Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

12695279_1056623704380238_1847484206_oIn the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles. We have covered principle 1 and principle 2 in earlier posts.

Principle 3 is called

“I am more compassionate.”

 

As an intercultural coach I find it very important that you work with an open heart. This means that you show more compassion than the average person. If you have a friend or a relative in the family who is suffering from a health issue or less able to make a living than you are how about you spend a bit of time with that person and find out how you can help him or her. Another good way to show your compassion is by helping those who need support in our society: Children, elderly citizens, the homeless and refugees or migrants. Serving others with compassion is a spiritual exercise that will help you become more effective across cultures as well.

2nd (1)
In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles. We have covered the first principle in an earlier post.
The second principle is called

 “I watch my conclusion form other angles.”

It is easy to make a judgement without knowing the background and cultural assumptions behind certain behavior. If you want to become inter-culturally effective you need to learn to hold your judgement and watch your conclusion from different angles. It also helps to assume that the opposite of what you interpret could be true as well. So when you are experiencing a culture clash take note of what you believe is going on and then write down what else it could be.
When we look at discussions of the same event and read about this in newspapers with an opposing political view you see my point. You could read one journalist’s opinion and think “Yes, she has a point.”. The you read a contrary view on the events and you think “He is right as well.”. In intercultural competence we call this ability that you can deal with ambiguity. That is not always easy. Believe me. It’s a good exercise though.
Take a look at an intercultural clash experience you had. Write down conclusion A. Then write down the complete opposite. What is your experience from this exercise?
1st
In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles.
The first principle is grounded in the lost long art of trying harder and showing more patience. It is called:

“I try harder and show more patience.”

In Switzerland, we are obsessed with the concept of time. We believe in process improvement and efficiency. What I have learnt though is that in intercultural communication you cannot be efficient in the Western worldview sense of the world. You need to learn to be “inefficient” in order to achieve your goals. Achieving your goals is what you interact with people for in the business world. I am not talking about your personal life here. Let’s say you want to develop your business in India. You have a limited budget and limited resources. Also, your time is your most important resource.
Now, you want to be effective, which means you want to reach your goal in the intercultural communication with the least amount of effort and resources. This could be a contract or a deal. It would be short-sighted to only measure the end result, i.e. the signature of the deal as the process to get there will be different in India than in Switzerland. In many cultures in the world, it is important to build relationships before doing business so if you give up on your business partners because they have not bought your machines the first time you went there you might be losing a lot of good business opportunities.
For your initial business trip to India, your main target, therefore, should be to get to know your prospects and business partners from all angles of their lives. Understand what they are struggling with, what they like to do when they don’t work and meet their children. Take the time to learn about the Indian culture while you are there. Get more information on the societal status of your business partner and their religious background. Find out what they like from Switzerland and bring it. Invest in the relationship only. When they want to talk business they will let you know.
In every interaction with your Indian counterpart withhold your judgement. It might be that this person is moving a lot faster than you and has more responsibilities to tackle but you won’t notice that unless you meet them in person. Find out what their day looks like. Be personal and approachable.

Martina has not been able to find a new job for six months. It’s not because of her qualifications. She is well qualified. She has work experience. She says it might be her self-confidence and that she gets nervous in interviews. She thinks one of the reasons for her lack of success in securing a job is that she is very realistic about her skills and when asked in an interview she is honest.

Successful people aren’t honest.

That’s the message she got.

I think, successful people are not dis-honest, but they are better at conveying who they are and how they contribute to the world. They are better storytellers (and they don’t suffer from imposture syndrome).

You need to learn “Self-Marketing” and not just work away like an ant.

 

Secret

I have made the same mistake in my earlier career. I worked away and hoped that someone would notice. I saw male friends getting promotions faster, saw them earn more and some of my female colleagues also surpassed me. With a delay of a few years I did well too.

I think I only got better at communicating to my manager what I was doing and how I contributed to the success of the team. I asked for weekly meetings and sometimes even wrote quarterly summaries. I only had this idea because a former manager told me to communicate more. Had she not told me I would probably still sit in that same office.

