How To Connect With An International Audience With Tulia Lopes

by | Dec 28, 2019 | Podcasts

SWGR 510 | Speaking Internationally


Do you need to present to listeners outside your home country and get results? Tune in to this episode as Elizabeth Bachman interviews international speaker and trainer, Tulia Lopes. She gives us tips and strategies for making an impact when presenting speeches internationally. Walking the Camino de Santiago, she has learned some business lessons which she will share here. Listen to Tulia as she shares her expertise in speaking across oceans.

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How To Connect With An International Audience With Tulia Lopes

This is where we interview experts on how we can improve our presentation skills in order to get our readers to do what we want them to do and what we need them to do. Whether you’re speaking on stage, selling your company, selling your services, selling your product or maybe you’re selling an idea in a meeting or you’re in one particular person where you’ve got to convince them to enroll them into doing what you want them to do. It’s all presentation skills. Before we begin, I’d like to invite you to go to our free assessment at There, you could take a free assessment where you can see your presentation skills are strong and where maybe you could get a little bit of support in order to speak to get results. I am excited to have my wonderful friend, Tulia Lopes. Tulia, welcome to Speakers Who Get Results.

Thank you very much, Elizabeth. It’s my pleasure to be here with you and your community.

I am delighted to have you here. Tulia is a communication architect and speaker. She believes that communication is the key to develop and excel in any field in life. She helps professionals, especially women, to deconstruct their ineffective communication style and build one which excludes confidence and is fully aligned with their authentic talents. As an architect, she was trained to translate the thoughts into physical reality. This gives her the skills to read between the lines of what people say and help them to find a way of expressing themselves in a clear and confident manner. Her experience in leading positions, together with being an entrepreneur for over fifteen years, motivated her to support professional women to become more visible on stages globally.

She’s the Founder of the AWE Summit, which gives voice to women. In 2017, she founded the Speak Up and Lead Academy, which helps women increase their confidence so they can raise their profile, become more promotable, and position themselves as experts in their fields. It also helps them become world-class speakers. She has a venture called the Stand Up and Speak Up Challenge, where professionals from different backgrounds and different countries come on stage to challenge each other and themselves by getting a powerful message across in only five minutes. That has been rocking the speaking arena in Munich and Zurich. Tulia, I am delighted to have you with us.

Thank you. What a beautiful introduction.

SWGR 510 | Speaking Internationally


The part that I love about listening to Tulia is that she is like me, living in international life. She has all sorts of wonderful insights. Tulia, briefly tell us all the places that you’ve lived.

Originally, I came from Brazil. My first place to move was Spain. In Spain, I lived in Valencia, Barcelona, and Seville. I moved to Dublin in Ireland, then I moved to Switzerland in Zurich and I’m here in the South of Munich.

Tulia, in all this international life, one of the things I’m always curious about is what would be your dream interview? If you were on stage interviewing somebody from history, who would it be? What would you talk about? Who should be in the audience to listen?

Taking into consideration that my target audience is women, my way to empower them is to help them stand up and speak up. I want to come to this interview at Rosa Parks because coincidentally, 1st of December in 1955, she kept her seat on the bus saying that she was not going to move away from the position she was.

For our readers who did not grow up in America and learn about Rosa Parks in school, tell us briefly who Rosa Parks is and why December is important?

SWGR 510 | Speaking InternationallyShe was an American black woman from Montgomery, Alabama. At that time, the buses had a different seat position for the whites and for the blacks. The whites would sit at the front and the blacks would sit at the back. However, if the front was full, the whites would be moving even further to the back of the bus or even having to stand. No white people should be standing. The black people would have to give their seats away. Rosa was coming from work. She was tired that day. She was fed up and say, “I’m not going to stand. I’m going to stay here.” That act of rebellion generated a whole movement towards civil rights and led by our amazing, Martin Luther King. Rosa never thought that the single act would lead to such a big movement. In the end, she engaged in that and she became a very much supporter and a face towards improving the quality of life in the rights of the black people.

Why would I like to have her? Sometimes we give up too soon. She felt the pressure, but on that particular day she said, “No, I had enough. I’m not going to sit here.” Some of us, there are times in life that we have to keep our stand or even in our case, the seat. I would love to talk to her to learn what motivated her at that moment and what her strength was because she knew she was going to get in trouble. She knew she was going to go to jail the least, but she said, “Enough is enough for herself.” What happened after? What exactly that meant for herself, for her community, that single act. Big changes start from small things and we believe we are not big enough to do a big thing, but that’s not the point. We have to do something if we believe it.

Often, it’s an accident too. It was a day where you’re tired and you’re fed up. You do something different and then you find out that there are consequences. People pay attention in good or bad ways. How do you then move forward if suddenly you become an icon? I would very much like to be in the audience for that and listen to that conversation.

