Such were the words of Lee Iacocca, the man who was instrumental in the introduction of several successful Ford car models. Through this article, we will briefly discuss a few tips that can help you to successfully get your ideas across to a global audience.
1. Deliver a message that is simple, clear, and persuasive.
The structure of your message should be tailored to your audience as it determines whether they will tune in or tune out during your presentation. Regarding the art of persuasion, “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer mentioned that many individuals from European cultures like France and Italy tend to start their presentation with a brief overview, such as through an executive summary that introduces the topic of discussion, and then develop the material by bringing in relevant data and addressing concerns. Audiences from the United States or Canada, however, prefer to receive key points or practical solutions upfront – perhaps through case studies and real-life examples – and develop a conclusion or next course of action. The typical Asian approach to persuasion, on the other hand, is slightly more complex than Western cultures. Most Asian cultures appreciate an introduction that includes background information of what is being discussed, before moving on to important points and arriving at a conclusion. In simpler terms, Asian cultures generally prefer to consider the big picture before moving on to the detailed information.
2. Build credibility using facts, statistics, or data, and inject storytelling to enhance the relevance of such information.
Storytelling is the most powerful means for you to connect with your audience. Turning pages of data into entertaining stories that captivate, educate, and motivate your audience will enable them to visualize an intended outcome and remember key information better. Spend time to get to know some of your audience and the cultures they come from. Share stories that they can identify with, particularly those that relate to their own culture, experiences, and interests. You may also want to cite reliable sources to back up your research, especially when speaking to individuals from many European cultures, who generally value data more than Asian cultures. When speaking to face oriented cultures such as many found in Asia, pay attention to the way you present any data or information that might cause them to lose ‘face.’ Lastly, when addressing a global audience, be careful not to give them the impression that you value one country or culture above the other.
3. Convey the same message through your materials, body language, expressions, and voice.
Develop powerful visual aids that are simple and concise. An appealing visual aid should focus on key points that are of interest to your audience rather than detailed information that clutters the screen. Use appropriate body language to emphasize your points and convey your confidence and enthusiasm to your listeners. Be informed, however, that body language works in different ways across cultures. For example, while audience from most Western cultures appreciate a presenter who smiles and maintains healthy eye contact, the opposite can be true in some Asian cultures such as Thailand, where averting one’s gaze is often viewed as a sign of respect and subordination. Speak with clarity by enunciating properly rather than rushing through your materials, especially when addressing audiences who do not share a common first language as you.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to bridging the cultural gap with a global audience, gaining Cultural Intelligence (CQ) will help you to develop the right strategy and place you in a better position to motivate and persuade them to action. Tailoring your presentation to the needs, priorities, and values – the culture – of your audience will also help them see your commitment, adaptability, and interest in them.
We also offer culture-specific courses that can help you bridge the cultural gap with a culture or country of your choice. Speak to us or head over to our page at Global Presentation Skills Programs to see how developing CQ can add value to your presentations and help you to become an effective global presenter!
By: Boleh Blogger