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An expert on your subject, you have registered for an international conference. After weeks of waiting you are reading the message in your mailbox: Your presentation fits well into the program and will be accepted for the conference. Congratulations!

Presenting in your first language is comparatively easy for you. You know your way around the topic anyway. These questions may pop up in your mind when you are accepted to deliver a speech in a foreign language:

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Cultural development is driven by factors such as language, climate and environment. For instance, how we communicate can be seen in the climate in which we live. In cold climate conditions, we keep our conversation to a minimum – it is rather short and purposeful, and we sometimes seem to be buttoned up.

 

Presentation and language style

The fact that small talk is rather a luxury under adverse climatic conditions can also be seen in the language style: we keep it short, words do not have as many nuances and are clearly and unambiguously defined. In German, many words end in consonants or silent vowels. This language is not as melodic as Spanish, French or Italian because of the less pronounced high and low tones. In these countries, vocabulary and vocal melody are much more variable than in Germany or Scandinavia. Accordingly, body language is much more pronounced under warm Mediterranean climatic conditions.

These differences also affect presentation style: Some words are given more weight, often accompanied by facts and figures – the factual level has priority. As speakers we appear focused and compelling in terms of content, speaking a rather plain language: statements are taken literally, content is more important than the overall picture. The language style is direct and detailed, facial expressions and gestures are less important.

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