It was a dry, hot day in Egypt, I was on a Camel with my friend Steve and we were on our way to see one of the wonders of the world. En-route, I began to rehearse the Arabic greetings I had recently learnt, pausing for breath between the undulating sand dunes on my bumpy ride towards the pyramids.
Opening a presentation with greetings in your audience’s native language is a powerful ice breaker usually followed with rapturous applause. A Lady that does this so well is Elise Kanza, Head of Africa for the World Economic Forum.
How to engage audiences with language and culture
Why is Language so powerful? “It is a living, breathing embodiment of a people’s culture”. To understand language is to understand people; in Nigeria, where I am from, we have over 170 million people and more than 350 languages. 350 languages! You could walk across the street and hear what you know must be a variation of your language. The backstory behind how this variation came about will give you deeper insights into who these people are and what makes them tick. This is a phenomenon that resonates across the globe. Language and culture are intertwined. Language is the hack you need to engage a global audience.
Speaking to a truly global audience
Two years ago, in May 2014 I attended the newly minted “Master Trainer” program at the ATD (ASTD at the time) International Conference and Expo. My small class had a group of amazing participants from 5 continents, we all connected and bonded instantly. We collaborate till this day. Even though we all communicated in English, our first languages and cultures seeped through in our intonations, choice of words and presentation techniques.
Acknowledging these nuances is what will set you apart as a Master Trainer. All of us, members of this mini global village of master trainers, continued to communicate via social media. This exchange of ideas, ideals and goals has led us to set up a global training hub. We hope to use this portal to share culturally relevant, high-level training ideas to equip the global workforce with skills relevant to their jobs.
I have shared below 5 ways that you can do this too:
5 ways that language can help you deliver better training presentations
- A reliable ice-breaker to quickly engage your audience
- Enhances emotional connections making you presentation memorable
- Shows that you prepared and you care about your audience
- Helps you win training pitches by personalizing your offering
- The knowledge of different languages and cultures makes you a more rounded person
Please join our panel session at ATD2016 in Denver, CO; Global Trainers Apply Master Trainer Best Practices (TU316) on Tuesday, May 24 from 3pm to 4pm, room Mile High 2a/3a. Click here for more information session.
About the author
David Brown is the founder of dbrownconsulting; an internationally recognized consultancy firm specializing in tax, finance, business growth, training and analytics. dbrownconsulting prides itself on its unique insights into African markets.
David Brown worked in Arthur Andersen and KPMG before starting dbrownconsulting ten years ago, which is one of the leading consulting/training firms in West Africa. David leads a team of seasoned consultants/trainers across the region providing solutions for hundreds of national and international companies.
David is a consultant to the World Bank (Oil and Gas Sector) and an ATD Master Trainer who has facilitated accounting, Excel, business intelligence, financial modelling, Power BI training to over 4,000 participants in 4 Continents. He is a speaker at various international events as well as a Microsoft Partner and member of Professional Bodies including ICAN, CITN, CFA Institute, CFA UK Society & CFA Nigeria Society. David is also a Registered Financial Adviser with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria.