Imagine you are on business abroad and are invited to dine out. You are tempted to try the local delicacies, but just not too confident in the language to be able to order wisely in front of your more sophisticated new business partners. But wait, why not use your mobile to discretely take a picture of the menu and get an automatic translation? At last, the age of the cyber waiter has arrived.

This was just one of the recent advances in communication technology which was announced at a world congress on mobile phones.

The launch of the new application, which along with a host of other functions, will enable diners to obtain instant translations of menu items - irrespective of which country or language they find themselves baffled in or by - uses image to text translations. Through time, the application will also translate road signs, and will even tackle novels.

By using optical character recognition technology to scan printed words, the mobile application converts the image to computer text. It's as simple as ABC.

However, for anyone who has been tasked with communicating to a diverse culture audience, it is common knowledge that a successful pitch is never as straightforward as relying on text and pictures alone. When delivering a PowerPoint presentation, for example, your approach will depend just as much on how you communicate with your audience non verbally as on what appears on screen.

Working with other people can be especially difficult within a group which is culturally diverse. Everything you say: how you say it, when you say it, where you say it - reveals more than you realise about you and your cultural background.

Communication in today's workplace is more difficult than ever because of the growing numbers of minority groups entering the workforce. It is, therefore, inevitable that you will encounter communication barriers. Language barriers and cultural misunderstandings can often get in the way of effective communication, so it is important to develop expertise in cross-cultural communication. The following tips will help you to improve your cross-cultural communication skills, especially when delivering a PowerPoint presentation.

A natural communication style is characterised by idiom, colloquialisms, slang and rapid delivery. This style can build rapport and create solidarity in a monocultural setting. However, in diverse environments it can unintentionally exclude. Try to use language that is inclusive by avoiding slang, jargon and acronyms or give clear explanations of any you do use.

Always try to speak clearly and use familiar words and repeat important messages if necessary. If you can, try to pause to check with your audience that they can understand you, and your pronunciation and accent. And always be aware that some people need time to mentally translate into their first language, particularly if you use conceptual or abstract language.

Once you have prepared the content of your PowerPoint presentation, take care to remember the basic skills of what works and what doesn't when delivering to a wider audience.

Direct eye contact is considered rude in some cultures so make sure you are aware of where this applies. Is an emotional display usual, for example, as in Italian culture? Or is it considered embarrassing, or even rude, as it might be in the UK? Periods of silence might be expected during you presentation, and can be respectful in Japan, but can be awkward, as in the US.

Do all spoken or written communications require detailed or concise information? In the US, the preference tends to be for concise, to the point information, which is in stark contrast to the Chinese preference for more in-depth, detailed information.

Don't change direction when you are making asides during your presentation, but talk about one topic at a time.

Do your research before you present to the audience and find out how people greet and address each other in other cultures. For example, bowing in Japan, shaking hands in the UK and US, and cheek kissing in France. Also find out if it is appropriate to address your audience by their first name when talking on a one-to-one, or by their surname only, or Mr, Herr, Ms, Mademoiselle, etc.

Always think about the impression you give by how you look during the presentation. Are you expected to dress informally or formally? In some cultures, informal dress implies a lack of respect for the business being discussed.

Obviously people often make judgements on others based on their own beliefs and values. A basic understanding of cultural diversity is the key to effective interpersonal communication: seeing people from their cultural perspective will give you a better idea of who they are and not what you think they are.

And remember, when trying to create an informal ambience that some jokes, words, expressions or phrases may be offensive to people with a different background to you.

The secret really is to practise. The more you communicate with other people from a range of cultures, the better you will become at communicating and delivering a presentation. Even in the age of effortless technology, it's better to use this skill and not to be lost in translation.