and restricting myself as I have fallen prey to use a lot of slangs and cannot communicate frequently as I was not able to grasp the words from the songs. When I read this book I realised that the methods given in the book are right ways of improving spoken English and now I have been practising all the methods mentioned by the author. I try to utilise my spare time in practicing pronunciation of different words. And I think this method is very usefull and easy as compare to other methods.

Skill 2: Presentation Skills

In order to improve our presentation skills, the author says that one should be able to deal beter with the feedback. When someone is sharing their perception one should be gracious, not defensive, take notes and should not try to explain or rationalize. One should always be specific and should ask them to clarify, with simple, open questions in a cordial, calm tone. And should thank them for their feedback.

According to the author the prsenter should always be open to the feedback given by the audience or the assessor. One should take the feedback positively and should try and implement advices into actions. Also while presenting the speaker should be very clear, should use simple words and should have a pleasant tone.

Earlier I was very bad in presentation skills, I figure this out when I started giving presentations during the classroom sessions. I use to get annoyed from the no.of questions asked as I was not able to handle the pressure. And I was not able to accept that my classmates are cross questioning me rather than my tuitor, which made me further phobic to presentations as it hurted my ego. However after reading this book and suugestions given by author I learnt to hold on to be patient and starting accepting the feedback, be it from anyone, my classmates or janetor. (Rotondo, J and Rontodo, M, 2001, p.167)

As per the author for better presentation one need to use good visual aids to make it clearer, so that it makes sense to the audience- if they follow the outline of your speech and they succintly present that outline. Follow your outline. Refer to your Outline Worksheet, and start your presentation by designing one slide for each idea. For Example the basic presentation may have the following slides: title; attention grabber; purpose; agenda; benefit of audience; point 1 with the example; point 2 with the example; point 3 with the example; summary, action step; final statement.

The author suggests that for a presentation one should try and use some good pictures, so that the audience is able to understand it easily. The language used should be simple and clear. The structure should be clear starting from the title, with each part of the presentation divided separatly and elaborated with examples, should always have a conclusion.

Before reading this book I use to think that presentation need not require much effort, which can be done without visuals as well, just by reading from the paper but after looking at the suggestions given by the author I thought that visuals are very usefull, especially to build the interest of the audience. Adding up images adds colour to the presentation and makes it more entertaining for the audience. I have presented on few topics during the class sessions and have started using images. It is very usefull in order to maintain the rhythm. (Bienvenu, S, 2000, P.76)

The author believes that there are few steps which one should always follow in order to present effectively. Its starts from staying relax; let's say theres is a weird question from the audience which you think is can make you nervous, that your heart starts beating too fast. However one should stay calm before answering it so that the flow of the presentation is maintained. And the thinking process remains active. The next step can be being firm and polite to the audience while answering their questions and not being hyper or rude if someone asks too many questions. Check the audience's body language, whether they are paying any attention or not, or whether they are being distracted by anyone or they are paying more attention to someone else then you, if they look irritated or if they are genuinly intrested in the presentation and if this is the case then they would want you to answer all the questions quickly without wasting any time.

I discovered after reading this that it's a human behaviour to get nervous while standing and presenting in front of number of people. Especially when the audience is very proactive in asking questions and due to nervousness one tends to forget things or gets diverted. One should be able to control the presentation with the help of his/her communication skills and sense of humour. So that the audience does not looses its interest. One should be able jugde after looking at the audience, whether they are paying attention or not, whether they are getting annoyed or taking more interest in gossiping or doing some other work. Also one should be able to maintain his/her calm when someone asks a question which is irrelevant or which can create confusion for others. One should always try to answer questionss clearly and should be to the point. One should be thorough with the presentation so that he/she is able to answer evry question asked.

I have realised that after coming to U.K. I started fumbling and started getting nervous while answering questions during the presentation. I use to get annoyed with the no.of answers however after reading through this book I am able to present more confidently and I am able to answer questions without getting irritated. This has really helped me in order to stay calm and present effectively. I always am thorough with the topic of presentation sso that I am able to solve any of the queries based on the topic. (Bradbury,A, 2006, pp.132-134)

Conclusion

After reading all these books related to my weaknesses which I wanted to work on, and after the application of the methods suggested my all the authors I see myself improving day by day and comprehensivley overcoming my weaknesses. Though I don't have any evidences to show but my active participation in the classroom, group work, presentations proves it all. Thus far I am satisfied with my progress and more than happy to make this decision of coming to U.K. and then attending the Impact workshop under my skills module, which made me realize that knowing your weaknesses is not an embarasment rather it is more beneficial. As one knows the areas of development and can be improved before entering the corporaate arena, where we are suppose to perform and compete.

Appendices

Log 1

Name

Miss Divya Manohar

Description of experience?

