Speeches and protocol in Mexico

17 11 2006

Speeches for private industry, trade association and government events are quite common in Mexico.

  • Every event is started with a speech, or number of speeches from local, state or federal government officials, association presidents or high ranking members or the corresponding private industry equivalents.
  • Generally when a speech is given in Mexico to a group, formal protocol is followed.
  • For larger events a professional master of ceremonies will be hired to make the speaker introductions and keep the event moving.
  • Each speaker thanks and acknowledges by name and title each member sharing the stage or table of honor.
  • Mention of each member should be given by rank. Highest ranking official or member first, followed by the others in descending order.
  • Speeches in Mexico tend to be long. Government officials tend to give lots of numbers and statistics. Despite the audience’s desire to hear a short, focused discourse.
  • It is considered rude to take cell phone calls, carry on conversations with your neighbor, crack jokes or not pay attention during the speeches. If you can’t tolerate it, excuse yourself and leave the room.
  • Often invited guests and members sharing the podium do not have anything important to say, they are invited as a courtesy or as part of the political/social protocol.
  • After the initial speeches are over, some government officials may leave for other events.
  • Use these opportunities to network and exchange business cards. It is often easier to make initial contact with important figures at an event instead of via telephone calls and emails to their office.

Related Links

International business – cultural mistakes

Create great international business relationships

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Meeting people in Mexico – kiss, shake hands or hug?

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Creating a great presentation

5 09 2006

“The best way to sound like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you’re talking about” – Author Unknown

Some people are show-people. They love to get up in front a group and give a presentation. It’s easy for them, you can see that they enjoy it. They inspire, give us ideas, and present themselves as knowledgeable and informed about the subject.

Then there are the rest of us. Public speaking for many is a tortuous experience filled with fears, sweating hands and knocking knees. It’s easy for those with fear of presentations to sit down with PowerPoint and fill slide after slide with graphs, charts, numbers and text, which will then be read slide-by-slide in a monotonous drone. Sound familiar?

The fear of speaking in public may never go away. But you can create, design and execute a much better, more interesting and more professional presentation if you ask yourself the following questions before you begin the process of creating your presentation.

Questions you should ask before starting work on the presentation

  • Do I understand the subject, am I an expert? If you are not, why are you giving the presentation?
  • Am I excited about the subject and passing this excitement and understanding on to others? Without your enthusiasm it will be a boring disaster.
  • Who will be in the audience? Who are you speaking too, what level of education and what “rung” of the corporate ladder? Are they competitors, industry experts, clients or co-workers?
  • What is the audience’s level of knowledge and understanding of the topic? Do you need to give them an introduction to the subject, or can you jump right in?
  • What information is relevant and important for my audience? Are they interested in details, or only in your summaries and conclusions?
  • Where will I be when I give the presentation? A huge auditorium or a classroom with 10 people? The boardroom or the company picnic?
  • How can I present the material so that is reflects my expertise, and at the same time educates or inspires the audience?

What are the goals of the presentation

  • Am I presenting facts so that the audience can analyze them and come to their own conclusions?
  • Am I analyzing and presenting my interpretation of factual information?
  • Am I teaching concepts that should be learned by the audience?
  • Am I motivating and inspiring the audience with ideas?
  • Why are these people coming to see me?

Creating the Presentation

  • Do I have the technical skills required to put this presentation together?
  • Who can I go to for help and assistance to make it look and feel professional?
  • Do I have a budget?
  • What would I present if I only had 60 seconds to do it? What information is absolutely necessary?

“The audience only pays attention as long as you know where you are going.”
– Philip Crosby