Сase studies
Prepare to succeed: how I trained company C-Level managers for the biggest event in their industry
My client is a big CIS-Asian IT company that provides IT solutions for hospitality. When we first met, it was a well-established medium sized business growing rapidly as hospitality was recovering after covid lockdowns. They started hiring employees both in the CIS and in Asia and expanding to 5+ new countries. Moreover, they decided to seize the opportunity of the booming market, and participate in one of the biggest events of the Asian hospitality industry – ITB Asia Trade Show in Singapore. The main goal of this business trip was to network with hotels and distributors, sign new contracts and, obviously, do business expansion. It was the first time the company brought so many employees (about 20) from very different offices (6 different countries) to a big international exhibition, and they faced some challenges on their way to professional international self-presentation.

Kristina Roppelt
Intercultural Communications
& Soft Skills Consultant
Problem
It was the first time the new team had to take part in a large-scale industry event. The cultural backgrounds were extremely diverse - there were people from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries. Most of them had never never been to Singapore before, let alone at such a big conference with this kind of diversity in terms of participants (more than 132 countries were represented!). I had to ensure the team’s success, despite cultural and linguistic barriers.
Solution
The 20 participants of the exhibition went through a series of 5 custom online workshops

The CEO received personal, 1 on 1 training to prepare him for the first major international keynote

I provided individual assistance during the event with simultaneous interpretation and training at the place
To ensure that the solution was tailored to the needs of the client as much as possible, I conducted a primary assessment with C-level managers, including the HRD, where we discussed the key goals of the company at the exhibition, carried out initial analysis of the team's communication skills and outlined existing trouble spots, not so obvious to the management. Then we went on to assess the team on core soft-skills: self-presentation, business English, small talk, promotion skills, etc.

Based on the trouble spots I created a series of online workshops for the team (20 people, who took part in the exhibition). My foreign colleagues visited all of them as a mock-audience and mock conversation partners. This helped the participants practice their newly-acquired skills and learn to understand different accents better.

I devoted special attention to preparing the CEO. During our private consultations we worked out the general message of the presentation and reworked it (some visuals, as well as text and images), so as to make his ideas match the expectations of the Asian audience. Moreover, we perfected his public speaking (including his posture, body language and breathing), worked on the wording, prepared for a Q&A session. Finally, we studied the best presentations of previous years to make his style and delivery more suitable for the audience.

The team and I reviewed all the materials the client was planning to bring to the exhibition: business cards, pamphlets, brochures, roll-ups and presentations. We gave our special recommendation about every piece of content with regards to its contents and design in general, as well as specific phrasing. Thus we ensured the Asian audience would understand them correctly.

Not only did I prepare the team for the event, but I also provided direct assistance in Singapore. We had small training sessions on the spot: icebreaking for the team that first saw each other IRL, distribution of roles between team-members, which was especially important for Asian employees. Furthermore, we prepared to answer tricky (including political) questions and learned how to avoid difficulties working with shy employees at the booth. The CEO and I also had the last rehearsal of his pitch, with the presentation receiving some finishing touches too. As an intercultural communication expert and a simultaneous interpreter, I assisted the team during a number of difficult negotiations, in particular with Indian and Japanese partners.

In the end, all the skills and knowledge acquired were assembled into post-workshop materials: a compilation of exercises and personal recommendations on how to enhance soft skills on your own. I also conducted a series of workshops right after the exhibition.
Results
The client had dozens of successful business negotiations in English, laid the groundwork for emigration abroad and relocated successfully. Not only did she have to simply make a resume, but she also ended her career at the previous job in an ethical manner, chose a country to relocate to, moved her assets abroad, found a place for her children to study, and bought real estate in a foreign country. In all these situations, we faced cultural barriers and successfully overcame them together. According to her review, during our sessions she didn’t just train her language and intercultural skills, but she had a chance to broaden her outlook on a multitude of life and business situations. We have been working together for two years already!
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