English Corner – Making Sure to Edit You ...

English Corner – Making Sure to Edit Your Presentations

Nov 21, 2023

“Getting peer edits or a peer review of the written part of the presentation will set you apart in a good way.”

Nothing takes away from a good presentation more than careless and recurring spelling and grammar errors that are noticeable to the audience. You could have an excellent looking PowerPoint with supporting details, crisp bullet points, and a stylish design, but if it is filled with English spelling and grammar errors, it will be a distraction from the overall presentation. As an English as a Second Language instructor, it is one of the first things I notice from a presentation, and it is an issue that I believe must be resolved before you present in front of an audience.

The presenter’s speaking ability, their cadence, tone, voice intonation, etc. are all key to having a good presentation but is not everything to its overall success. You have to remember the little details in a presentation and that includes making sure to edit and review your presentation as a non-native English speaker and learner. I am not singling out non-native English language learners alone because I have noticed grammar and spelling errors even from native English speakers due to being careless about it.

When you are learning English for professional purposes, it does no good for you to be careless about an important presentation. When you are just going through the motions of drafting up your presentation slides, it can be easy to just copy, paste, and hope that people understand your writing. People will not point these errors out to you after the presentation itself, but they will be taking note of the errors in the presentation, and it will be distracting them as they review what you presented on and how they feel about the subject matter itself.

In my view, it does show a lack of care and concern for your presentation when you don’t check for errors, review your spelling, or edit the grammar if necessary to make sure the written part of it is as good or if not to be better than what you verbally presented on. Depending on the type of professional English language presentation you are given, these kind of spelling, grammar, or written errors could hurt your ability to sell a product, to convince a business to partner with you, or to get the audience to agree with your thesis or your conclusion. When you put all your efforts into your 5-10-15 minute presentation in terms of your spoken English but neglect the hour or so needed to edit the PowerPoint slides for the visual aspect of it, the whole presentation will be setback as a result.

Do not let your presentation be derailed due to a few careless errors that could have been revised with just a few minutes of review and revisions. Your spoken part of the presentation is likely to be more intense, stressful, and time-consuming. However, it does not mean you should neglect the ability to write about what you’re presenting and to do so with as good of written English that you can muster. You are doing a disservice to your audience if you do not edit your written presentation whether they are notes, slides, or another form of written output that they will have to understand and digest.

If you are not comfortable with editing your presentation before you give it, be sure to check with your colleagues if they also know written English at the same level or higher than you, especially if they are advanced learners or it is their native language. Getting peer edits or a peer review of the written part of the presentation will set you apart in a good way. It shows that you care about all aspects of your presentation and are not self-conscious about your writing as a non-native English learner.

The peer editor will assist you immensely especially if you take the time to sit with them ahead of the presentation to review your errors, fix them together, and understand how you made them in the first place. The point of these professional presentations beyond just business or personal growth is to make you a better English speaker and writer. You can fix as many mistakes as necessary but if you are not learning from them for future presentations, you will continue to make them for future presentations much to your own professional detriment.

Getting your presentation reviewed by a peer or colleague you trust will help you immensely in various ways. It will help build your confidence, help you become a better writer by understanding the mistakes that were made, and even help you with networking purposes since you will be building a good relationship with your peer editor or reviewer in your field of study or work.

A presentation has two components usually: the written word and the spoken word. There may be an audio or a visual component but in professional English, the key parts that must be mastered in giving a presentation are to speak eloquently and with a concise and understandable tone, and for the written part, is to not make serious spelling, grammar, and other errors that are easily avoided with editing your presentations beforehand.

Please make sure to review and edit your written slides or notes before you present them to an audience in a professional or academic setting. If you need to get a peer to edit or review your written presentation, you should be doing that before you get on the stage or in front of the podium. You will become more respected and admired for your abilities to present in English as your 2nd or 3rd language when you put the necessary efforts in beforehand to master the art of speaking in front of an audience and having your written work presented without major errors or mistakes. The English language is not an easy language to master, especially when it comes to using it for professional purposes, but you will become that much more of an advanced learner if you are able to write and speak in front of an audience on a serious topic or subject matter so others in your professional field will appreciate and recognize your hard work and efforts.

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