That will be very interesting. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2005 but still lived a long life.

There are many schools in America named after Rosa Parks. I believe she was a cleaning woman. She was cleaning houses and doing her thing and became a symbol. You are having an international life. You’ve lived many places and you have been working with speakers for much of this time. What this says to me is you’re helping people who have decided to stand up and be visible rather than falling into it as Rosa Parks did, but standing up and being visible. What is it like to do that internationally on a global scale?

Being on stage requires you to research on your audience, how they communicate, and what is important to them. Share on X

My global life became, almost by accident, but I embraced it. By meeting many people from different countries, I realized the importance of being able to communicate clearly because when we are so much in our own environment, we have the manners or nuances of communication that are well understood with few words. When you are in a more international environment, they might not work. One thing that I learned, I was reading this saying, “The assumption is the mother of all the screw-ups.” If we are very much into our own environment and not in a global environment, I prefer to call it a global environment. We assume that the other person understands, but most of the cases, they might understand what we are saying because we communicate on the same level, same nuances, same language patterns. When you go to international stages, you’ll have some homework to do because it requires you to get research, do a research about that target audience, how they communicate, what is important for them? In a way, this is what a speaker should do when we are preparing for our presentation. The audience is everything and we need to know them.

This is a specific tip. Readers, this would be a good place to take note, how would you phrase this specifically as a tip, as something that people can take action on?

It was something that I always say to my students and my clients, know your audience. Your audience means these conversations is one-on-one. What are the expectations of Elizabeth from me from this talk? If it’s a thousand people, it’s is the same. You have to know your audience and then you have to find that language to reach them. When we are presenting, we are connecting. If we are not connecting, we are not achieving the results we should be achieving. The first rule is to know your audience.

Often, the problem is that the speakers will head out and they’ll talk about what they know and what they want to teach, which might not necessarily be what the audience wants to learn or what the audience wants to hear. Give them what they want. Once they’re working with you, once they’ve hired you, you can give them what they need, but you’ve got to reach them where they know they want something.

By knowing them, their needs, their expectations, you can get to them first. Our job when we are communicating, we have to connect because if we don’t connect, we don’t build trust. If you don’t build trust, there’s no business. Once you have this connection, you might introduce, when you know the right moment and time to introduce your ideas. When you build that connection or that trust, the other person will be willing to listen to what you have to share. That may differ from their own status quo or of their own expectations. You need to build this trust and this connection first.

SWGR 510 | Speaking Internationally


This is if you are speaking on a stage, in an enrollment conversation, or in a meeting. Let’s go back to globally. I know that you have trained people in Portugal, in Switzerland, in Zurich, the German-speaking part of Switzerland is not as the French-speaking part of Switzerland and Munich. What are the differences in what people need or what people assume?

When I approach and when they come to me for training, the core is the same. The women understand that they have to exude more confidence. They are women in leading positions or they have their own business. They understand that they have to develop a stronger voice. However, the core is it would be this, depending on their environment and depending on their country, how they will do it might differ.

That would go back to who’s their audience?

If you’re talking about the Spanish environment, where they are more strong patriarchal culture and a woman’s voice is a big challenge. They have to prepare themselves in a different way. The strategy will change. If they are someone from Germany, they are more open or they’re more equal in a way. Although there are always women in this world we live in, there’s still a lot that we have to fight for. They are very different patterns. In the German culture, for example, they can practice strategically to be more assertive, to talk more directly, and these are accepted and this is okay. In Spanish culture, for example, they should not talk directly. They should find ways to put their message across in a more indirect way to get started with.

In many cultures, at least in America, people pretend that men and women are equal. In theory, we are, yet on a gut level, if a woman speaks as directly as a man, quite often she is called bossy, arrogant and pushy. The men will assume that she comes off like a school teacher, for instance, or like mom, which is even worse. I could see how that would be very important. You’d have to do it in one way in Spain and a different way in Germany. Is there a difference between Germany and Switzerland? Let’s say Munich, which is Southern Germany, not the same as Northern Germany. Zurich, which is not the same as Geneva, for instance.

SWGR 510 | Speaking Internationally


There are clear differences. Swiss people are more indirect in communication. They are not so direct as to German. When you are in a meeting with Swiss, you have to express yourself in a more subtle way, while the Germans expect you to be clear into the point.

How exactly would that be? I’ve worked with Germans for many years. I often think that Americans and English, for instance, use a lot more helper words such as, would you please, if you’d be so kind, thank you so much or starting with a compliment and then saying what you want to say, then ending with a compliment. The German language doesn’t use all those helper words so Americans think that Germans are always commanding them. Germans think that Americans never get to the point because they have to say all this wishy-washy stuff around the point. Give us some concrete suggestions. Let’s say with Swiss. I haven’t dealt with the Swiss so I wouldn’t know.

