Natsuyo Lipschutz presenting to a cross-cultural audience in front of national flags

Every leader and public speaker wants to connect with their audience. Because without some kind of connection, it would be impossible to get your audience to act upon your message.  But what happens when your audience is culturally diverse? How do you make sure that your message is being received in the way that you intended? In this blog post, I’ll be sharing some invaluable tips for connecting with a cross-cultural audience so you can apply them for your next public speaking presentation – wherever you are in the world. 


Wherever you are in the world, it’s important to remember that your audience is made up of individuals from different cultures who may have different ways of communication. In order to connect with your cross-cultural audience, you need to be aware of these differences and adjust your communication style accordingly. 


Here are some tips for connecting successfully with a cross-cultural audience:


  1. Be aware of cultural differences in communication styles


Different cultures have different ways of communication. For example, in some cultures, it is more common to use direct eye contact when speaking, while in others, averting one’s gaze is considered more respectful. 


Body language can also mean different things in different cultures. Do some research and learn differences in non-verbal messages. The last thing you want as a speaker is to send a wrong message unintentionally with your body language.


You can go to YouTube, and search for videos by putting keywords like “country”, body language”. 

In some countries, colors also have some special meaning, so be mindful about what color you are wearing. 


In order to connect with your audience, you need to be aware of these differences, understand who your audience is and adjust your communication style accordingly. 


  1. Avoid using jargon or slang that could be misunderstood


Jargon that may be familiar to you, can be confusing to those who don’t share the same first language.  Keep your use of language as simple as possible. Use storytelling so that your One BIG Message® can be easily understood.  It also means speaking at a pace that is easy for people from all cultures to follow. 


  1. Use visual aids to help explain concepts


People will remember visual references from your presentation. They could be anything from a small prop or accessory that’s easy for you to carry on and off stage. I use different glasses to make the point about how our different values influence the way in which we see the world. 




  1. Repeat key points in different ways or using different words to ensure understanding


When you’re public speaking, it’s important to make sure your audience not only hears your One BIG Message®, but also acts upon it. One way to do this is to repeat it in different ways or expressions. Another way is to use storytelling so that your audience has a narrative to follow that builds connection and relatability. 


  1. Be flexible and adaptable to the needs of your audience


No two audiences are the same, so it’s important to be flexible and adaptable when public speaking. If you have a presentation or speech that’s worked really well for you in the past, don’t assume that you can just regurgitate it to an audience who are made up of different cultures. Understanding your audience is key, so even though your One BIG Message® can stay the same, you may need to adapt it to their needs in order to build a connection between you and the audience. 


By following these tips, you can adapt your public speaking style to connect with a cross-cultural audience and ensure that your message is being received loud and clear. 


If you would like to improve your cross-cultural communication skills, enrol on my online course “The Art of Persuasive Speaking in Global Business.” It gives you an easy step-by-step strategy to support you through the process of creating a powerful and unforgettable presentation whoever your audience is, and wherever you are in the world.



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