I am currently in Paris, France running a series of two-day executive communication skills workshops for one of our top clients. The participants came from all over EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa.) In today’s workshop, we had executives from France, UK, Morocco, Italy, Portugal and Egypt. It was an outstanding group, and a thoroughly enjoyable day.
In my early morning preparation for the group (which I wrote about in my last post), I spent some time thinking about the most common objections/perceptions that people from other countries have about Americans. In order to do my job well, I need to connect with the participants in our workshops, build credibility, and persuade them to want to learn from me. So, I thought about how to achieve that.
As I looked at this list of participants, I realized that I had ties in one way or another to almost all the countries they represent. I did graduate work in the UK, and lived there for a year; I have been to France about twenty times, for business and pleasure; my family is from Italy, and I have traveled throughout the country; my wife and I have been to Portugal.
If you research the most common negative perceptions about Americans, one of the most frequently cited is that we are ignorant of the rest of the world, and only really care about America and American things. So in my introduction at the beginning of the day, I highlighted the global nature of our client base. And as they introduced themselves, I pointed out my connections to their home countries. I am not sure if they held that negative perception about Americans, but I decided to combat the possibility of this perception.
We had a great day. And the comment was made more than once that they appreciated the global perspective embedded in the course. And the point for you today is that if you can anticipate what your audience’s objections about you might be, look for simple and tasteful ways to combat those possible objections, resolve them, and connect.
Have a great day.