times across the world, with many people
rofession is about building bridges. By reach-bal colleagues, we can expand our platforms
ether than any of us dreamed possible. ■
You should both commit to contribute to marketing. Obviously, the firm in the host country
takes the bulk of that role. Dirk’s company targeted customers and clients in the host country
and sent out promotional materials. Jennifer shared marketing information with relevant
contacts in Europe. In addition, as the visiting speaker, be willing to provide content for the
host speaker’s website and blog posts as promotion gears up.
We did have one amusing experience related to marketing. Jennifer checked Dirk’s
website, which was in German, to read the posted marketing copy and she ran it
through Google Translate. There, in big letters, next to her photo was the speech title:
“The Art of Breastfeeding.”
She didn’t know what led Dirk to believe that she was a breastfeeding expert. While
she did have some experience in the practice years before when her daughters were babies,
she certainly didn’t teach classes on the topic and wasn’t planning on doing that in Berlin!
After sending Dirk a panicked email with the subject header, “Dirk – we need to talk!” we
straightened out the misunderstanding. The name of one of Jennifer’s talks contained the word
“quiet” (stillen), which in German can mean quiet or breastfeeding. Whew! Crisis averted.
The lesson here? Don’t underestimate the language barrier. Language can connect us,
but it can just as easily pull us apart.
Delivering a training program together offers great opportunities for mutual
learning. If you have a translator, be sure to meet with them ahead of time to
review the terms you will be using. Our translator prepared a glossary of words
in English and German to help him in his delivery. Also tune in to cultural
differences and use your host to help you navigate those.
At one point, there was a great deal of vigorous discussion in which people were challenging each other. Dirk explained that this was quite normal in
German training, so Jennifer went with the flow. We consulted with each other
throughout the five days and flexed some of the design to fit the needs of the
group. At one point, we decided to designate one of the breakout rooms as a
“quiet room” for people to take breaks, and the group appreciated it. This “on the
spot” communication between partners is critical to a successful collaboration.
Build on the partnership.
The true benefit of your partnership comes from
building on that relationship in the months and
years to come. Look for other ways to collaborate.
Dirk and I presented a program at Influence 2018 for
CSPs to share our experience and hear from others. Consider how you can scale your work. We are
working on delivering additional programs in other
locations across Europe.
Debrief after the program.
Don't wait too long after you present before reviewing the
program. We recommend asking four questions of yourselves
to help you learn from the experience.
What worked well?
What didn’t work well?
What could you do differently next time?
What have you learned about speaking internationally?
One lesson we both took away is that we need to invest in a
more experienced translator the next time we run a weeklong
program. Our translator did a good job but became fatigued
on the final days.