How To Give A Cross-Cultural Speech

In order to connect with a cross-cultural audience, first we have to understand them
In order to connect with a cross-cultural audience, first we have to understand them

So what would the best audience in the world look like to you? I can tell you: the audience would be made up of people exactly like you. They would like the same things as you. They would have the same political views as you. They would be interested in the same things as you. As great as this audience would be, you’ll never have a chance to address them because they simply don’t exist. Instead, more often than not you are going to find yourself addressing an audience that is made up of people that come from a variety of different cultures. When this happens, in order to maximize the importance of public speaking your speech had better have been designed for a cross-cultural audience.

Broaden Your Perspective

When you are giving a speech, you need to have a goal. A great goal to have is to attempt to help your audience to broaden their perspectives. As you put your speech together, you need to search for ways that you will be able to help your audience to expand their views. If you are able to do this successfully, then the speech that you give will be remembered by everyone long after you are done.

Your Reality Is Only Your Reality

One of the biggest challenges that we have when we are giving a cross-cultural speech is that the way that we see the world may not be the same way that our audience see it. This can be a big deal as we try to share new ideas with them and win them over to our way of thinking. We need to understand that the reality that we perceive is made up of all of our emotions, our perspectives, and our motivations. Our perspective is what will form our understanding of what the truth is. As we create our speech, we need to keep in mind that our truth is ours and may not be shared by anyone else.

Your Beliefs Are Not My Beliefs

If we had a chance to address that perfect audience where everyone thought the same way that you did, then what you believed to be true would, of course, be true to them also. However, since the audience that you will be addressing is going to be multicultural, this is not going to be the case. All too often speakers believe that in order for them to be correct, their audience’s belief’s have to be wrong. What we need to keep in mind is that for our audience, their truths are as clear to them as our truths are to us even if we see things differently.

You Need To Find Ways To Win Hearts

The reason that we give a speech is because we want to be able to connect with our audience. We want to be able to reach out to them and bring them over to our side. When we are addressing a cross-cultural audience this can be very difficult to do. We want to be very careful to not allow ourselves to get drawn into arguments with our audience about which one of us is more correct. If we spend any time debating the “right vs. wrong” game with our audience, then we will have given up an opportunity to build bridges between us.

The Power Of “Yes” and “No”

When we realize that the audience that we will be addressing may see things differently than we do, we are already getting closer to being able to reach them. When there is a disagreement between us, what we need to do is to use the phrasing “yes, and…” in order to acknowledge the audience’s opinion before we share ours with them. The reason that you’ll want to do this is because the more respect that you can show to your audience, the more likely you are that they will accept your opinions.

Struggles Are The Key To Success

We want to be able to hold on to our audience’s attention during a speech. When we are dealing with a cross-cultural audience this can be tricky to do because we many not fully understand what interests them. However, the good news is that a story about one of your struggles will always hold their attention. You need to use your personal stories about your struggles in order to be able to share your successes with your audience.

What All Of This Means For You

When you have an opportunity to address a multi-cultural audience and share with them the benefits of public speaking, you need to be aware that this may be different from many of your other speeches. We often get used to talking with audiences that are very similar to us in how they think and how they see the world. A multi-cultural audience is a different beast and we need to take these differences into account when we are creating a speech for them.

One of our goals when we are addressing a cross-cultural audience needs to be to strive to expand their views though the words that we share with them. We need to keep in mind that our reality is based on what we have experienced and it creates a truth that is only our truth. We need to be able to allow our beliefs to become flexible and not insist on our audience being wrong in order for us to be right. We don’t want to get into arguments with our audience about who’s right and who’s wrong. We need to take the time to acknowledge the audience’s opinion before we share ours with them. In order to get a cross-cultural audience to remember what you said, you need to share your struggles and your successes with them.

As speakers our ultimate goal is to get our message out to as many people as possible. When we are given a chance to address a cross-cultural audience, we need to view this as a great opportunity. In order to make the most of this opportunity, we need to take the time to create a speech that will work well with a cross-cultural audience. Respect their needs and you will be able to connect with them and get your message across.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If your cross-cultural audience disagrees with your position, what would be the best way to start off your speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

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