For any presentation or pitch to land successfully, we have to design and ship it with a superb understanding of who our viewers is and what they care about. Having nice slides, a logical construction and being assured in your supply will not depend for a lot if you’re not speaking about issues that matter to your viewers. Designing and delivering together with your viewers in thoughts is a prerequisite for any presentation.
It may possibly all the time be a problem to grasp the viewers, however what in case your viewers comes from a distinct tradition? How one can perceive their wants and issues and take into consideration how cultural variations play into that?
As we current an increasing number of on-line and to extra numerous teams of colleagues and clients, we have to shift our mindset. We have to know the way to design and ship our shows to audiences with a distinct cultural background.
Begin With A Mindset Of Openness And Curiosity
Researching our viewers helps with any presentation. Along with the standard areas—viewers demographics, wants, hopes, fears, good points and pains—we have to dig deeper into how the viewers tradition varies from our personal.
There are numerous frameworks accessible to grasp how international locations differ in issues like formality, communication model, confrontation or decision-making. Discover a framework that works for you and use it to grasp your tradition and the nation you might be presenting to. I’ve discovered the Culture Map framework developed by Professor Erin Meyer of INSEAD enterprise college to be significantly helpful. Meyer’s framework breaks cultures down into eight dimensions that may be analyzed and mapped out. It’s simple and straightforward to grasp, however most significantly, it was created particularly for worldwide enterprise.
One other approach to be taught extra about one other tradition is to achieve out and ask individuals who have labored with that tradition’s nationals. This works significantly effectively while you give a presentation to an inside viewers. By asking your native colleagues, you’ll higher discover ways to discover widespread floor. Whereas there could also be cultural variations, additionally, you will be talking a shared company language round issues like firm values, mission or clients.
In fact, every viewers, whether or not group or particular person, won’t exactly mirror the cultural fashions for his or her nation, however understanding nationwide cultures give us a place to begin.
And when understanding one other tradition, don’t focus excessively on differences. Studying what cultural similarities there could also be and take into consideration the way to construct on these similarities in your presentation.
Whereas each tradition varies and has its method, some areas are potential landmines. That is very true for individuals who are used to presenting to a North American or English-speaking viewers, which has given us some assumptions about the appropriate approach to craft and provides a presentation.
The next are some areas the place I’ve seen the necessity to shift my method to presentation design and supply, based mostly on the previous decade of presenting throughout cultures and instructing presentation abilities to worldwide M.B.A. college students. Your method will fluctuate based mostly in your viewers and its tradition; these questions will make it easier to get began.
How Does My Presentation Construction Must Change?
Cultures take differing approaches to persuasion. In some locations, like North America, the principle thought, conclusions or suggestions are sometimes made first, after which we get into a proof of causes and help. We first describe the what/how after which get into the why.
In different cultures, we first want to supply all the information and help earlier than attending to the principle level; the why after which what/how. When presenting to a Japanese viewers, who typically choose background and supporting data first, I construction my shows this fashion.
In her ebook The Culture Map, Erin Meyer shares the story of an American engineer who introduced to an viewers of German executives. She started the presentation by explaining the methods she would suggest, planning to supply the help later. Straight away, the viewers began leaping in and asking her to elucidate her methodology and knowledge, displaying skepticism from the beginning. Then Meyer shares the story of a German whose American viewers criticized him for taking too lengthy to get to the principle level after spending time giving background. German audiences typically choose to listen to the background first, whereas People typically like to listen to the conclusion first. In each circumstances, structuring the presentation to match the viewers’s model would have led to higher outcomes.
The bottom line is to search out which method works greatest together with your viewers and construction your presentation accordingly.
What Visuals Will Work, And How A lot Is Too A lot?
When occupied with the colours, textual content and pictures to make use of in your slides, take a step again and take into consideration who they are going to be acquired.
Colour has different meanings in different cultures. In North America, we affiliate purple extra with hazard or ardour, however in lots of components of East Asia, purple is the colour of celebration. However there are subtleties right here too. Writing somebody’s identify in purple in Korea is seen as dangerous luck and an omen of demise. Find out about cultural taboos round colour.
Displays work higher with extra pictures and visuals, however there could also be cultural subtleties or taboos round how a lot to make use of and that are acceptable. As with colour, photographs might have completely different ideas related to them. We might affiliate an owl with knowledge, however an owl is seen as a creature of darkness in lots of cultures.
Watch out round the usage of humorous photographs. Very hierarchical or formal cultures may even see them as unprofessional. Humor may be very contextual, and in cross-cultural communications, it might probably go very incorrect.
Lastly, cultures might have completely different expectations round how busy or sparse a slide ought to be. Typically, we all know that slides shouldn’t be packed stuffed with textual content and graphics, however how a lot is an excessive amount of can fluctuate. In some cultures, a slide with little textual content however massive visuals could also be seen as missing content material or appear to be the designer did not put sufficient effort into it. Right here in Japan, very busy slides are sometimes the norm due to cultural and linguistic expectations around graphic design. Whereas that results in some unreadable slideuments, it means the slides you create might have to be denser than regular.
What’s going to you do in a different way when delivering the presentation?
As soon as you’ve got designed a presentation that accounts for cultural variations, it is now time to ship it in a culturally-appropriate method.
In the event you’re working with a staff, begin by occupied with who will ship the presentation. It will not be the subject material professional; in very hierarchical cultures, essentially the most senior individual could also be anticipated to current. This may be extra crucial when delivering the presentation to somebody larger up within the firm hierarchy.
Watch your speech. Decelerate if the viewers contains less-fluent speakers of the language. Keep away from utilizing colloquialisms or figures of speech that you simply would possibly sometimes use. I as soon as noticed a presentation by an American to a Japanese viewers that referenced “I would like my MTV.” No one understood that.
When delivering in-person or remotely, watch your degree of eye contact and physique language. In South Korea, Japan, Germany and different locations, extended eye contact is seen as aggressive, not as a approach to construct belief. Extreme physique language might come throughout as overly-emotional in cultures that worth restraint.
Extra broadly, take into account how formal or casual to make your supply, based mostly on the expectations of the tradition round hierarchy. Presenting formally might come off as chilly to the Dutch or different egalitarian cultures which welcome familiarity.
Do I Want To Alter The Degree Of Interactivity?
Lastly, take into account the way to stability your presentation between dialogue and lecture. Cultures might have a tendency extra in direction of anticipating certainly one of these extremes, so there will probably be variation in the place the emphasis lies. When interacting, consider the significance of hierarchy and ritual.
Questions are an effective way to make a presentation interactive. Along with how a lot Q&A is anticipated, the position of the Q&A session might differ throughout cultures. In France, Spain, Israel or Russia, a excessive degree of debate and dialogue is inspired. In additional hierarchal or consensus-driven company cultures, getting a scarcity of questions or dialogue doesn’t point out a scarcity of curiosity in your content material. It could replicate a bent to not rock the boat or seem to disagree publicly. The questions might come later, in a much less public setting.
Simply as with all viewers out of your tradition, the small print will fluctuate, and every scenario will probably be completely different when presenting throughout cultures. However by taking the time to grasp the tradition of your viewers, you’ll ship a greater presentation with higher outcomes for you and your viewers.