Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

Read and write messages for me!

 About Me
 World News
 ICQ Chat
 Contact Me





Now Watch TV Online for free with my new site -

Click Here to return to the previous page


Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Oral English (Speaking Lessons) from Hunan University of Science and Technology...



ORAL ENGLISH: Review of Semester One


Making Small Talk

Presentation Skills

Persuasive Speaking

Expressing Opinions

Small Talk:

  • What is Small Talk? - Small talk is a casual form of conversation that "breaks the ice" or fills an awkward silence between people.

  • WHO makes Small Talk? - The most common type of small talk is between people who do not know each other, or only know each other a little.

  • WHY do people make Small Talk? - There are a few different reasons why people use small talk. The first, and most obvious, is to break an uncomfortable silence. Another reason, however, is simply to fill time. That is why it is so common to make small talk when you are waiting for something. Some people make small talk in order to be polite.

  • WHAT do people make Small Talk about? - There are certain "safe" topics that people usually make small talk about. The weather is probably the number one thing that people who do not know each other well discuss.

  • WHERE do people make Small Talk? - People make small talk just about anywhere, but there are certain places where it is very common. Most often, small talk occurs in places where people are waiting for something or when people are at social events (e.g. at a party).

Presentation Skills:

  • Practice Your Presentation - Practice your presentation, this will give you confidence. Don't practice too much or the presentation will seem false.

  • Introduce Yourself - Always introduce yourself and your subject / topic first.

  • Timing - If you have a time limit then keep to it. Leave enough time for questions.

  • Body Language - Stand or sit properly, don't cross your arms. Remember to smile and make eye contact with your audience.

  • Pronunciation - Pronounce each word carefully, avoiding slang. Don't say "you know" etc.

  • Pitch & Volume - Avoid speaking in monotone. Speak loudly and clearly.

  • Speed - The speed (pace) is important. Pause when you want to emphasize a word.

  • Variance - Try to change your pitch, volume, speed and tone.

  • Thanks - At the end of your presentation, thank your audience for their time.

Persuasive Speaking

  • Sometimes we have to use skills to convince others about our positions, this is called persuasion.

  • In English we need to remember that how we say something and how we present ourselves are just as important as what we say.

  • Use positive words such as "will" and "must", not "might" or "maybe".

  • Emotion - You and your voice must match the tone of the words.

  • The speed, or pace, is important for a persuasive speech (140-160 words per minute).

How to be More Persuasive:

There are 3 Ways to Persuade Someone:
· Emotional Reasons / Arguments
· Ethical Reasons / Arguments
· Logical Reasons / Arguments

Persuasive Techniques:
· Repetition (repeat many times)
· Restatement (repeat the idea, in another way)
· Parallelism (rhythmic repetition of a key word)
· Announcement (precede important points with a statement)

Non Verbal Strategies:
· Gestures
· Eye Contact
· Facial Expressions
· Appropriate Clothing

Expressing Opinions:

FACTS - According to the dictionary, a fact is "anything that is done or happens; anything actually existent; any statement strictly true; truth; reality."

Examples of fact:
1.The house was painted on November 18, 1999.
2.Today is Saturday.
3.The temperature was twenty-two degrees this morning.

OPINIONS - An opinion is defined as "indicating a belief, view, sentiment, conception." Obvious indicators of opinion are when sentences include words such as: "Generally, it is thought…" / "I believe that…"

Facts can be changed to opinions by adding a belief or view, for example:
"The house was painted recently on November 18, 1999, so it looks beautiful."

I think..., In my opinion..., I'd like to..., I'd rather..., I'd prefer..., The way I see it..., As far as I'm concerned..., If it were up to me..., I suppose..., I suspect that..., I'm pretty sure that..., It is fairly certain that..., I'm convinced that..., I honestly feel that, I strongly believe that..., Without a doubt,...,

I don't think that..., Don't you think it would be better..., I don't agree, I'd prefer..., Shouldn't we consider..., But what about..., I'm afraid I don't agree..., Frankly, I doubt if..., Let's face it, The truth of the matter is..., The problem with your point of view is that...

Click Here to Return to Top of Page