Speaking at Southbank University

with Southbank students

I was pleased to be invited to give a talk at Southbank University yesterday as part of the entrepreneurial lecture series Start & Evolve.

I spoke in front of around 75 students on the topic of global communications and led the question and answer session afterwards. The audience represented about 20 countries and various disciplines including engineering, business and the arts.

The course organisers were looking for practical tips and advice; so I focused on a message of understanding your target group and building common ground to make communication with global audiences more effective. I stressed the importance of regularly going out of one’s comfort zone as the key to connecting quickly with people from all over the world.

I must say I was flattered at the response from the students. I ended up staying 45minutes afterwards to talk individually with those who had more questions. One student from Nigeria told me it was the most unique and practical presentation they’ve seen. Another emailed me later to say they’d found it inspiring.

Amidu Kanu, Harry Stevens and Yuliana Seymour did a great job organising the evening.

For more detail, I’ve included my speaking notes below:


Global Communication


1. Quickly establish common ground in global communication:

  • Higher common ground = easier / better / conclusive communication
  • Quickly find out how much common ground there is. It could be:
    • Education
    • Travel experience
    • Common languages
  • Draw on that common ground to build the connection


2. Identify the characteristics of the group that you want to communicate to

  • Nationality, educational level, socio-economic level, religion, politics, family, hobbies, etc.


3. Understand the individual. Make the best communication cocktail for them by combining the following two ingredients in the right proportions:  relationship and knowledge


4. 100% reconcile your thoughts in your brain with your words, action and body language

  • You’ll always under-perform when you’re not sincere and warm — For example, I’ve sometimes been talking to a person while scanning the room for others.


5. How can you improve your communication?

  • Before each important communication, identify its purpose.  After each communication, analyse it. Why did it work? Why didn’t it work?  Just like pre-match and post-match analysis!
  • Go out of your comfort zone by setting goals. For example, talk to a different person daily, try a new cuisine weekly, take training classes in communications monthly and travel to a new country quarterly. Build your well of common ground!

Written by Prem Goyal