Often when business owners venture abroad, it is with the hope of expanding their product lines or services overseas. They go prepared to sell an idea to a potential new customer base or to make their business an international brand.
So it's crucial for entrepreneurs to understand that the presentations they make in different countries should be specific to their intended audience. Above all, business owners should strive to relay a focused message and make their points memorable to clients.
Here then are four travel tips to keep in mind for the next time you're meeting with an international clientele.
1. Be Prepared for Technology Challenges
If you're planning on giving a presentation abroad, realize that the country to which you travel might not be equipped with the necessary technology to accommodate PowerPoint or projector-based presentations.
Therefore, try to come up with new ways to display your information that don't rely solely on your slides.
However, if you do decide to use PowerPoint -- or want to hand out printed copies of slides for your audience to look at while you speak -- make sure each slide is clear. Keep it concise and avoid information overload.
2. Watch Your Tongue
Even though English is an international business language, words are not always used similarly in every location. And it's likely you'll fail to connect with your foreign audience if you decide to use too much jargon or slang language. Try to keep your vocabulary simple and straightforward, and avoid expressions that might confuse your listeners.
In addition, don't leave your audience perplexed by talking too quickly or not enunciating. Remember to speak clearly and slowly.
It's also important to recognize that humor is not the same in all parts of the world. While it may be appropriate to joke about certain subjects in one country, those same jokes may not be received as well by a different group of people.
To view Alix Steel's video take of today's segment, click here.
Be sure you're clear on what your audience would find funny and what they would not -- if you're not sure, err on the side of caution. After all, it's difficult to win over a clientele that you've unintentionally offended.
3. Know Your Audience
Often it's a good idea to research the customs of the country you will be visiting in order to form a solid relationship with your potential customers.
For example, in many countries, audience members aren't expected to interact with the presenter, even when he or she poses a question to the listeners. Meanwhile, other countries welcome such interactive presentations.
Know your audience and its participation habits before you develop your presentation ideas. This will help avoid uncomfortable points during your speech.
Also, understand that diverse cultures respond to presentations in different ways. In Japan, for example, it's not uncommon for audience members to close their eyes when listening to a presentation. In fact, this is a customary way for Japanese people to absorb the information being presented.
It might also bode well for you to learn a few words of your audience's primary language. Even if there is a translator at hand, prospective customers will likely appreciate your efforts to bond with them on a cultural level.
4. Keep It Visual
While it is important to keep your text to a minimum, feel free to add graphs, charts or even cartoons, as these can be effective supplements to text. If your technical capabilities are limited, consider using props to emphasize an idea. Just remember not to overdo it in either case.
Additionally, try not to give a presentation that is too stiff. Keep in mind that a smile goes a long way in any country.
Remember, your objective is to sell your business to a new customer and to stick out in their minds in a positive way. To maximize your message, it's essential to keep it pithy, absorb certain aspects of your target audience's culture (including language) and make it visually stimulating.