This article is piece written by Barry Tomalin, Cross Cultural Lead, Fortis Consulting London. He is also a Lecturer at the Academy of Diplomacy & International Governance, Loughborough University London and a Visiting Lecturer at the London School of Economics
(Barry will be delivering the Business Cultural Trainer’s Certificate course, January 28/29 and May 6/7. This intensive two day course will equip attendees with the knowledge and practical knowhow to design and deliver cross-cultural training inputs. This course will appeal to people already working inside companies/organisations and those individuals looking to supply this service to companies, organisations, groups or individuals.)
Before I give a course to a client I always ask them to fill in a pre-seminar questionnaire. Analysing results, it is interesting how the same requirements appear again and again. These illustrate some key things intercultural consultants need to ensure they take into account in their training.
1. How to avoid causing offence in new markets
This indicates the client’s sensitivity to the need to build good relationships. Causing offence covers etiquette issues such as meeting and greeting, dress code, gift giving and hospitality but it also causes organisational issues such as decision making.
2. Different approaches to business in new markets
These are key issues for managers seeking to understand new markets. How to contact, use of agents/facilitators and how to run projects are all part.
3. How to adapt my management style to other people
Often cited by managers already in business relationships with companies in new markets, it covers such areas as personal relationships and how to manage your manager, quite often personal issues which may only arise in the seminar.
4. How to improve communication and understanding with managers in other countries
This request often highlights misunderstandings over emails, telephone and video conferences but also face-to-face meetings and negotiations. Practical advice on all these issues is valued.
5 The most common issues of cultural awareness and how to overcome them
This general requirement often masks personal issues. Discuss personally with the manager concerned, preferably in private during breaks.
There are other issues we can discuss, including many that relate more to specific markets, such as how to deal with gender issues. However, ensuring you have researched the requirements above will go a long way to ensuring a successful seminar.
Don’t get stuck. Get trained!
Fortis Consulting London provides a range of services to assist with international trade: