Have you ever experienced a situation where you presented an idea or proposal to a person or group of people and you thought your presentation was clear and concise, easy to understand and persuasive, only to have your audience completely disengaged, totally confused or completely opposed to what you were presenting?
I think we have all experienced presentations like this at various times in our careers. This can be quite a common experience if the culture of your audience is different than yours or if the audience is a mix of cultures. In today’s global business world, this can describe almost every meeting or presentation we do!
The subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences between our cultures can cause tremendous misunderstanding and misalignment in all aspects of our communication. If we want to be successful in today’s world of business, it is critical that we spend time to understand our audience and adjust our presentation and communication style to match those we are presenting to. Tony Jeary talks about this in his book Life is a Series of Presentations. In this book he lists eight Presentation Essentials. Number one on his list is “Know Your Audience”, number five is “Build Bridges” and number eight is “Flex for Success”. Essentially he is saying that you go into a presentation after researching your audience, use that knowledge to bridge culture and communication gaps and read the audience all the way through the presentation so that you can flex your presentation to what is resonating most with them.