Here is a fantastic example that shows that even when English is not your native language, when you have a strong ‘foreign’ accent when using English, if you compliment your slides with what you are saying it really does not matter how clear you are at speaking English.
Jacek Utko, a Polish newspaper designer spoke at TED (Technology Education Design) recently. His talk was only 6 minutes long, but he was able to convey his message with passion, flow and seamlessness. Because Jacek was able to synchronise his words with his slides it was very easy to forget that he was speaking with a foreign accent.
I do accept that Jacek’s English is very good, my point is that his accent could easily distract an audience of native English speakers. However, Jacek’s ability to synchronise his words to his slides enabled him to make his words clear and sharp.
But one of the best things about this little presentation is the story. Jacek started his story off with a question about the future of newspapers, the answer, if any, was that the newspaper was doomed. However, he then went on to describe a solution. He was able to show some examples and even gave the statistics that proved that by designing beautiful newspapers there is a way that newspapers could saved.
This is a very good demonstration of a man who does not speak English as a native speaker, yet has the confidence to stand up on a stage and speak to 2000 people in a foreign language and deliver a presentation that is 100 times better than most native English speakers could do.
Remember Jacek’s final words?
“To be good is not enough”
That’s a good lesson we can all learn.