Corporate Communication

Effective Cross-Cultural Presentation skills

Their first language may not be English

12 would speak Chinese
6 would speak Spanish
5 would speak English
4 would speak Hindi
3 would speak Arabic
3 would speak Bengali
3 would speak Portuguese
2 would speak Russian
2 would speak Japanese
60 would speak other languages

Learning Objecties :

At the end of the course, each participant will be able to:

  • Realize a dynamic, clear and synthetic presentation
  • Adapt the presentation to different levels of understanding
  • Present with more confidence
  • Highlight a presentation during a work meeting
  • Process information to facilitate clarity (sorting, reducing)
  • Build a presentation from the start
  • Optimize the use of various media tools
  • Project and control your voice (tone, pause, rhythm and intonation)
  • Establish engagement with the audience through mastery of body language
  • Manage questions with confidence
  • Enhance your knowledge
  • Manage questions without losing face
  • Get your ideas across in a captivating way

Participants profile:

Anyone wishing to improve their oral presentations and develop their confidence facing a multicultural audience.



If the world were a village of 100 people …

50 would be female
50 would be male

There would be:
60 Asians
16 Africans
14 people from the Americas
10 Europeans

Find out about our corporate Effective Presentation Skills training workshops.
Or we can tailor a specific program for your business.

12 Tips for Cross-Cultural Presentations

Cross-cultural Presentation Skills

Presentations can be tricky, cross-cultural communication can be a minefield, but a mix of both – making presentations in front of a multicultural audience can be very difficult.

Here are some tips on the main pitfalls to avoid in cross-cultural presentations.

Intercultural communication is about working with people from other cultures in a way that minimizes misunderstandings and conflict situations, while maximizing your potential to create strong relationships between cultures.

What works here may not work elsewhere

Most of us know how an audience in our country prefers to receive information. For example, in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, the focus is on action and results. In continental Europe, the public prefers details and supporting documents. Just remember that some audiences will require a mix of styles – we need to learn more in advance or be able to think quickly to adapt to audience preferences.

Slow down

Even if you think your audience understands English well, you need to slow down, articulate clearly and sometimes check the understanding of the important points of your presentation and summarize to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Use simple, neutral language, avoiding slang, idioms and acronyms.

Body language and eye-contact

The United Kingdom and the United States (and many other cultures) present themselves dynamically, using the platform as a space to accentuate the message of a presentation. Latin cultures tend to use many gestures and arm movements, while a Chinese presenter will remain almost static. A gesture can mean something completely different in another culture; in the United Kingdom and the United States, a “thumbs up” is a positive gesture, but in Iran, it means something completely different! The same can be said for the sign “OK”, similar to the one used by divers. In Brazil, it means something different, just like the “V” sign with the back of the hand, which indicates “two” in many cultures – in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, it’s an offensive gesture.

In many cultures, eye contact is synonymous with sincerity, while in some cultures it can be invasive and almost threatening.

The key is to check your body language, eye contact and gestures and, if in doubt, do not use them, but try to do your homework before making a presentation.

The time difference between cultures

Some cultures prefer a structured and ad hoc business approach, including the start and end time of your presentation, while others use the start and end time as more of a guide than a defined time.

In these cultures, people arrive more or less at the announced start time, have a coffee, discuss and network, while in a more punctual culture, it can encounter negativity and frustration.

Similarly, in terms of action points and timelines, some cultures do not seem to take this seriously – of course, but the impression is given of a casual and relaxed approach, but do not be fooled. This is usually due to the fact that the culture is more consensus-based.

One question at a time

When English is not your first language, make sure that all the questions you asked are one and the same, do not try to ask double questions, as this could upset your audience.

Questions such as “Are we going to stop here?”

are much clearer and easier to understand and therefore to react than:

“Are we going to stop here or are we going to continue?”

Some cultures, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, etc., will ask many questions during and after a presentation, while some Asian audiences will ask very little and may need to be encouraged to ask questions.

Remember, if you do not receive questions during or after your presentation, it does not necessarily mean that your audience agrees with what you have presented and sometimes the opposite is often true.

It is also useless to ask closed questions that require a “yes” or “no” answer because they tell you very little. Try to build “How?”, “What?”, “Why?” etc., questions.

As a general rule, avoid negative questions, which require an affirmative answer, such as; ‘Do you mind if I just going through this part quickly?’

Watch you language

If you can, try to learn how to say hello, goodbye, thank you and welcome in the language (s) of your hosts, it’s often a nice touch that not only pleases the public, but also helps to break the ice. at the beginning of your presentation.

Just make sure that you are able to pronounce the language you choose and that it has the desired effect for the public.


Be very cautious with humour, as it can result in shooting yourself in the foot if it is not handled with care and is generally not recommended, especially for an audience of diverse cultures.

Humour is sometimes difficult to understand and is often misinterpreted and can sometimes be considered offensive. My advice would be not to risk it, unless you know your audience well and if the subject of your presentation suits the humour you want to deliver. .

Humour can also be perceived negatively in some cultures, as it can affect the expected professional character of a presentation. In addition, sarcasm or irony are often largely misunderstood, so avoid them too.

What is the opposite of listening?

The reflex answer given to this question is: “Speaking”.

In fact, the opposite of listening is to “take turns,” that is, to wait your turn to speak, which means that in many conversations, one of the parties does not listen completely.

In an intercultural context, ‘waiting for your turn’ is of utmost importance, making a point or asking a question, and then giving the other party time to understand, digest and formulate an answer.


It is often obvious that a presentation will be delivered via Powerpoint or Keynote. Some of us have access to projectors that display our images on a screen via WiFi. Some will use tools such as Prezzi, an endless canvas, and so on.

When you’re in another culture, it’s possible that the tools we’re used to are simply not going to work abroad, but the public may not like the visuals that these tools offer, preferring whiteboards or even overhead projectors, and sometimes only the voice of the presenter.

Good prior preparation will help to overcome these potential problems that could effectively block any communication attempts.

What do your audience expect?

Some audiences are very engaged and willing to participate, answer questions, etc., and some simply do not.

Asiatic audiences often tilt their heads and look focused during the presentation, the Indians sometimes waggle their heads, the Saudis often show no reaction and do nothing.

Applause is generally a universal endorsement, but in Australia and the UK, the audience rarely applauds at the end of a presentation. In Germany, people will knock on the table as a sign of approval, while in the United States, approval may be given by whistles. In some cultures, whistles may signal a completely opposite effect of disapproval.


It is extremely important to keep your emotions under control during a presentation, especially during the Q & A session, where some cultures will always question a presenter about their presentation. This is not always a negative thing, just keep in mind the positive intentions behind a close questioning and never consider it a threat or an attempt to belittle your presentation.

Never lose patience, show frustration or anger – most questions are asked to establish facts or dispel the doubts of the audience. A negative reaction will lead to a loss of credibility.

Just keep in mind that if you have a lot of questions at the end of your presentation, it’s a very good thing, because the audience is actively involved and will retain much more of your presentation than if it remained passive.

The audience is clearly interested in your presentation.

If there are many questions from the audience, we could also question the clarity of our presentation for the given audience, but let’s not get too self-critical.

Train with ALSo for that important presentation

If you work in an international and intercultural environment, follow a training in “intercultural awareness” and intercultural presentation techniques.

Investing in time and money will earn you 100 times more money and help you approach intercultural communication with serenity, professionalism and trust, which will ultimately help you do more and better business in the future.

Find out more

Active Learning Solutions
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