MSc Economics and Finance
I attended the public speaking workshop because I’d had problems in interviews when I had to do presentations. I completely froze and in the end I didn’t get the jobs I wanted, so I think I need to learn to reflect my thoughts better in front of people. The workshop showed us some exercises to help us, and we had to do some surprise presentations that put us on the spot, but it was good to take some of the fear out of speaking in public. Then I did a follow-up session with the tutor on another presentation. I’d improved slightly and now I know I just need to keep practising in front of friends and family to get some more experience. I’ve learnt the importance of preparing well first, and knowing a list of main points that I want to cover. When I’m planning, I now think about my target audience, how I want to reach them, what I want them to get from my presentation, how I want to come across, and how to influence them to ask me questions that I can answer rather than ones I can’t! I’ve been applying for some more jobs, so I’ll hopefully have some more interviews soon, and I feel a lot more confident about the whole process now. I really recommend the workshops to any other students who will be applying for jobs or needing to speak in front of other people.
Shihfan Jack Tu
1st year PhD Student, Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine
I work in a research team with my supervisor’s other students and I sometimes find communication difficult in meetings and discussions. I feel quite comfortable speaking English, especially compared to other students I’ve studied with at language schools, but sometimes I find that people can’t understand what I’m saying and they ask me to repeat things. I haven’t presented at a conference yet, but this is also something that I’ll need to do over the next few years, so I want to take any opportunities available to practise my pronunciation.
This workshop was a three day course. From the first day I was impressed because I never thought a language course would be like that. The tutor used lots of different ways to make us practise. For example, we focused a lot on rhythm and tempo, almost like singing, so we didn’t need to concentrate on every word but people could understand what we were saying. Like magic! We then tried other skills like connecting words together in sentences. As a non-native speaker, that’s something that really helps us understand what native speakers are talking about. It’s the thing I found hardest when I first arrived in an English-speaking country, so this has really helped me.
1st year PhD student, Physics
I use English when I’m speaking to my supervisor. I sometimes find he can’t understand some of the things I say. Sometimes it’s because of the vocabulary and sometimes because of the grammar, but I have also discovered difficulties using stress in my pronunciation. Sometimes I use the right words but I can’t use the right stress. The workshop helped me to improve stress and the connections between words, and to know more about the British way of speaking. Since the workshop, I think I’m making progress but it’s hard to see results in a short time. I’d like to find other opportunities to practise speaking English with other students. The workshop is just the beginning but I really recommend it to other people, as it was excellent.
Esther Arenas Arroyo
1st year PhD student, Business & Management
I am from Spain and I feel I have a strong Spanish accent. I’ve learnt English for a long time, but I’ve never really been forced to speak much before. I saw this course advertised and I thought it might help me communicate better. The workshop was so helpful and I only wish it had been longer. The tutor showed us a lot of things about stress, intonation, rhythm, and the way words are linked – things that I’d never thought about before. It wasn’t just about the phonetics and things like that. Of course you need to know about these things, but it went much further than this. Afterwards, I found it easier to understand people out on the street, because it helped me get used to things like the way British people link their words together when they speak.