While researching ways to present corporate instructional videos to a global audience, I found a dry well. There were a lot of resources teaching non-native English speakers how to present before a western audience, but the ones for the opposite situation were few and far between. We native speakers don’t get an easy pass just because English is our first language. With the Internet, everyone lives in a multicultural world, and when working with clients across the globe, you want to keep a few things in mind to make sure everything is communicated clearly. These tips will have you confidently and effectively presenting to a multicultural audience at your next international event.
Speak clearly and slowly
Whether you’re giving a video presentation, speaking over conference call or instructing a crowd on stage, you certainly don’t want a breakdown in communication. When familiar with the topic at hand, it can become really easy to increase the pace of your speech. This could be because you’re nervous and just want to get it over with, or you’re confident – you know a lot and you’re excited to show off that beautiful brain. But speaking too quickly makes it hard for others to understand you – especially those who may not speak your Mother Tongue. You certainly want to be prepared for your presentation, but don’t let your cue cards be a crutch for poor speech. Practice speaking at a slower pace in order to enunciate properly.
Repeat key terms and messages where necessary
The English language is a smorgasbord of words from a variety of cultures, and you’re bound to come across many different terms for the same idea. But now isn’t the time to flex your thesaurus. Don’t throw off your multicultural audience by using different words for the same thing. Repeat key terms and messages consistently so no one needs to refer to Google in order to follow along.
Avoid complicated slang and company jargon
You don’t have to be a non-native English speaker to get confused by tech or company jargon. Not everyone is familiar with the latest office lingo, but luckily, there are resources to help you provide information in a way that is accessible to everyone. Simple Wikipedia is a great resource for Basic English explanations of everyday things. While I never advocate using Wikipedia as your one and only source, it can definitely be a useful starting point if you want an easily comprehensible explanation for anything from marketing to physics.
Trina Dunn–Message Board Assistant