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Monday, January 05, 2015

How to adapt your Presentations for International Audiences

Having spoken in 54 countries and having made every mistake under the sun, I quickly cam e to realize that I needed to learn about the countries, cultures and audiences.

Be Aware of Cultural Differences

Middle East - Don’t show soles of your feet when seated, considered an insult.

China & Hong Kong – Hand over and accept business cards with both hands.

Japan – Don’t try to copy the Japanese way of bowing, you will never get it right and make a fool of yourself.

Malaysia & Singapore – Point with your thumb, not your index finger.

Adapting your talk

When speaking to English speaking foreigners, always speak slowly. Remember, English is their second language.

South Africa – sport crazy, especially rugby and cricket with a great sense of humor similar to Americans. Enjoy lots of motivation and excitement.

India – possibly the best audiences in the world. They enjoy lively interactive motivated talks. You are almost guaranteed a standing ovation. They love to be photographed with you.

Chinese & Japanese – They are very formal and serious. They have a great thirst for knowledge. Make your talk less motivation and more education. If they like you they will generate a lot of repeat work. It is very important to learn about their culture.

Singapore – smart and elegant, but want value for their money.

USA – wonderful audiences who enjoy a good mix of inspiration, entertainment, stories and practical take away

Middle East – Gregarious and outgoing. Very emotional and love stories. Don’t be surprised if they take telephone calls during the talk or wander in and out of the room, it’s just the way it is….
If selling DVDs, send them ahead of time. You will be x-rayed when entering the Country and they will take them and watch them, very strict on morals.

Germans, Swiss, Belgium’s – more serious, more education and don’t waffle – get straight to the point.

Spanish – easygoing and very laid back. Great love of life and a lot of fun.

Malaysians – Softly spoken, respectful and emotional. Also love stories and lots of humor.

Iranians – extremely intelligent and have a huge thirst for knowledge. They will treat you like a visiting film star.

Time Out

If you’re going to a country for the first time, take an extra two days to sightsee. I have seen and done incredible things while speaking internationally. Why not? It’s one of the perks of the profession.

Frank Furness CSP is a Sales & Social media presenter and author of two best-selling books.
He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 54 countries. His publications and resources have been sold globally. For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email  and for resources take a look at  and 
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