How international business growth and public speaking are interrelated

Those who travel overseas for business purposes are usually impressed to see that the skills they use on a daily basis in their country don’t always apply to a foreign audience.

Making a start-up recognized in another country is challenging. How can you succeed though? Is there something you can do to entice a foreign audience if you don’t have time to take an international business degree?

Sure; the secret to international business growth depends on solid public speaking abilities. English for example, is an international language.

If you’re from the USA, then you’re in luck. However, companies from Europe for example, won’t stand a change in the United States of America if the CEO can’t speak English fluently to market his business and deliver a compelling presentation.

Dealing with a tough crowd

The term “tough crowd” has a whole new meaning when doing business overseas. Entrepreneurs will be forced to deliver speeches in front of audiences that don’t share their cultural background. In Asia for example, 80% of the people don’t speak English. As a CEO looking to grow your business in China, you must find a way to communicate.

Address to an audience that can understand you, leave out those who don’t understand the language, and center all your attention on the new generation. Addressing to a foreign crowd can be tough; but there are ways you can use to target a specific group, and thus use your excellent public speaking skills to advertise your product.

Understand their cultural assumptions

Since we’re human we have a tendency to assume that we possess universally upheld cultural norms. However, these are often confused when our axioms and principles are not shared.

A basic standpoint of cultural assumptions would be enough to make international business people steer clear of miscommunication when presenting in front of a foreign audience. Understanding a certain culture can be tough, not to mention demanding. But this is necessary if your goal is to deliver efficient speeches.

Humor has to be used wisely

Including humor in a speech is more than recommended. Most of the time, humor makes a presentation go a lot smoother. You forget all about nerves, and at the same time you help your audience relax.

However, it has to be incorporated wisely when dealing with a non-English speaking crowd. If you’re using a translator, then jokes should be avoided. Most translators are not familiar with specific English terms that are fundamental when adopting a humorous approach.

Ditch the gobbledygook

Unnecessary technical phrases, jargon, and specific geeky terms should be avoided when speaking in front of a foreign audience. A lot of people find English speaking people to be confusing; many talk too fast, too loud and they usually don’t make any sense.

Keep your speech focused on the facts. Use short sentences, simple words and try not to incorporate any tricky words. Leave out phrases that are too technical, as nobody will understand the meaning.

Practice your presentations in front of non-specialist audiences and ask them for detailed feedback on your impact.

Your speech has to be understood by 12-year olds

The easiest way of making a business speech seem appealing to a foreign crowd is to make it easy to understand for 12-year olds. If they can understand the message, then a German, French or any other international business delegate is more likely to understand your message too.

Delineative and grandiose expressions should be avoided. Speak as simply as possible when addressing the audience. Ditch the PhD terms entirely, and avoid obscure sentences. Holding a speech in front of a foreign audience can be simple. You have the possibility of making your business thrive, but it is fundamental that you don’t complicate your presentation with terms that are too demanding.

Using solid public speaking skills is the easiest, most convenient way of marketing a business. Overseas your audience may be different, but the message is the same. Don’t let yourself intimidated that people won’t understand what you want to say. They will, as long as you can balance the level of your English to theirs.

Growing your international business is not that hard when you have a clear goal in mind. Follow these three simple steps applicable to any audience:

  1. Before walking on stage, get to know the people a bit.
  2. Find out some important facts about their customs and traditions, and show an interest.
  3. Don’t sell them a product in the first 3 minutes, and gauge their attention first.

If you show that you care for them, they’ll feel protected and they’ll want to know what you’re offering too.

By Daniel Lewis and!

About Aleksej Heinze

Passport to Trade 2.0 project leader. My research interests are in the area of disruptive innovation using information technology (IT) and the use of IT in business management. Topics include: enterprise 2.0; web 2.0, international business culture, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing.