Speak from the heart

Are you going to take an English speaking exam like the CAE or the IELTS or perhaps you have to give a presentation in English to visiting clients or potential customers?

Whatever the situation, when you speak under stress it is easy to forget why you are speaking.

Speaking only has meaning when you have something to say that is important for you and that you can make relevant to the people listening.

The most useful link with the people listening to you is your humanity. The fact that you are deeply human is what gives you connection to any other human being, whatever their interest, occupation or intellectual standing.

Some things we all have in common - doubt, laughter, fear, joy, enthusiasm, pain and disappointment and all the emotions that every single human experiences at one time or another. So, if you want to connect with others, speak from the heart, the seat of your emotions.

What does this mean concretely? When you talk about a subject, talk about what moves you, what inspires you and what you feel strongly about. Connect to that feeling as you speak. Perhaps it is a memory, or a discovery, or simply a strong belief or value. This is what makes speaking powerful.

One way of doing this is to picture yourself in the situation that you are describing. If the examiner says, ‘Do you prefer studying alone or with friends?” picture yourself in these two situations and connect with how you feel. Then simply describe what it is like for you in each situation. Speak from the heart.

If you are describing pictures in which people are being creative and you have to say how it is important to be creative in these situations, imagine yourself in their place. What does it feel like? What might be difficult? Then you will have plenty to say!

If you are presenting a project to a customer and you are proud and convinced that it will really help them, feel that as you speak. Picture the customer in the new improved situation, thanks to your project. Imagine their joy and enthusiasm as they see the results. Feel the difference that it will make for them. Speak from the heart.


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