Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones
Avoiding a Blunder Down Under
G’day, mate! I’m often asked
“How do Americans work
in Australia?” Australia is a
beautiful holiday destination,
with friendly people and a
strong speaking industry.
But, the fact of the matter is, regardless
of whether you’re working in Australia
or any other country in the world,
unless you are an established International speaker or author, you will be
viewed as competition.
Most countries aren’t interested in
promoting someone who is going to fly
in, fly out, and take business from the
local market. If you’re really serious
about generating business in Australia,
you should be prepared to actually live
there for a period of time. There are
plenty of speakers who have successfully mastered business overseas; for
example, Australia natives Amanda
Gore, CSP, N een James, ASM, and “Mr.
Body Languag e” Allan Pease, CSP.
Making a name for yourself
certainly takes time and determination, but it’s definitely
feasible if you’re ready to
put the effort into it.
Here are some strategies
to get you started:
the Aussies. If you
think you can
fly in, meet
get work, you’re
wrong. You have
to make friends
before you make
requests, so it’s
important to allow
yourself the time to
Learn the Lingo
in the Land of Oz
• Oz: Australia
• Mate: friend
• Uni: university
• Bloke: man, guy
• Toilet: bathroom
• Bloody: very
• Click: kilometer
(“it’s just 10 clicks away”)
• Outback: interior, remote country
areas of Australia (“the bush”)
acclimatize the culture and speak to
experienced speakers who know and
understand the local scene.
Do your homework. Contact all
the bureaus, professional conference
organizers and event managers ahead
of time. Make sure to send an email or
give them a call prior to sending
your marketing materials so they
don’t end up as spam. If you
really want to impress them,
let them know how long you
plan to stay in the country.
Get hooked up. One
option for generating over-
seas business is to hook up
with an international seminar
organizer and go on tour.
The hours are long and
lonely, and the reward
is marginal, but you’ll
be getting paid to
generate your own
a presentation for your
U.S. clients who have
overseas operations, and then give the
business to a selected bureau to handle
on your behalf. The result is an instant
Be specific. Focus on the industry
that is the best fit for you and go with
it. Create industry-specific marketing
materials and double-check that the
jargon is appropriate Down Under.
Sell yourself. Present your specific area
of expertise and convince them of your
value, but be sure to outline the clients and
industries you’ve worked with, emphasize
bureau relationships and explain how your
services will benefit their market.
Create an edge. Illustrate the positive
changes you can make as a result of audiences working with you. Show prospective clients what you can bring to the
table that isn’t already available.
Work before play. Be prepared to work
at the local market rate until you are
an established speaker in high demand.
Once your reputation is established, you
can raise your rate.
Australian audiences may look similar
to what you’re used to, but I assure you
they are very different. They have great
respect for high achievers, but low tolerance for mushy stuff. Don’t expect a
standing ovation as they are few and far
See you Down Under!
Ron Tacchi, CSP, is a New York
native who has been based in
Sydney, Australia, for over 35
years. He is widely recognized
with over 3,000 presentations
and numerous industry awards. Ron established his own bureau 17 years ago and
recently merged with the Saxton Group,
Australia’s first speakers’ bureau. For more
information, visit www.saxton.com.au/