There is one aspect of presentations  we often overlook and that’s the audience’s expectations.

Why do we overlook it? Most of the time we’re so concentrated on what we want to say and how we’re going to say it that we completely forget to think about what our audience expects from us.

And yet, they’re the reason we’re giving the presentation in the first place.

What audiences expect differs depending on which country they’re from.

For example, an American audience expects you to show assertiveness and humour while a German audience expects you to demonstrate expertise, sound technical information and no jokes! (Source: In Company Upper Intermediate 2010, Mark Powell)

So, it’s worth finding out who your audience is going to be when preparing for your presentation. That way you know how to meet their expectations.

In Mark Powell’s book (see above), he shares a series of recordings on audience expectations in different countries. In these recordings, there are eight phrasal verbs that describe what these different audiences expect. I’m going to share them here with you together with the meaning of the phrasal verb.

“An American audience tends to (1) go for (like) jokes so be prepared to include some humour in your presentation.

If, on the other hand you’re addressing a British audience, you can’t (2) do without  (manage without) a sense of humour.
In fact, if you haven’t made them laugh within the first five minutes, you might find some of them (3) switching off (losing interest) altogether.
You’re expected to be entertaining but while you’re not expected to crack jokes all the time, anecdotes and amusing stories always (4) go down well (are appreciated by) with a British audience.
Don’t get too technical though otherwise they’ll think you’re just (5) showing off (trying to impress)!

A Japanese audience wants you to show quiet confidence and be highly competent. They will have read through all the paperwork you sent them beforehand but will want you to (6) go through (repeat) all the main points again.

When presenting to a French audience, it’s extremely important how you actually (7) come across (present yourself) as a person.You need to (8) keep up (maintain) a certain formality and your talk must always be well-organised and logical.”


Tell Me

What does the audience in your country expect from its business presenters?

Share your thoughts in the comments box below.


Before you go, 
If you want to know more about how to present confidently in English, do check out my ebook +audiobook: Business English Secrets


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