I was an introvert and was never bothered that it might affect my professional front before coming to Leeds because I thought it was a matter of personal choice. However making various presentations at Leeds made me realizes that I had to gear up to work on both my presentation skills and my shyness.

What did I previously think was true, but now know to be incorrect/ wrong?

 I use to think that being an introvert will not effect be adversly.

What was new or surprising to me? What have I changed my mind about, as a result of this?

Back in India I was not at all shy talking in front of the crowd during different celebratory activities but when it came to do the same in a conference hall confronting my tutors, I was nervous. And was unable to perform effectively.

One thing I learned from this?

One should be always ready to learn, and it's never too late.

How do I plan to cope up with it?

 I have started working on it after becoming a part of Leeds Metropolitan.In order to become better I am trying to speak more frankly while talking to my classmates and try not to hesitate to ask for help from others. Also Iam trying to include some good vocabulary to my verbal communication that will help me make a mark for me in order to assess my progress.

Also apart from this, I will put a habit of rehearsing my presentations before I get on the stage. And doing good research on the topic so that I will be able to answer all the questions which aundience might have, effectively.

Log 2

Name

Miss Divya Manohar

Description of experience?

 After I came to leeds I realised that I my spoken english was not that good. Even after studying in an english medium school, I was required to polish my speaking skills. I never thought that it might affect my professional front because it was appropriate as per the Indian aundience. However after giving my IELTS exam I figured out that when it comes to speaking english fluently, especially when you are being jugded I am not good at all. Moreover after communicating with people from various cultures specially who are from U.K at Leeds made me realizes that I had to gear up to work on spoken communication skills.

What did I previously think was true, but now know to be incorrect/ wrong?

 I thought that my spoken language is effiecient enough, however it was not that great when it comes to profeesional level.

What was new or surprising to me? What have I changed my mind about, as a result of this ?

When I was in India I was never hesitant whenever it comes to speak in front of general public or in a classroom whenever there was a discussion on various topics or an event but when it came to do the same when I was being assessed during IELTS and after coming here, I was not confident enough. And was unable to express my view points effectively.

One thing I learned from this?

One should be always ready to learn, and it's never too late.

How do I plan to cope up with it?

 I have already started working on it after becoming a part of Leeds Metropolitan.In order to become better I am trying to speak more frankly while talking to my classmates and trying not to hesitate to ask for help from others. Also Iam trying to include some good vocabulary to my verbal communication that will help me make a mark for me in order to assess my progress.

Also apart from this, I am reading good books, newspaper, magazines etc. that will help me express more effectively in this language with instances. And have started speaking in english even at home so that I feel comfortable while talking to others in public.

Unsent Letter 1

I am wirting this to tell you about a workshop I have recently attended, after which I am able to answere those questions which I use to ask myself, however couldn't get an answer. That was to present in public about a certain topic or case.

… (In the workshop) we had to present about the decision of the group in the end of the day. I was supposed to present as I chose this particular skill for improvement. There were situations while presenting, I was nervous and due to thaat I was hesitant while speaking, knowingly that I need to improve my speaking communication skills as well, I tried to present. Apart from this workshop there has been instances when I found myself tense while pressenting in the class. During other module sessions as well, when ever we had to present something, I could feel the uncertainity in me, whether to present or allow my classmate to do so. I feel that this feeling has become more prominent after coming to U.K. I use to make presentations when I was in India; however mu confidence was not this low. I always wanted to be in a group where there are students who are better then me in presentation skills, so that they can be the one's who can do the talking part, and use to stick to the preparation of the presentation. At the end of every presentation I give I look for feedback from the audience and I try to inculcate their feedback in me for the next time. I also needed to recognise that I am overly tough on myself and that this can then have an impact on my confidence a whole.

Unsent Letter 2

Dear …

A few months ago, I had to appear for my IELTS exam, where I was jugded on 4 different parameters of English language. These paarameters were: listening, reading, speaking and writing. I thought I will be able to perform equally in all of the above metrices but when it came to speaking, I found that not only while answering the question, I was even nervous while communicating with the examiner. Gradually during the session, which lasted for not more than 15 minutes, I did improve as I knew that I have to perform in order to score good bands in that section. Apart from that score part I had other things in my mind as well, which included my friend's reaction if did not score well. I still remember I did a disaster by stopping early in the last question where I was given a scenario, on which few questions were based and in the very last question of that part I was suppose to tell the examiner in brief the reason behind my answer. I was not only nervous I remember I couldn't even say much, I could not express my view points, I was short of content, lacked in confidence on narating her something which I had been doing for years. It was very dissapointing of me. I wanted to ask the examiner for some feedback but couldn't do that due to embarassment. That was when I knew I need to work on this skill, that too hard. And after coming to Leeds this has been confirmed.

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