Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Presenting to American Audiences | Get your Listeners Involved!

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

presenting to American audiencesAre you an international professional or student working in the US and preparing for a presentation?

When you are presenting to American audiences, how should you change your style to be a successful presenter?

What might audiences in the United States expect from a presentation and how do they evaluate whether or not your presentation was effective?


A key method for presenting in the United States is engaging and involving the audience.


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A Culture that Values Experiential Learning and Activity


 when you deliver a presentation in the USWhy is an interactive presentation that engages the audience and gets them to participate considered successful in the United States?

In the U.S., active learning is highly valued. In school, kids are encouraged to learn something by trying it out and taking an active role.

The things we learn in school tend to be values that we carry into our adult lives in the business world.

So, when you present in the United States, you might find that your audience will expect you to get them involved and engaged in the topic that you are discussing.

But how can you do that? Keep reading!



Open your Presentation with a Question for your Audience:


  • "How many of you know __________?"
  • "When was the last time you________?"
  • "Have you ever heard of________?"


Tips for Engaging your Audience:


Olivia Mitchell, from Speaking about Presenting has some great ideas about things that you can do to involved your audience.

  • Make the audience feel comfortable before asking them to participate
  • Ask questions that elicit answers that add value to the presentation
  • Pay attention to energy levels in the room and respond apprporiately
  • Use pair work instead of asking people to speak up in a large group


Interactive Presentations are Often Expected in the US, but not Always:


Remember, although an interactive presentation is considered effective in a lot of situations, it is not the case for all situations.

When you prepare for your presentation, determine the amount of audience participation you want based on your company or school culture, the topic or the message of the presentation and the size of the group.

All of these factors will determine the level of interaction and activity there should be from the audience.


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photo credit: sean dreilinger

Topics: United States Culture, Cultural Competence, Cross Cultural Coaching

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