Friday, 24 July 2009

Speaking to International audiences

I've spent 15 years or so travelling the world and talking to thousands of people in the course of my work and I've learned some interesting and painful lessons about English as the lingua franca of international business. It's also a real niche area of work for me now as there are hundreds of companies all over Europe expanding into new territories where English speaking is the norm, and they have little experience of it as pitchers, writers and presenters. In a global market, with an international audience, there are 3 distinct scenarios to be thought about, and they are-

  1. Using English when it's not your first language to present to a business audience of English speakers
  2. Speaking in English to an audience for whom English is not the first language
  3. Using English when it's not your first language and it's not the audience's first language either

Each of the three scenarios have their different challenges for the person at the front of the room and over the next few days we'll look for lesons to learn for each of them. For each we'll look at what you need to do to be understood, and that will include advice on presentation structure, visual aids, articulation and language.

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