I once worked with a CEO who started every presentation very seriously. It was all numbers and technical jargon. His people looked dazed. They checked their phones. They weren't listening. And they certainly weren't inspired. After one of these talks, I told him to share his passion for his company's products and we were able to craft an opening story that connected his business to his living abroad with his family. By leading with a personal story, he came alive on stage. And kept his audience engaged.
Little strategies like this can make all the difference in connecting with your audience and ensuring they receive your message--even if they're from vastly different backgrounds.
Here are 5 strategies for acing your next global presentation:
Share a story.
Bring in family and personal experiences that show what you care about and what values you have. This helps humanize you and connect you with the audience. It's even better if you can discuss scary or surprising details you were able to overcome. These tales are not only interesting; they can be inspiring to your audience.
Find out about the room.
Learn who your audience is and what they expect. What are they thinking about? What have they been listening to before? What's the theme of the conference or event itself? Introduce yourself beforehand and have some pre-presentation conversations.
Ever been to a show or concert and the entertainer talks about their experience in your town? Doing this helps form a common bond between you and your audience. Use local current events, relevant situations or references your global audience knows or understands in your talk. This shows you've read up on their country's habits or customs and that you care.
Slow it down.
Talk slowly and clearly. Practice, practice, practice, to make sure you don't speed up and rush through your talk. If they can't understand you, they certainly won't be listening. Also, don't use slang or euphemisms. They may not translate.
End your talk with an action such as a takeaway or leave behind. Some speakers raffle off an iPad or give away a copy of their book. One colleague of mine puts stuffed animals related to her subject matter under the chairs of everyone in the audience. And, be sure to allow for Q and A, or time to connect with those in the audience.
A lot of people would rather do something like get a root canal than speak in public. But a great talk can be a powerful thing. Don't let fear get in your way of rocking your next global presentation.