Controlling cultures, countries and comfort zones
Doing Business in Korea
There’s a Korean proverb, “If you want to catch the tiger, you have to go into the tiger’s cave.” So, if you want to be a successful inter- national speaker, you have
to speak to a lucrative market like Korea.
Korean businesses welcome high-cal-iber international speakers who deliver
cutting-edge information. In particular, they want to learn all they can
about the United States and its business
culture in a fun, entertaining manner
from the same speakers who present
to American audiences. NSA member
Mark Victor Hansen, of Chicken Soup
for the Soul fame, is just one of many
best-selling authors who delights audiences in Korea.
In Korea and Asia, people want
information on topics that are current
and relevant in the United States.
Whatever is popular in the United
States will gain popularity worldwide.
To illustrate, when the highly publicized self-help book, The Secret, was
launched, its popularity emerged in
Korea a few months later.
If you want to be a popular speaker
in Korea, follow these seven tips:
1. Speak on “hot” topics to your
Korean market. (See sidebar below.)
2. Speak from your own experience
rather than theory. Audiences love to
hear good stories based on personal
3. Tell your Korean clients what large
companies you have worked for in
the past. They want to feel like they
are in the same league with other
4. Infuse fun and humor into your presentation, but don’t worry if your
Korean audience does not laugh. It’s
not their custom or nature.
5. Use PowerPoint® to engage your
audience. It’s easy to follow and you
can incorporate interesting graphics
6. Greet clients and audiences with a
Korean welcome. “An nyung ha se
yo” means “hello.” “Kamsahamnida”
means “thank you.”
7. Know Korean history. Do some
research to uncover interesting facts;
for example, Korea was invaded
more than 900 times in its 5,000-year
history, but it has maintained its traditional music and art. In the mid-15th
century, King Sejong the Great commissioned Korea’s current written
language, Hangul, to help commoners
read and write. Linguists have praised
its structure because of its phonemic
correlation with the spoken language.
Don’t expect a lot of questions from
your audience. Even though attendees
are interested in your topic(s), it’s not
common practice to raise questions.
As a bilingual Korean-American,
I still compete with Korean speakers
who are savvy about Korean business.
To gain a competitive edge, I capitalize on my strengths; namely, using my
entertaining presentation skills to bring
innovative ideas from the Silicon Valley
to my Korean audiences. Koreans view
Americans as fun and creative, so be
sure to convey that image when you’re
on stage in Korea.
Balance life and happiness
Top Topics in Korea
Green environmental issues
Jinsoo Terry, M.S., is the first
Korean-American member of
NSA. She is the author of
Jinsoo: Succeeding in
America the Jinsoo Way, and
the best-selling Korean management book,
Catch the F.U.N. Jinsoo has worked with the
South Korean government and leaders
worldwide who want to learn how to do
business in the United States. She also speaks
to young professionals and managers in
America on how to work and succeed in this
diverse country. Visit www.Jinsoo Terry.com.