Representative duty

  • Thread starter Joel
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Hello everyone,

Next week I will have to fly to another town, socialize with the hosts, keep a speech and answer questions about our project. I will represent a ministry, speak to immigrants and it is my first representative duty outside college. And I'm starting to get nervous. I can go over my slides, read up on laws, etc. and (hopefully) remember to be my charming self - but what else?

I think I just need a boost. :redface: Thanks!
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Keep people interested? Present the subject matter clearly and simply but also with appropriate depth and rigour. If you're answering questions, its good to anticipate them beforehand too.
Ahh, excellent idea about the questions! There are indeed some areas very likely to be under fire. Thank you! Normally I can keep people interested and speak clearly, but I'll probably have to concentrate extra hard on it, since most immigrants don't know finnish too well. Speaking of which, I should probably also check some of the key terms in english. Thanks again!


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I'm not sure what the talk is all about, but especially since you're talking to immigrants who are likely to not speak the language well, try to keep your sentences simple, and if you can use visual aids, having slides with bullets of the main points would be helpful so if they don't understand what you said, they could read it and maybe understand better that way.

When answering questions from an audience who does not speak the language well, first be prepared to listen extra carefully to understand them, and repeat back the questions before answering them. This will serve two important purposes, 1) to be sure you understood them correctly and are answering the right question, and 2) to ensure everyone else in the audience heard and understood the question. It's hard enough to learn a new language and understand a native speaker of the language, it's even harder to understand another non-native speaker with a different accent from your own when they are speaking that language.

Good luck!
Thanks, Moonbear!

The occasion is aimed to inform immigrant (and ethnic minority) NGO:s about our government's advisory board of ethnic relations and the application procedure needed to become a member in it. The idea of the board is to have representatives of ethnic minorities and government officials sitting at the same table; the immigrants will be able to bring forth their perspective on law-proposals and policy-plans, form contacts with other immigrant NGO:s and bring back information to their own NGO. This spring the board is re-assembled and contrary to previous boards, the minority members will be chosen with a more transparent and quite complicated application procedure - which is why the information events are held.

I've made quite clear slides that I will also give as a handout, along with an application guide (specifying points of my talk), application forms and the law on which the board is based. (I'm hoping the mere amount of papers won't scare them away!) When I discussed the language in my slides with a colleague, she pointed out that if the immigrants (and other ethnic minorities) are to attent meetings in finnish and read finnish law-proposals, they will need fairly good language skills. I'm not sure if quite that much can be expected, but at least in these events I will try to use a simple language and repeat the questions (a very good idea that I didn't think of!).

All in all, I think I know enough about the board and the application procedure, but (along with the communication issue) I'm mostly afraid of the possible tangenting questions. What will they say about gender quotas, what will I say about lunch offers (yes, I've had phone calls!), do they know how to register as an NGO in finland and why it matters what a central government decides, thousands of kilometers from their home?

On the other hand, some may be from well established minorities (like the russians), who will have no trouble comprehending complicated language. Will they be offended or get bored if I don't pace up? I think I need to ask who is present, so I can adjust.

Well, it will be interesting and challenging however it goes and I'm really looking foreword to it. Despite, I've got some good advice and confidence from here.

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