I have recently attended a very interesting talk by someone whose family has been in the world of entertainment for generations. The talk was about life in the industry during the war years. She was clear, confident and answered questions very well, using a computer presentation, which allowed for pictures and bullet points etc. It was very good, except for one thing – spelling.
You do not have speak with a posh accent, just speak clearly and enunciate well – sound the ends of your words so they do not become muddled. A local accent is even beneficial for an audience used to it. You do not have to be highly educated and some people who are highly qualified in one subject are hopeless at English. However, what is written up for all to see is a different matter and wrong spelling and grammar really does look bad on a screen or a board, causing sniggers from some people, even if they try to stop themselves.
When putting words on the screen, make sure they are proof-read. It does not matter for your own notes, as long as you know what you mean, but it is embarrassing for your audience if there are glaring mistakes in front of them.
I had intended writing here that you must use the spell and grammar check on the computer but I have just discovered that, once you start putting bullet points in, it does not do the job. This being the case, I suggest that you should get someone you know to be better at English than you are to proof read what goes on the computer presentation or what you intend putting on the board. (I am also finding it infuriating that the spell and grammar check doesn’t work on this blog and I am always finding little errors days later that I have to edit. If you find any, please let me know!)
In this recent case, the speaker put bullet points up, one of which was Boosting Morale – or rather – that is what she intended to say. In fact she had Boosting Morel. A morel is a mushroom and, as far as I am aware, the best way to boost it is to put leaf-mold around it. This is not what she meant but it was such a difference from the intended word that I felt sorry for her and debated whether I should tactfully and privately point it out, before someone laughs out loud at the mistake – but I chickened out.
It might sound fussy but it is worth checking your spelling and grammar or you could regret it.