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Monday, August 17, 2015

Get a Translator for Xie Xie’s Sake

Written by Ira Koretsky
We laugh, we wince, and we empathize…sometimes. We all receive the emails and telephone calls from non-native English speakers. It’s easy to tell the legitimate from the fake. I received the email pictured below a few days ago from Flora Lawrence, her self-titled non de plume. Flora is from India and the way the email is written gives me considerable pause. As such, this is more of an extreme example of what not to do. This tip of the week is for the legitimate professionals and organizations doing business in countries with different languages. Since Flora’s first email subject line…
As an Army veteran (that's me in the picture many years ago), I'm a member of several military and veteran LinkedIn groups. Recently someone posted a nice article titled, "19 Terrible LinkedIn Mistakes You're Making." Several of the commenters were adamant in keeping a military-style profile picture. And I "adamantly" disagree. And this is true of everyone. You should ONLY use a professional photograph - "No spouses, no friends, no boats, no dogs..." Here's the comment I left.  "If you are using LinkedIn to transition out of the service, then you really should have a corporate-style photograph. No spouses, no…
Imagine you are delivering your standard 60-minute presentation. Your audience will understand most of what you say quickly, appreciate your humor (hopefully...), assume your body language is coordinated with your talking points, recognize the use of appropriate colors for the points (e.g., red is a problem area while green is a positive area), and more. Not always true with international audiences. When speaking internationally, successfully engaging your audiences becomes more complex. You have to account for differences in greetings, customs, traditions, hand gestures, colors, and more. One common custom is to thank a variety of people – the host, guests,…
Do you think about what you say when talking? Of course you do. Do you think about your voice and your body language as well? Few people do. When you speak, you are using your words, voice, and body. For most people, the blending of these components comes natural. What doesn’t come natural is how to purposefully use each of these three separately and together to heighten drama, improve rapport, emphasize points, and a lot more… Going forward, I’d like to encourage you to think differently and think deliberately about how you use your words, voice, and body. For this…
While working with a client, I discovered something quite amazing and funny. Here’s what happened (short story version)… My engagement was to help Ed (name changed) and his executive team to improve their influence and thought leadership. One of the easy fixes was to update their much-to-casual photos. In turn, the photos would be posted to touch points like their website, LinkedIn®, Twitter, blog, etc. I encouraged Ed to hire a professional photographer. My next meeting with Ed was focused on his LinkedIn profile. I went to the website and downloaded his new photo, which looked the first picture below…
Cultural differences are sometimes easy to see, understand, and adopt. Others, not to easy. If you are traveling to another country or interacting with an audience with different cultural backgrounds, be sensitive to language, humor, traditions, and taboos. For this tip of the week, let’s focus on hand gestures. There are many nuanced and obvious hand gesture differences. Research the country thoroughly to avoid embarrassment as well as the potential for your audience to focus on the "wrong" things rather than your message and you. Purchase books, ask your local embassy for advice, and use your network to meet/talk with…
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