Speaking to Diverse Audiences

Speech ContestsGiving a speech or presentation to an audience of people who speak various languages or have differing cultural backgrounds requires special tact on the part of the speaker. Here are some tips and techniques on how to effectively engage a diverse audience:

  • Enunciate clearly. If possible, try to speak with a neutral accent to better include all audience members.
  • Don't speak too fast. Remember that the normal pace of speech in one language might become incomprehensible for people relatively new to that language.
  • Be careful with metaphors. Some metaphors that are appropriate in one culture can be offensive to another. A good example is references to sports not popular or practiced in a certain country, or phrases that are comical in one culture yet offensive in another.
  • Know the meanings of words outside your native language. Unless you are absolutely sure of the meaning and pronunciation of a word you are using in a given language, do not use it. In some languages, slight variations of a vowel will completely alter the meaning of a word.
  • Avoid slang, jargon and idiomatic expressions. Diverse audiences may not understand slang from a given country. English phrases such as "that dog don't hunt" or "cool as a cucumber" might be colorful, but the meaning could be lost on a large part of the audience.
  • Be mindful of body language, eye contact and personal space. Posture, mannerisms and eye contact speak volumes and what is taken for granted in one culture might be considered offensive in another.

 

Back to previous page

 

Helpful Resources

Speak the Language, Speak the Culture

Public speaking in a multilingual world.

Evaluations: Bridging the Culture Gap

How levels of directness in feedback vary by culture and why that matters.

How to Be Funny Across Cultures

Whether presenting virtually or face-to-face, ensure your humor is universal.

Speaking to Diverse Audiences

Engaging people of different cultures requires special tact on the part of the speaker.

Quick Links

Tips for Success

Enjoy helpful resources that will aid you in improving your communication and help you build leadership skills.

View tips

Mask Up and Save

Mask Up and Save - Save 20% on a Reusable Face Mask with promo code MASK20! Offer valid October 1-31, 2021. Not valid with any other offer.

Check It Out

No Regrets: Replay!

Get unlimited access to convention highlights for only $40 USD.

Buy On Demand

Connect With Us

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube for exciting updates, inspiration and more.

Connect