Many of my clients present internally and at conferences around the world. I’m often asked for my top tips on presenting to overseas audiences, it’s crucial to consider cultural nuances and preferences to ensure effective communication. Here are some presentation tips tailored for presenting to overseas audiences:
1. Respect Hierarchy and Authority: Many cultures often place a strong emphasis on hierarchy and respect for authority figures. Address senior members of the audience first and use appropriate titles and honourifics when addressing them.
2. Build Relationships: Building rapport and establishing trust are essential in many cultures. Talk to anyone you can about what the people in the audience will be like so you don’t get a surprise. Meet them all before and take time to engage in small talk and establish a personal connection before diving into your presentation. Create warmth. Showing genuine interest in the audience’s background or culture can go a long way.
If you’ve completed my Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass or read my best-selling book called How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting live and online (Wiley) you’ll know there are 6 critical steps in the first 3-4 minutes. Make sure you do all of them!
3. Use Visual Aids: Visual aids such as slides or charts can help reinforce your message and make complex information easier to understand. If English is not strong in the audience then more words in big fonts on your slides will help people to follow you. Don’t be scared of more text than you’d usually use. However, be mindful of cluttered slides or overly flashy graphics, as simplicity is often preferred.
4. Speak Clearly and Slowly: Many overseas audiences may not have English as their first language, so it’s important to speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Avoid using slang or idiomatic expressions that may be difficult to understand.
And if you have a translator remember to pause a lot so that they can hear what you are saying, then translate it in a relaxed way for the audience.
5. Encourage Participation: In some cultures, audience members may be more reserved or hesitant to speak up. Encourage participation by asking open-ended questions, inviting feedback, or using interactive activities to engage the audience. You may also choose to put reserved signs on the back chairs to ensure people sit in the front rows. Otherwise culturally, you may find the first 6 rows of your meeting will be empty – this can look like it wasn’t worth attending!
6. Show Respect for Time: Punctuality is highly valued in many cultures, so be sure to start and end your presentation on time. Avoid going over your allotted time unless specifically requested to do so.
7. Be Mindful of Body Language: Body language can convey different meanings in different cultures. Avoid excessive gesturing. Don’t point. And be mindful that your posture and facial expressions convey confidence and respect.
8. Adapt Content Appropriately: Tailor your content to resonate with the values and priorities of your audience. Refer to things they find important. Highlight benefits, practical applications, and long-term implications for them.
9. Show Humility and Modesty: In many cultures, humility and modesty are valued traits. Avoid excessive self-promotion or boasting, and instead focus on presenting your ideas in a humble and respectful manner.
10. Follow Up with Courtesy: After your presentation, consider following up with a thank-you email or note to express gratitude for the opportunity to present. This gesture of courtesy can help strengthen relationships and leave a positive impression on your audience.
An extra courteous act is to provide a written version of your presentation: blog, white paper so that if something wasn’t clear, the audience can follow up by reading your document in their own time.
By incorporating these presentation tips, you can effectively engage and connect with overseas audiences, ultimately enhancing the impact of your message and fostering positive relationships.
©2024 MICHELLE BOWDEN is an authority on persuasive presenting in business. She’s run her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass over 995 times for more than 13,000 people over the past 25 years and her name is a synonym for ‘presentation skills’ in Australia. She’s a multi-million-dollar pitch coach to her client list that reads like a who’s who of international business: banking and finance, IT, pharmaceutical, retail, telecommunications plus many more. Michelle is the creator of the Persuasion Smart Profile®, a world-first psychological assessment tool that reports on your persuasive strengths and weaknesses at work, the best-selling internationally published author of How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting live and online (Wiley) and her new book is called How to Persuade: the skills you need to get what you want (Wiley). Visit www.michellebowden.com.au