Last week I was talking to a friend about his presentations, and I asked him what’s the next thing he’d like to work on to improve his talk.

“I think it’s my grammar. I need better grammar”, he said. English is not his first language.

“Better grammar to speak? But I can understand you just fine.”, I said.

He shook his head, he told the story of him nervously presenting his dissertation in front of his supervisors, and how much anxiety it caused him.

“Why grammar?”

He said he wanted to articulate himself better. Focusing on grammar allows him to do that.

 

“Really?”

 

Yesterday I had a Swedish lesson. I’ve tried so many times to learn it and I constantly failed. In the past, I’ve asked the teachers to focus more on grammar. I need to know that I’m saying the right things.

I don’t want to be misunderstood. I hate being misunderstood.

When people ask me how long I’ve been in Sweden, I either said four months or four years. It depends.

With this new teacher, I told her that I want to listen and speak, no need for much grammar lessons. I just want to speak Swedish in a safe environment, so I would speak knowing that I would be misunderstood.

 

Grammar is tricky, grammar is hard to master, but don’t let that distract you from working on your actual presentation.

Going through your own presentation, polishing the stories and structuring your thoughts is tougher. Because then you have to fix your own logic, your own mind.

And there are no rules of grammar to help guide you. You have to make those rules yourself.

And if you don’t fix it, your presentation won’t make sense to others, since it doesn’t make sense to you.

 

Don’t get distracted. It’s not grammar, my friend.