How to Speak to International Audience – Part 2

Do not data dump

Now we will discuss the number one tip to speak successfully to a foreign, as well as a domestic audience. It will help if you have something interesting to say memorably. The universal problem with presentations and talks is that people deliver speeches as a data dump. For example, they will say “This is what we did last year.” “This is what our company does.” Here are many bullet points”. These are tedious. The most critical parameter on which you can judge yourself as a good speaker in front of a foreign or domestic audience is what people remember from your speech.

Many business executives are not very good according to this parameter. They may look polished, have the proper posture, and dressed perfectly. Still, if you move around the audience after the presentation and ask them what they remember or ask about the speaker’s main points, in most cases, people do not remember much of what the speaker said! They may say that the speaker seemed very professional and intelligent, but they don’t remember what he said. This is not good communication but only time-wasting and space-taking, going with the flow and doing what everyone is doing. If you tackle the language problem and give a boring speech, you will not reach your goal.

Highlight your main concepts

Narrow your speech to a handful of main points. Generally, audiences across the globe can remember a maximum of up to five main points of what the speaker said. They commonly remember one, occasionally two or three, and rarely four to five points of the talk but not more than that. If you succeed in making your audience, remember five points from your talk, you will be widely successful and can be one of the best speakers.

Include a story

It will help if you told a story in your talk. The story may involve a real conversation you had with a person, who may be a client or college, a customer, a patient, or a family member, about a real problem. Great communicators consistently illustrate critical points with the help of stories. Awful speakers avoid stories because they have no time and have a lot of data to present, which becomes tedious for the audience. Make sure your stories do not involve cultural references and involve concepts people can relate to across the globe.

Work in the room

After finishing the speech and receiving polite applause, it is still not over. Don’t rush out of the room immediately. Don’t leave the conference as soon as possible. Instead, you must work the room if you want to communicate your ideas. Stay in the room for a while because people may want you to ask questions. Some people may feel more comfortable talking to you one on one. That may be the moment where you connect with the people. By answering their questions you can create a more personal bond. People will trust you more like you and give you higher evaluations. Meet as many people as possible. Shake hands, be friendly, ask them questions and let them ask you questions because you still have the opportunity to communicate. You are still in the spotlight, and for that particular room, you are the most prominent celebrity there, so enjoy your celebrity status until it lasts. Try to make the most out of the speaking engagement.

Practice on video

An essential thing you can do to be prepared to speak to any foreign audience is to rehearse your video presentation. It does not do any good to practice only once. Record and watch your video and analyze, taking careful notes, what you like and dislike about the video. Work on the things you did not like one by one and keep practicing and recording until you record the video you think is the perfect presentation you’d like to give to your audience. Most people find it difficult or are simply hesitant to record their videos and watch them repeatedly, but it is the tip that will prove the best preparation for the final day. Your audience will have to listen to you; it is better to listen to yourself before them and fix all the deficiencies you spot by looking at your video yourself.

It will be ideal if you do this rehearsal a week before and then send the video to the organizer of the event to get some feedback about it. This person can even share it with 3 or 4 audience members to get the feedback and know if you are missing something the audience is expecting from you based on your position and expertise. Sometimes, you may be too close to it, and you did not dive into what the audience wanted to hear. You can also ask whether you are conveying the ideas you want to in front of the audience in an effective way and if they remember your message. Sharing your video with the organizer may prove extraordinarily helpful if you get the correct response and feedback and prepare according to it. It takes a little planning and preparation, but if you are traveling a long way to deliver a presentation it’s worth it.


It is not that hard to talk to a foreign audience, so do not set too low goals to just go through the presentation. Take care of the ideas you care about the most and make sure your audience understands, remembers them, and takes action accordingly. Do not lose sight of your goal; other things are relatively simple, including talking to the translater in advance, striping the cultural reference points, and news stories and analogies expressing human experience everywhere. Stay in the room after ending your talk for a while so that people can interact with you. Practice your speech on video. Get to the point where you like it. Send it to someone in the place where you are going to deliver it to get an idea of how the people in that place will understand it outside of your own immediate culture.

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