CAUTION! READ BEFORE YOUR NEXT INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING PRESENTATION!
Recently, actor Richard Gere got in trouble in India for inappropriate public behavior, kissing a women in public. In the United States this is no big deal but there are penalties against this in India. Currently, he is facing charges and possible arrest!
A few years back President Bush, senior, angered the entire country of Australia when he gave what he thought was the peace sign. However, his audience took his gesture as him giving them the finger. Granted, he continued on as President, but his public relations staff is still cleaning up that mess!
Don’t become a victim of ignorance! When you are going to be giving a public speaking presentation in another country, go prepared. Get into the library or a local book store or even online and find out the customs, both verbal and nonverbal, of that country.
For example, did you know that the Japanese find it to be extremely rude not to take an offering with both hands? Or that in Middle Eastern and Latin cultures, they are close-talkers and take offense to anyone that steps back during a conversation?
Don’t let your public speaking presentation take a turn for the worst because you aren’t aware of the customs of those to whom you’ll be speaking. Granted, you are from a different country and may be afforded some leniency concerning communication, but not much. As a public speaking professional, it is your responsibility to know your audience. Taking the necessary precautions will demonstrate your willingness to understand the audience members and they will definitely appreciate this!