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Are Asian Business Leaders really less confident public speakers?

Blog post   •   Jan 30, 2018 21:45 +08

I hear this time and time again during our media and presentation skills workshops: "we are Asian, and therefore we don't present well."

The theory is that in Asia, people are more conservative, more reserved, and less bombastic than speakers from the United States, Australia or Europe.

But recently, we had two American participants come to our TV studio. One pointed to his frequent media appearances and boasted he could present in his sleep. The other was more circumspect, admitting his fear of speaking to the media. When the time came to practise on camera, the exact opposite happened: the cavalier was unable to deliver his message clearly and succinctly, while the more modest one presented very well.

Similarly with Asian participants. Some are indeed more reserved and more nervous, but others present as fluently as their most-confident Western counterparts. And some Western participants are just as reserved and nervous as some of their Asian counterparts.

The sum total of my 12 years' experience mentoring senior executives is: there is no pattern based on cultural or ethnic background. In fact, there is no pattern at all. There is no discernible reason you can't present, based on gender, age, seniority/experience, or educational background.

In fact, after coaching hundreds of business leaders over many years throughout the Asia-Pacific and Middle East, I could not find an accurate predictor of who would present well, except, perhaps, for one: their attitude.

If they are keen to improve and willing to try, they usually present very well. In most cases it only takes two or three attempts.

Of course, some senior business leaders in high-profile positions are no less capable communicators. They just don't want to. That strategy might have worked in years gone by. But with every conference presentation, with every quarterly earnings announcement, with every AGM, and with every town hall meeting being potentially streamed live, they will likely have no choice soon.

We are inviting Heads of Investor Relations and other communications and finance professionals to discuss this and other topics at our forthcoming workshop "Are you ready for the AGM?"

With peak AGM season coming up, Hong Bao Media is teaming up with Paia Consulting to run a limited number of communications workshops for Heads of Investor Relations, Boards of Directors and Senior Leadership Teams.

Topics covered:

  • Attracting media interest in sustainability reports
  • Best practise in presentation of financial statements
  • Best practise in dealing with difficult questions they may be asked by shareholders
  • Best practise in presentations to institutional investors
  • Best practise in live webcasting
  • Best practise when reporting bad news

Click here to register.

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