Top tips for presenting to an international audience

If you have moved abroad for work, or are planning on undertaking some international business projects, you may be required to present or pitch to people from a different culture.

Partaking in presentations to your new, culturally diverse, business associates may be quite daunting as you are bound to encounter cultural differences in communication.

Issues in intercultural communication can be more wide spread then the obvious language barriers. Presenting to a different culture may also be difficult due to unfamiliar customs.

We have put together a few tips to help you best plan for presenting to an international audience.

Training

To become successful at cross cultural communication, you must first understand the customs of the people you are presenting to.

Cross cultural training will help you identify and practice ways to best respect the different customs, beliefs and behaviours of your new audience, enabling you to hone your cultural intelligence and give you the tools needed to present clearly and effectively to a cross cultural audience.

Pace yourself and pause

If you are presenting to an audience in their second or even third language, it is best to take things slowly. Some speakers fear that this will patronise their audience, but this is rarely the case. It gives them time to understand and digest what you are saying and makes your presentation clear and precise.

Pay attention to body language and facial expressions

By observing the reactions of your audience, in both facial expressions and body language, you will be able to identify how well your presentation is being received.

If you feel as though something isn’t working as you had planned, try something different, you may need to slow down or explain a point in a different way.

You must remember that there are many cultural differences in communication, including the way people listen and respond. People from some cultures consider it rude to say that they don’t understand, and will therefore sit through your presentation with a blank expression, so be sure to observe your audience and address them where necessary.

Also, remember to enjoy your presentation! This will affect your overall performance as an audience always responds best to a presenter who is visibly enjoying themselves. This, coupled with our other tips, should allow you to enter your cross cultural presentation with comfort and confidence.

2 thoughts on “Top tips for presenting to an international audience

    • Hi Wilhelmina,

      Thanks for the comment and the good advice about being aware of what you’re wearing – it’s a very good point!

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