First, I want to set the context. If you are the one who goes into that environment, you are the one to learn about that environment. Let’s be very clear because sometimes people come with their very good presentation, well-prepared, but they are coming from their own perspective, from their own culture. They are considering that people out there might not be knowledgeable about the culture where this person is coming from. For the Swiss, what I would suggest is you have to have a straight, clear way of putting your ideas because they also have a very much linear taught. If your audiences haven’t heard about this when people communicate in this sequence, one thing after the other. If you change too much, if you are not in a sequence, and if you become too creative, you might confuse your audience. You might make them nervous or even uncomfortable. You present things in order. The Swiss love orders, time and they love things to be precise. This is the one thing that is very important. For someone like me that’s very creative, it is a challenge. When I’m expressing myself, I tend to bring extras because of my way of talking is very much in a fluid and creative way.

I go bringing one thing here and one thing there because it goes adding to the content. If I’m having a business meeting or representation of the Swiss-German environment, I better keep all this extra information away from that presentation. In a more informal environment, afterward, you can add or you want to put in your printouts. That would be my suggestion. For example, the opposites, if you’re coming to a Brazilian environment, you have a linear conversation. People will feel that you are too direct. They will feel uncomfortable. They want you to tell them the journey that led you to get there and what do you encounter. It is a more storytelling way of communication while the other one is more systematic.

I found also that affects your time. How do you pay attention to time? If you’re speaking to in America, Germany or Austria, where I also spend a lot of time. If you say it’s going to be twenty minutes, you better be there twenty minutes and they’re going to start exactly on time. Is Portugal or Spain the same? Is it more fluid? Are you expected to stay longer if they have more questions?

There is no business if there is no trust. Share on X

Time in Latin America is very different from the concept of time from both the equator line. One thing that I learned many years ago is they were claiming in this article that due to the fact that we don’t have the seasons very clear, we see time as something that is linear in that sense. It flows insane like in Europe because you have the seasons, you see times in parts. I found this concept very interesting, but about what you said, you are supposed to respect time. Especially in Switzerland, one minute late is late. Punctuality means to be there before the time, not at the time. At the time means you are already late. It doesn’t give a good impression. Respecting the slot that was given to you for your presentation is a global knowledge. If you want to be seen as a professional, as a world-class speaker and presenter, you better keep the time. If you are someone that comes to an event and you have fifteen minutes and you talk twenty minutes, you’re most likely not to be invited again.

Does this rule also hold if you’re in Spain or Brazil?

No, but depending on the event. More as we have those events where there’s one speaker after the other and you can imagine. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been at an event, where the last speaker was removed because everybody has overtime throughout the day and they could not have the last one. This is very unprofessional and inconsiderate to your colleague speaker. If we want to be called professional speakers, presenters and team leaders, whatever position we have to learn to be on time.

I’m not talking about a multi-speaker event, but what if you are bringing training to a company in Latin America or the Mediterranean, where they’re not so excited about the time. How do you think about the time? I’m specifically asking because I have a colleague who did a speech in Brazil and she was very careful to finish on time. They were insulted that she didn’t stay and keep talking to them. She could have stayed for another hour and she was trying very hard to respect their time. They were insulted because they didn’t think she cared enough to stay and keep talking.

In Brazil, punctuality is almost nonexistent. I don’t know how well we manage it, but nobody is on time. For example, if it’s a social event, you would never expect it to begin on time. However, I would go back based on your questions and back to my first point, know your audience. Talk to the promoter of the event you’re coming and ask those questions, “Is this event starting on time? Will everybody be on time? Do I have more time afterward for a Q&A? Can I extend my call, my talk? How long can I speak?” These kinds of questions will give you enough information to know the type of event it is. In this global environment that we are all living, even if you say, “This is Brazil. Tulia said that they are never punctual. They are more flexible on time.” You might be at an event where that event organizer wants to keep everything on time. There are certain things that are part of the culture, but then assumption, the lesson to your friend is the mother of all screw-up. It’s asking those questions to minimize getting into those situations because, at networking, the social aspect of everything in Brazil is crucial for good business. If you come with your German mentality, for example, go straight to the business, you’re not going to do business with Brazilian.

SWGR 510 | Speaking InternationallyThe relationship is as important as the content.