Another manager showed me how to improve my self-marketing. She recommended a number of great books to me. She also gave me “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”. After reading the book, I resigned from my managerial role officially to start my own company Global People Transitions GmbH.

I care for Martina. I want her to succeed and do everything to help her but her story might be different than yours or mine.

Tell me how you show your contribution to the workplace on a weekly basis and if you want to discuss this please schedule a meeting with me.

 

[tweetthis]I think, successful people are not dis-honest, but they are better at conveying who they are and how they contribute to the world. They are better storytellers (and they don’t suffer from imposture syndrome).[/tweetthis]

Track
 
I’m teaching others how to do a two-minute elevator pitch. But, I’m less than perfect when it comes to pitching myself. I sometimes have to rush to an event and am not well prepared.
 
Once, I saw the issue coming when more and more other coaches (competition!) entered the hall. It was like a movie scene. The potential clients came streaming towards us as if they had actually put some thought into it. I ended up chatting with one woman. Then the coordinator asked us to pitch. I wanted to use storytelling but it did not fit into her structure and (damn!) I had not even written down what to say. It was a matter of not being prepared because I had no clue what to expect there.
 
I focussed on being relaxed and present in the moment.
 
I said, “I’m Angie Weinberger. I work with international professionals in Zurich and Basel and help them find work or start a business. And I recently discovered that I like nerds.”
 
A few giggles. I managed to make them remember me.
 
Out of 16 potential clients, I spoke to seven. Many referred to themselves as introverts or nerds. I’m not sure if any of these introverts will work with me but I had a great time. I thought “I will need to walk my talk on networking”. I, first of all, asked every woman if she had a business card. Only the last one had one.
 
Then I asked a few questions. Often I found that they needed a piece of information that I could easily send to them. I asked them for their email IDs. In such situations my mobile batteries are flat, so I wrote the email IDs into a notebook. This is old school but it worked. I also took notes on the information they gave about themselves.
 
I managed to take home six email ID’s and promised different follow-ups. This might not lead to any business but it was good practice for me and for them. It showed me again how many professionals go to an event unprepared.
 
You can make an impression at such an event only if you are a helpful resource and if you put your own agenda on hold. You want the new contact to remember you until you follow up with them. I stayed until the end. My feet and back hurt but I smiled on.

Robots, Recruiters, and Rain

I also feel even more empathic with you after this experience. “Selling” yourself is hard work. Most of the times, we do not learn to become a salesperson of our own professional package. Not only do we have to develop a great and consistent branding. The message has to be clear to a large target audience too. We will need to go through several filters of robots and recruiters. When we finally managed to land an interview it most certainly is a day with rain (or snow), we spill salad sauce on our freshly ironed shirt and the train is late for once. When you are in such a position, there is only one thing you can do: breath out, have a glass of still water and speak slow. Most of all: Be present.

Become a “Superstar” in your Niche

In order to get out of the sales position, you want to become a superstar so you are top-of-mind of a potential manager and do not really have to rely on the cumbersome application process. You want to be in a position where you come up in the top ten of the manager’s mind at least. Sheryl Sandberg wrote in “Lean in” that you need to write down your career goal as being #1 in a profession (globally). I am not saying that you have to be #1 globally but you might want to be in a top ten position in your geographical area and your niche. What’s the point of being #1 in Digital Media when you don’t want to move to Abu Dhabi, London or Texas for your next role? Let’s be optimistic and ambitious but stay a bit humble.

Learn to Become a Resource

You have tools, templates, and knowledge to share. You have experiences, tips and contacts you can help others with. Learn to become a resource as if everyone you connect with was a colleague or a friend. If you train your attitude you will learn that helping others as a default gives you satisfaction. And if you feel you have nothing to share you can always encourage the other person. We all need a little appreciation once in a while.

Change your Elevator Pitch Approach from Taker to Giver

My clients practice changing their elevator pitches. One of the key skills you have to learn to become a giver is to ask sensitive questions instead of talking all the time. Another skill is to listen. Check out other blog posts on networking approaches here.

 

If you need help with your elevator pitch or networking please set up a meeting with me.