How to adapt your communication style to a culturally different audience
Do you know what your natural communication style is? The way in which you talk and share information is based on our personality and temperament. It may be something you aren’t even aware of, but becoming aware of it will help you adapt your natural style of communication whenever you need to address a culturally different audience.
It took me a while to find my own style.
My breakthrough came when I was chosen to rehearse on stage at the Professional Speaker’s Continuing Education workshop.
I was the only non-native English speaker, the only Japanese, the only Asian.
I quickly realized that in my attempt to speak ‘perfect English’ in front of a room full of English professional speakers, I was also losing some of my authenticity.
If you are putting yourself in front of an audience, it’s easy to want to create an image you think your audience will approve of, but this can cause you to step away from your natural communication style.
Authentic communication is vital – not only in creating effective, efficient business relationships, but also when it comes to addressing a cross-cultural audience, it’s so much better to present yourself naturally and authentically.
Here’s a quick shortcut that’s helped me find my natural communication style:
- Be an exaggerated version of yourself
As a speaker, you need to be a performer. To be a performer, you need to act like an exaggerated version of yourself.
When you’re standing in front of a global audience, it’s easy to feel daunted and you may not know where to place yourself. So you end up not feeling authentic at all. To find your authenticity, exaggerate your energy a little to get back to an authentic version of yourself.
Make a list of qualities that best describe your strengths, or uniqueness. Then bring those qualities into your talk or performance.
- Don’t try to be like your idol
We all have a ‘muse’ or an idol that we look up to and draw inspiration from, but resist trying to be like them.
Realize that being like someone else or trying to be perfect does not equate to being effective. Being effective does not have to do with your performance, it has to do with what happens to the audience as a result of who you are when you’re with them.
- Get practicing
Even if you think you know your own style in your head, it’s difficult to really develop it until you are comfortable in front of your audience. And this can only happen with lots of practice.
Whether you are an emerging speaker or an established speaker and working on new material, we ALL have to go through rounds of rehearsals and re-writes.
So every time you rehearse, be sure to choose people who are willing to help you and whose opinions you trust, and can give you honest feedback.
Hiring a Presentation Coach to work with (in-person or online) can really help to see an outside view and help you draw on your own uniqueness so that the audience buy into you.
Want to find out more? Enrol on ‘The Art of Persuasive Speaking in Global Business’ online course today. It has a whole module dedicated to finding your true communication style.