Their relationship is even more important. Back in my time in Barcelona in 2008, I trained a group of entrepreneurs, business people, who are going to Brazil for business. They’re looking for opportunities there. One of the things that I mentioned because you might think Spanish, Brazilians, and Latin is all the same. The Spanish meet on the street. They socialize on the street, in the bars and the restaurants. They rarely will invite you to their house. If you are in a business, it will never happen, only after developing a relationship. While in Brazil, you come to Brazil. I am there in Brazil and I just met you. Most likely, I would say, “Elizabeth, come and have dinner at my house.” For you, it’d be like, “I don’t know this person. Should I go?” You better go because that is the first step to start building this relationship. I’ll share this to give the importance of this. There are cases where companies developed years of relationship. Let’s say, I’m there and you are in America and you are my contact for the company. The company sees that everything is developing well. You come to me and then say, “Tulia, as we are up and running effectively, Mary is going to be the content because she’s going to replace. I’m going to move onto something else.” That might break the relationship and bring it back to the start.

There is so much more that we could be asking you about, but I want to ask you about one more fun thing. You have spent some time walking the Camino de Santiago. What did you learn about business from walking the Camino? Can you tell us about that?

The Camino, I believe, as your community knows, it starts many parts of Europe towards Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It is very introspective, it is a pilgrimage. Although I didn’t do it with the religious aspect of it, I did it more in terms of going through an introspective path for a few weeks. I’ve learned during the Camino several of the lessons, but one I would like to share is that you have to find your pace in life. During the Camino, you see people go much faster than you and others are much slower. Sometimes, people go very fast. They’re the ones that are very slow because they keep their pace. They reached the destination in much better shape than the other ones who went too fast. That for me was the biggest learning at the beginning because it helps you to understand your body, your physiology, your pace, your breathing, your strengths and the resources you have. You have to find the moments in this Camino where you have to stop to recharge your energy to continue.

I can see how this connects to business.

In business, sometimes one of the first things we see is all these people passing by very fast and we think, “Look at her. Look at him. I’ve never been there. What’s going on with me?” You lose perspective, you lose track. On the Camino, the things that I’ve learned is about finding your pace. There’s a certain path that they require your full attention because there are lots of stones. They are very steep. It’s like one step after the other. You have to be fully there because if you’re not there, you might fall and you might have very serious accidents. These are the lessons in life and business that we need to be more present to look exactly where we are stepping, knowing that is one step after the other. We have our goals. It’s there, but sometimes we have even to move and detour because the path here, I’m not ready to cross for certain reasons. I’m going to have to go on a longer path because I found out it is too dangerous for me at that moment. These are the lessons that I brought with me and the Camino. They are so enriching and valuable that I hope I would continue.

SWGR 510 | Speaking Internationally


Tulia, where did you start walking the Camino? You weren’t in Spain all this time?

I started walking the Camino in Switzerland. My husband and I, we discovered that there are several paths that come from different parts of Europe until they join the border of Spain. We discover that there was one path coming from Switzerland. For ones, we take a look at the map of Switzerland and you see the Viator tour. We started there, which is the Northeast and we crossed the whole of Switzerland to Geneva down Southwest. From there, we continued through France. We stopped at 300 kilometers from the border of Spain. We still have 350 kilometers to go. We have walked around 700 kilometers.

Tulia Lopes, this is fascinating and there’s so much more I want to ask you. How can we find out more? How can we learn more about you?

You can check my website, There, you find all my activities, my training and the events that I organized. I’ll share with your audience that besides my training, I also have these two platforms, the AWE Summit and the Stand Up and Speak Up Challenge, which I give to my students, to my clients, and also to all the experts to get visibility and to communicate their message, share their talents with grace because our voice is needed out there.

Don’t forget to go over to our free assessment at You can see how your speaking talents are great, where you might need a little support and how you can get more information. Tulia Lopes, thank you so much for being with me. We’ll see you at the next one.

Thank you. It’s my pleasure.


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About Tulia Lopes

SWGR 510 | Speaking InternationallyTulia is a Communication Architect! She believes communication is the key to develop and excel in any field in life. She helps professionals, especially women, to de-construct their ineffective communication style and build one which exudes confidence and is fully aligned with their authentic talents.

As an architect, she was trained to translate thoughts into (physical) reality. This gives her the skills to read in between the lines of what people say and help them to find a way of expressing themselves in a clear and confident manner. Her experience in leading positions, together with being an entrepreneur for over 15 years, motivated her to support professional women to become more visible on stages globally.

In 2014 she founded the AWE Summit event to Give Voice to Women; and in 2017 she founded the Speak Up & Lead Academy – to help women to increase their confidence so they can raise their profile, become more promotable and position themselves as experts in their fields, and also become world-class speakers.

Tulia is the author of Leading in High Heels, and an international speaker on topics of communication, leadership, diversity, and inclusion, and women’s impact. She is also an award-winning speaker at European level at Toastmasters International. She has also been awarded at the WinTrade event in London this year for the continuous work in supporting women to find, own and unleash their voices.

“I’m a creator. If I don’t find a door, I build one.”