Soft Words

Your slides are ready. Your voice is ready. Now what words will you choose? Your spreadsheets and the articles you photocopied will supply you with good choices of verbs, adjectives, and phrases, but they will not supply you with soft words to smooth the audience's way between slides. They are not in the articles you photocopied for these are words used verbally. In final drafts of published research articles, they are edited out as extraneous language.

But now you need them. You need the very words and phrases you edit out when you write. You need them in your voice, not on your slides. You want some simple words to serve as 'softeners'/'smoothers' as you lead the audience from one slide to the next. Find these words by listening for them at conferences when you hear English speakers present. Figure 1 contains a list of some heard recently at an international conference.

Listen for soft transitions when you hear English speakers at conferences. Choose the ones you like and make a list to add to your spreadsheets.

You might also consider a transitional word or phrase from your language or another language. Anything is superior to 'um uh . . .', 'er ah . . .', 'ummm . . .'. For example,

. . . as you see . . . . . . having said this . . . . . . once again we . . . . . . and, yes, the . . . . . . well . . . . . . for example . . . . . . now to our surprise . . . . . . actually . . . . . . anyhow . . . . . . all right, so . . .

Figure 7.1 Transition Words Used as Softeners 91

you might choose something with a meaning similar to the English words: 'OK . . .', 'and . . .', 'so . . .', 'yes . . .', 'furthermore . . .', or 'next. . .'. Such a word or phrase in your native language could - with profit and no loss of audience understanding - add an ethnic international touch which might delight an audience and add to the pleasure of hearing your presentation.

Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness . ..

- Shakespeare Twelfth Night Act II, scene v

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