Cultural relevance is a term that is used a lot within the presentation space. As presenters, we must remain “culturally relevant” in order to be effective at what we do. Our audience is constantly changing and evolving, which means our presentations must constantly change and evolve. But as you strive to stay relevant, there’s a risk of seeming inauthentic or too trendy if you don’t stay grounded in your roots.
Cultural relevance is important, but you must also stay true to yourself. We’ve found there are 3 things every presenter can do to stay true to themselves while evolving with culture.
Follow what you enjoy.
I spent over a decade working with middle and high school students, and in that time, I discovered how culturally irrelevant I was. With new music, movies, and tv coming out at an expedited rate, it’s impossible to stay up to date with everything in the world. In that time, I could have tried to stay cool and “relevant” but realized that my relevance was a cheap knockoff to what these students experienced. So instead, I had to choose to be me and to embrace who I was as a person and keep up with the areas of culture that interested me.
The same is true for you as a presenter. If you want to be relevant but not fake, find the areas of culture that you enjoy and pay attention to those areas as they evolve. Pay attention to how they change over time which will, in turn, educate your sense of culture as a whole. By focusing on what you enjoy rather than what is “cool,” you are more likely to keep up with that area of culture; it becomes less of a chore and more of an opportunity to learn about something you care about.
Pay attention to the next generation.
Let’s face it – Millennials have gotten a bad rap over the years. But the truth of the matter is that Millennials actually make up 35% of the workforce today. With the top end of the Millennial age group being 38, chances are the majority of your office is made up of Millennials. While most of the information you hear about this generation is negative, when it comes to being culturally relevant, they should be the first place you look. This generation has grown up with technology and the free flow of information, making them experts at the 24-hour news cycle and the constant shifting of culture. They have learned to not only navigate but also thrive on this ever-changing world.
If you are a Millennial presenter, embrace it. Use your knowledge of social media and technology to stay connected to what is happening in the world. Expand your platform and follow more than just your friends. Take the time to follow political figures and professional educators to help you to know what is happening in the world and how to speak in an educated and relevant manner on it. If you are not a Millennial, become friends with one. They will help you to navigate the free flow of information as well as give you some tips on how to leverage it.
Stay away from politics.
We live in a politically charged culture. All you need to do is spend 5 minutes reading the news to know that there is tension and frustration across the board. With the invention of the 24-hour news cycle and immediate access to information, every single one of us has a front-row seat to the political scene.
As a presenter who is seeking to be culturally relevant, it can be tempting to dabble in the political pool. Trust us – don’t do it. Politics will quickly divide your audience and leave part of the room cheering for you and part of the room fighting against you. If your presentation does not require a political slant, do your best to steer clear of any political language. Your job as the presenter is to be neutral and present your content regardless of the political atmosphere. You have been entrusted with a platform to share your thoughts, and unless specifically asked, pushing a political agenda can quickly destroy that platform and alienate your audience.
Cultural relevance is an obscure term that can leave a presenter feeling like they are chasing a unicorn. The fact of the matter is that the best way to be relevant is to simply be informed and be true to yourself. In a world that is constantly trying to project the best version of ourselves, it can feel like authenticity has been replaced with the desire for relevance. While it is important to be relevant, it should not be your driving factor as a presenter. Be real. Be you. The rest will follow.
Looking for more tips on how to be a great presenter? Check out the Presentation Mentor online course today.
Still need more help with your presentation?We've got the solutions. Talk to Us