Seals the Deal
past the gatekeeper? Consider the direct
question, “Do you agree?” Your contact’s response implies agreement, but it
only indicates that you were heard, not
that any action will be taken.
• How can I communicate more effectively?
• What do I need to do more or less of
based on my natural style?
• What approach is culturally appropriate and effective?
So, you’re coming out of a dif- ficult decade to find that your business is re-inventing itself! Whether you are getting new business in the United States or globally, there are new
considerations for speakers with diverse
audiences—wherever you find yourself.
Speakers need to increase their aware-
ness and change their behaviors, Robert
Reich, UC Berkeley Professor and
former Secretary of Labor, wrote in his
book The Work of Nations. According to
Reich, “We are living through a trans-
formation that will rearrange the politics
and economics of the coming century.
There will be no national products or
technologies, no national corporations,
no national industries. There will no
longer be national economies … all of
that will remain rooted within national
boundaries are the people who comprise
Business leaders are challenged by
a rapidly changing marketplace, char-
acterized by overwhelming ambiguity,
confusing paradox, multiple definitions
of value and the need for rapid response
in a multicultural context.
As a speaker, that’s where you
Successful speakers know their value is
determined by the participants’ view of
their message, the context of that message
and the ability for the audience to imple-
ment changes based on that message,
whether cognitive, affective or behavioral.
Your message gets interpreted through the
filters of your audience, whether you’re in
the United States, India or Venezuela.
Assess: Identify and assess
You have been working with a referral
contact in Malaysia for six months and
have resubmitted your proposal four times.
Whenever you ask, “I believe this solution
will meet your expected outcomes. Do you
agree?” you hear the response, “Yes, you
have captured our thoughts very well.” But
you don’t get a signed contract.
It’s time to ask yourself:
• What’s going on here?
• What cultural values are involved?
• What might prevent clear
Apply: Use a culturally appropriate
Adapt/Adjust: Continue to adapt/
approach to the situation.
If you’re not communicating with the
real decision maker, how can you get
adjust your approach to increase
• Visit www.countrynavigator.com
to learn how to interact in various
• Can I ask my in-country contacts to
serve as a cultural liaison and review my
outline, approach and examples?
What cross-cultural techniques
were successful in the past?
What cultural challenges have I encountered in the past? Did I learn anything that
will ensure success in this presentation?
Apply the AAA approach to your
global business communications to
effectively bridge cultural barriers and
help your audience hear and implement
your message. After all, your role is to
help transform your audiences through
Amy Tolbert, PhD, CSP, is principal of ECCO (Effecting Creative Change in Organizations) International, specializing in developing global
competence and executive communications.
Dr. Tolbert is president of NSA-MN and a
best-selling author with HRD Press and a
Fellow at Carlson Executive Education. She has
authored diversity assessment tools and
Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity:
Pulling Your Head Out of the Sand. Visit http://