Cross-Cultural Public Speaking

DSC00032How is it that some people seem to capture and hold an audience so well, sometimes for even the most boring of subjects? While imagining that your listeners are all naked might work for you, there are much better tricks to remember when you want to give a captivating presentation. Keeping these tips in the forefront of your mind will help your speech every time, especially in the special situation where your audience is one of many backgrounds and, as a result, has varying expectations.

Things to remember when speaking publicly. The ultimate goal of your presentation is to share your information in a manner that your audience will understand and remember. To achieve this, it is important to keep your listeners interested in what you are saying so they will be totally absorbed in your words.

  • Make your presentation a story. Everyone loves stories, which are by nature easy to remember. Incorporating a plot with characters and personalities will spice up your speech, especially if it´s related to your place of origin or upbringing in a different culture.
  • Involve your audience. When speaking in front of a room of many cultures, or an audience whose background is different from your own, your words may be interpreted in ways other than you intended. By allowing room for feedback and incorporating the listener, you can measure how your message is being received and thus make appropriate adjustments.
  • Stay genuine. Honesty is one of the most important virtues around the globe. It is a value that consistently cuts through cultural barriers. People are keen on dishonesty and, if they sense even the slightest bit of insincerity, you will lose all credibility and listener interest.
  • Don’t impress. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the fact of the matter is that most people don’t care about your awards and certifications. Carefully choose your words and actions so that you aren’t implying that you are better than your audience in any way. Your listeners will only absorb your words if they feel that they are being respected, not contested.

There isn’t one perfect way to give a good presentation. Ultimately, what will define the success of your presentation is not necessarily how well you gave it. More important is how your audience interprets your message and what they choose to do with it. When all is said and done, the ultimate success of your presentation lies in your audience and the impact that your message has on them.

3 responses

  1. […] to make sure that you are taking the time to do everything you can to get your business noticed. Speaking isn’t always a fun thing, but it’s a great way to grow your business. Keep in mind that […]

  2. Slow Down Even when English is that the common language in a cross cultural scenario, this does not mean you should speak at traditional speed. Abate, speak clearly and ensure your pronunciation is intelligible.Let your listener answer one query at a time. Avoid Negative Questions Many cross cultural communication misunderstandings have been caused by the use of negative questions and answers.In English we tend to answer ‘yes’ if the answer is affirmative and ‘no’ if it’s negative.Check Meanings When communicating across cultures never assume the other party has understood. Be an energetic listener. Summarise what has been said so as to verify it. This is a terribly effective way of ensuring accurate cross cultural communication has taken place. Avoid Slang Even the most well educated foreigner can not have a whole information of slang, idioms and sayings. The danger is that the words will be understood however the that means missed. Watch the humour In many cultures business is taken terribly seriously.

    1. Excellent comments, Zareen. There are many factors that can have either a negative or positive impact on how we communicate across cultures. We certainly can not take them for granted.

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