The Arab Gulf states are “high-context“ cultures. Therefore, body language as part of a non-verbal communication plays a particularly important role. Besides the context in which something is said, facial expressions and gestures are a major contribution in transmitting information. Signals of body language In communication with Gulf Arabs you should observe exactly whether the […]
Are you ready to give a presentation to your Gulf Arab project partners? If you want anyone to listen, do not spoil your chances by dashing to the front at 9am sharp and start presenting even before the projector has warmed up. Much more important are preliminary conversations with your listeners or the participants in the meeting. These conversations are fundamental to relationship cultivation and small talk on innocuous topics creates a pleasant atmosphere. So do not talk about business or the project yet.
Also, do not be offended by late arrivals. Perception of time in the Gulf Arab states is very different from what you may be used to. Arriving late is not thought of as lack of interest or of esteem if not all of the invited colleagues or business partners show up in the conference room at the right time. Use the time till all have arrived to cultivate relationships with those already present.
Designing your presentation
Status and prestige play a significant role in most Arab Gulf states. Your presentation materials should be of high quality and well designed. Use many visual elements such as films, pictures, and graphs. Do not skimp on the use of color. Product samples or similar things that can be touched or handled are highly appreciated.
Conveying the contents
Try to present in a lively and entertaining way! Show just a few but highly evocative slides. In the Arab Gulf states the spoken word is more highly regarded than the written word. Observe the hierarchical levels of those present if you address the participants directly.
Always focus on specific benefits or advantages for your Gulf Arab business partners to be gained. Give only enough “dry” facts as are necessary to roll out your topic clearly. Include tables, statistics, or examples of calculations only sparingly.
It is a distinct advantage to be able to present at least some of your material not only in English but also in Arabic.
Distributing a handout with more details is helpful for follow-up questions. If individual listeners have specific interest in some technical aspects, then it is best to discuss that in private or possibly at a shared meal. On no account should you bore the whole delegation with overly specific knowledge!