On Tuesdays, we watch talks or interviews with artists and designers and discuss how to present our work clearly and with confidence. This week we’ll hear from Danish architect Bjarke Ingels about the significance of the Sydney Opera House.

As you watch this interview, consider these questions: Does the artist speak clearly and with confidence? Does he use gestures and intonation to emphasize his points? Does he smile and look at the camera? Does he use professional vocabulary?

What does Ingels do well? He speaks very clearly and is easy to understand. His speed and volume are good, and he uses a lot of vocal variety to emphasize his points. His posture is also good, and he gestures frequently to make his story more engaging. He avoids filler words and speaks with confidence. He also draws us into his story by illustrating the ideas and buildings he’s describing while he talks. This is a very effective technique because it gives us a visual aid – plus it’s fun to watch him draw.

What could he improve? My only suggestion would be to look up at the camera a little more often. He seems very focused on telling his story, which is interesting, but it’s nice to look up regularly at your audience to keep them engaged. 

What professional vocabulary does he use? He begins by describing the Sydney Opera House as the ultimate building because it’s extremely unique and has a landmark location on the waterfront. He also says he thinks it’s the most recognizable building in the world. Next, he describes it as unapologetically modern but says that it also draws on more archaic building types, like Gothic vaults, Chinese pagodas, and Aztec temples. He thinks that the architect draws on this world of fundamental, archetypical (same as archetypal) architecture, and then reinterprets it in a completely unique way.

Next, he describes the incredible misery that the architect, Jørn Utzon, experienced, such as getting fired from the job and going 10 times over budget. Everything was a disaster, but the final result is worth all of the hardship and sacrifice, in his opinion. He shares this story as an example to encourage and inspire all architects who are waiting for their moment or masterpiece (like the Sydney Opera House) to follow their dreams. 

Good storytelling is a skill that can be learned. In addition to helping you choose the best words to describe your work, a good language coach can also help you to learn the art of storytelling and how to use visuals effectively.

At Artglish, we help artists and designers to speak confidently about their work. We coach you to speak professionally using the best vocabulary and correct pronunciation. If you want to learn more, click here to join The Studio and try some free ways to improve your English, or check out our Lessons page to learn how Artglish can help you succeed.

I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To see the original video, posted by the Louisianna Channel on March 13, 2018, click the link below: