3 Presentation Tips for Non-Native English Speakers

The Power of the Pause

A woman making a presentation in front of people in an office

A written cleaning proposal is sometimes not enough. Many customers now expect their cleaning contractors to give oral reports, starting when they first present their proposal and continuing as long as they service the facility. This expectation can cause complications for cleaning contractors who are not fluent in English or speak English as a second language.

The ability to speak before a group of people in English is a necessity, because in today’s globalized world, English is the language of business. “English is required for global collaboration and global work,” says Harvard Business School Associate Professor Tsedal Neely.

Fortunately, it is possible to give a presentation clearly and comfortably, even when you’re not 100% confident in your ability to speak English. Consider the following three tips:

Overlearn Your Presentation

Many contractors spend too much time on the PowerPoint slides and not enough time on rehearing their talk. Practice your presentation three or more times aloud until you are comfortable with how you sound.

Your Accent Does Not Matter

Everyone in the United States has an accent. Most of us can tell immediately if someone is from Texas, Alabama, or New York. But we don’t notice the accent anymore after a couple of minutes. If you have an accent, just realize your audience will be listening to your words, not your accent, in about two minutes.

Slow Down and Pause

People who speak English as a second language often get the most nervous and make the most mistakes when they talk too quickly. Slow down. Speak slowly and carefully. Also, feel free to pause occasionally. This allows you to catch your breath and get a sip of water. Also, pausing before a critical point makes that point more powerful. Every famous speaker is aware of the power of the pause


Ron Segura

Ron Segura

President of Segura Associates

Ron Segura is president of Segura Associates. His company works with large organizations to streamline their cleaning and building operations as well as promote sustainability and healthier cleaning strategies. He can be reached at

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