Many of today’s businesses are growing increasingly diverse as the professional demographics continue to shift. This diversity brings with it many great benefits such as incorporating new and different ideas as well as opportunities to reach clients across the globe. That said, this diversity also comes with an increased risk of miscommunication. Presentations play a major role in the success of new products and services and they are also an important way of providing critical information. Therefore, it is imperative that these presentations be delivered in a way that every audience member can understand. Aside from language barriers, things like cultural, social, and religious differences can also impact the way people learn and gather information. In order to improve communication, consider these ideas for presenting to a diverse audience.
Speaking clearly is important to any professional communication but it is especially important when your audience may include individuals whose native language is not English. Be sure to speak slowly, loudly, and enunciate each word so that everyone can understand exactly what you are saying. Sometimes microphones can muffle sounds, making it even more of a challenge for individuals to understand you. Be sure and practice with the microphone ahead of time so you are aware of how to hold it for optimal sound.
Use Visual Aids
Visual forms of communication can be incredibly helpful when speaking to an audience with various linguistic backgrounds. Charts, graphs, photographs, and stats can help to illustrate your points and help drive home the main points of your message.
Use Presentation Software
Wordy slides might not be the best presentation tool for every audience, but it might be helpful with a diverse audience. Non-native English speakers often have an easier time understanding the written language as opposed to the spoken language. Consider putting the most important points on slides so your audience can understand and remember this key information.
Avoid Slang and Idioms
Idioms and slang terms are used so frequently that most of us aren’t even aware of it. However, figurative language and idioms are often unfamiliar to non-native speakers so they could obscure your message. As you prepare your presentation, pay attention to your use of figurative speech and look for other ways to communicate your points.
Provide Notes or Handouts
If you know you are going to be presenting to non-native speakers, it can be very helpful to provide audience members with notes or handouts. This will make it easier for them to follow along with your presentation and it also gives them something to take with them to reference at a later time.