In today’s rapidly changing global economy professionals are increasingly challenged to present their organisations products, services and ideas internationally. That presents a brilliant business opportunity for growth of course but there are a number of key communication differences presenters need to be aware of. What works in the UK or the U.S doesn’t necessarily work so well in other cultures, and there and a vast number of nuances wherever you travel to.
At Mindful Presenter we help companies both in the UK and internationally to understand those all important cultural difference so that they can deliver their message with the appropriate impact anywhere in the world.
As you conclude your last minute preparation for your presentation in your hotel thousands of miles away from home here are a few tips to help you make the impact you have travelled so far to make in the morning.
- Slow down
Speaking at your normal pace regardless of the country you are presenting in isn’t very wise. For example, the UK and U.S may prefer a slightly faster pace Asians tend to prefer a slower one allowing them more time to process information.
- Be careful with humour
Whilst you may be funny at home it doesn’t necessarily follow that your sense of humour will be appreciated by other cultures. Be careful and cautious with the level of humour you use in other countries paying the utmost respect for what may or may not work for them just because it works for you.
- Understand that they will respond differently
Different cultures will respond quite differently to your presentation so don’t expect the same response wherever you go.
For example when I worked in Japan, I learned very quickly that it is common for your audience to show their concentration by nodding the heads, which looks as though they are agreeing with you.
It may mean no such thing.
- Get rid of the slang
As much as you may like it yourself using jargon and slang which may work for you at home may be completely lost on your audience. Do you really want them to ‘go the extra mile’ and go for the ‘low hanging fruit’?
- Personal space and eye contact
Eye contact, gestures and movement may also work for you on your home ground but could easily be considered offensive in another country so do your homework first.
- Learn a few words
Learn a few words in the language of the country you are presenting in, at the very least to welcome your audience in their own language.
Let’s be a little more specific and look at a few countries you may be invited to present in.
In the Middle East
Be creative, eloquent and help your audience to use their imagination.
Don’t read from a script or slides
Make good eye contact
Have a clear structure
Avoid being over technical or abstract
Be honest and enthusiastic
Adopt a humble and modest tone
Give them a clear outline
Don’t be ‘loud’
Make it clear how you can help them
Save questions for the end
Don’t give them too many options
Avoid speaking down to them
Don’t be superficial, be specific
Have a logical argument
Let them get to know you
Be well mannered and cultured
Try to speak a little French
Be honest with your opinions
Have an agenda
Don’t try to flatter them
Be an expert
Given them detail
Avoid too many analogies
Quote relevant experts
Use stories, anecdotes and metaphors
Don’t read to them
Give them solid examples
Repeat key messages or important points
Have an open and lively Q&A
Don’t criticize anyone
Not too much theory
Have a loose not rigid structure
Have a clear outline and agenda
Know and understand them – do your homework
Don’t be loud or pushy
In the Netherlands
Be well organised and have a clear structure
Show them something new
Have a sense of humour
Be interesting and interested
Don’t be dull
Avoid too much detail