Audiences around the world are all different. Cultural, social and religious
differences impact on how people learn, take in information and interact
After delivering 3 presentations to 1,200 Managers and Franchisees from the
largest fast food company in the Philippines, these are my thoughts on how
to make an impact with culturally diverse audiences.
This is the result of extensive feedback and practical knowledge of what
works and what doesn’t after delivering business presentations throughout
Here are 10 Tips on Delivering Better Business Presentations to Asian
1. Do Your Research. Find out as much as you can about the country and
organisation you are working with. Read guidebooks, travel magazines,
search the Internet and use the local media to gain as much knowledge as you
can about the cultural background and history of the people you are working
2. Use local language and key phrases as an icebreaker, welcome or to
highlight important points. Modify the content of your presentation to
account for local differences. For example, in my work in the Philippines I
used a range of local ‘Tagalog’ (one of the two official languages) words in
both my welcome and presentation to make points and this went down really
well. Former US President JFK used “Ich bin ein Berliner” to great effect in
Germany during one of his speeches.
3. Use local examples. Nothing goes down better when trying to explain a new
concept than using a local example. This will make your presentation more
4. Get to know the audience. It is most likely you will be a foreigner and
many in the audience may not know you very well at all. Meet as many people
personally before the presentation as possible. When presenting let the
audience warm up to you before throwing questions at them. I’ve noticed
light-hearted bantering with the audience at the beginning of a presentation
5. Speak slowly and clearly. For many Asians, English is not their first
language. Speak with less of an accent and present more slowly than you
would with an Australian audience.
6. Use of Visual Aids. Again, because of language barriers back-up your
verbal message with clear and easy to understand visual aids.
7. Use Humour. This tried and true method works across cultural boundaries.
Use universal humour and avoid material that is country specific and not
relevant. Never ever use inappropriate humour in any situation.
8. Physically involve the audience. Most audiences, no matter what cultural
background, tend to switch off after 20 minutes of information from the
presenter. Use a physical activity or interaction to keep the audience awake
and alert. One word of warning though, don’t try this at the beginning when
they haven’t got to know you.
9. Cut out some content. You will be speaking more slowly and spending time
getting to know the audience and interacting with them. This will take time
and you will need to cut out some content. Otherwise the presentation will
be rushed. I find with most presenters, nearly all put too much content in
10. Evaluate, review and continually improve. I never stop learning.
Every time I speak in front of an audience, I always learn something new.
Presenting to audiences outside of your comfort zone is always a challenge.
Be prepared to learn, improve and be a better presenter.
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