Trainer Resources – 4 Actions To Help You Avoid A Training Day from Hell – Protecting Yourself In The Classroom – by Matthew Hill

How can you prevent horrible feedback, crazy conflict and difficult delegate behaviour?

We have all been there. It starts with a funny feeling in your stomach and then a look or comment from one of the alphas in the room. What is happening? you ask. Am I loosing the room? Lunch is tense and then, there comes an excuse why a few people don’t give in their paper feedback forms at the end of the day. You leave feeling that you put in plenty of effort but that, somewhere along the way, you and the room parted company and were travelling along different roads.

Group Of Businesspeople Gossiping

Horrible Feedback is Horrible

The next day you receive a troubled E Mail from your L&D contact within the company or the provider who supplied you with the subcontract day. And it is all bad news from then on in.

There follows a list of your “crimes” and how negative and upset the room were. Etc. etc. etc.

STOP

It does not have to end like this. Let us make the classroom safe for you again with 4 simple actions…

  1. Rules of Engagement

I always offer up an agreement at the beginning of a training day, coaching or even a speaking engagement. It shows professionalism and represents a light negotiation with the audience where they have a chance to shape the experience they expect and sign up to some rules emotionally. Ultimately, they will get more from you and your session.

My favourite one is, “Be Teachable”. It sounds simple and is profound. Do they think they know this stuff already? Will they have strong opinions about your content? Have they been brainwashed with stereotypes and are poised to attack?

By asking them to take a fresh look and let the material in, you are setting up a space that will allow for maximum exchange with minimum conflict. (Civilised challenge is allowed and even encouraged – Not disruptive conflict.)

And, when we add, “Respect Each Other”, you are sending a deep message about honour and civilised behaviour that will sink into the unconscious minds of the tricky participants and so protect yourself by raising THEIR self- awareness.

  1. Facilitate more than Tell

In these modern times, spraying theory at bored pupils will no longer be accepted. The room now want their share of the microphone and to tell their story.

Interrupt less, correct less and listen more.

Listen at a deeper level and add constructive input at the end. No more death by detail, 75 word slides and learning by rote. Now we are flipping the classroom with interactive exercises and intelligent debriefing. The less you say the more the class will enjoy your session.

  1. Less Essentialist and More Co – Constructed.

I still meet Interculturalists who can’t wait to put flags all over bi-polar dimensions, talk about China and India as if they were homogenous monocultures and peddle sophisticated stereotype as if it where going to help a remote team or diverse group dealing with the stresses and strains of an urgent and important project.

Let us take some responsibility upon ourselves to keep up with the modern world.

  1. Your Authentic Story

Your delegate’s exposure to Social Media and Netflix box sets has whetted their appetite for compelling narrative (and it better be as real as possible.)

Converting your personal experience into useful stories that carry a transferrable wisdom is a great way to engage your audience, build rapport with the group and get them on your side.

Dig to find a relevant story and share it at the right moment. Not too long and told from a humble or witty perspective. Keep the story light, though the meaning may be deeper.

So, with these 4 tools, we can avoid the alpha challenge that signals the end of learning for the day and the start of an awkward defence of your training style and content.

Go save a life – Yours.

Good luck with your next group session…

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural trainer, coach and author.

Contact him at hillmatthew100@mac.com

 

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Energetic Volunteer Wanted, 28th – 30th June 2018, Lisbon Portugal – €150 Cash.

The Intercultural Training Channel is running a marketing event for Intercultural trainers and coaches in lovely Lisbon in Portugal.

We are actively seeking a volunteer “runner” – Probably an enthusiastic student, to help set up the room in the Vintage Hotel and Spa at the start of each training session, marshal the participants back from their breaks (special persuasion skills required), hand out papers, workbooks etc., operate recording equipment, fetch lunch & drinks, take notes, etc.

Lisbon Historical City Panorama, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

The venue is the new Vintage Hotel and Spa, Lisbon

The runner role is not paid, however we will give you €150 toward your time & expenses. You will be welcome to learn as much as you can in the room with the interculturalists. Probably someone with a marketing, intercultural or social media interest would benefit most from this experience.

The training is IN ENGLISH.

Interested?

Please feel free to contact me and we can talk about the role in more detail.

Thanks,

Matthew

Matthew Hill

The Intercultural Training Channel

Web; culture99

hillmatthew100@mac.com

+44 7540659995

 

Deeply Disconnected: Our public and private selves (and our brains) in the age of continuous connectivity with Sue Shinomiya

A film of the Webinar

Creating connectedness – with myself, among people, in the world – is one of my deepest desires. As practitioners, we share a responsibility to bridge across cultural differences and bring people together. And yet, all too often, I experience the exact opposite: feeling deeply disconnected. Why does it hurt so much? It doesn’t help that the boundaries and parameters around what is private and what is public seem to have shifted. Is “sharing” the same as connecting, and have we become addicted? The social media and technology that’s supposed to connect us has also made us keenly aware of stark differences. For me, for our community, for humanity, and for this planet, disconnection in an interdependent world is not sustainable. How can recent neuroscience discoveries inform us about the complex social and emotional dilemmas that we face, especially as we navigate and bridge across cultures and differences? In this talk, we trade stories, new theories, ideas and reflections, and ask some thought-provoking questions for you to ponder.

See the film at; https://youtu.be/cjaFtBM2vqQ 

About the Speaker Sue Shinomiya

Ms. Shinomiya, MBA, of Global Business Passport empowers global professionals to connect, lead and succeed across cultures and differences. She is a leading expert and published author on Japanese culture and business. Her current work includes high-energy, engaging programs – live and virtual – related to Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe, as well as a range of business programs on leading and getting things done effectively and respectfully in an increasingly global, diverse and complex world of work. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty Member of Portland State University’s Masters in International Management program, and has enthusiastically served on the Board of Directors of SIETAR-USA.

Quote from Sue: “I firmly believe in the power of connecting with others, respecting both similarities and differences, as a means towards creative achievement, and a broader, more fulfilling human experience.”

Sue Shinomiya

Interculturalist and Japan Expert Sue Shinomiya

We hope you enjoy the film.

The Journey to Harmony in a Small French Town – The Story of Mozaiq with Natalie Lutz 

A Film of the Webinar

This unique recording tells the story of turning a small French town experiencing local attitudes of division, hatred and fear into a more harmonious community displaying cooperation and healthy levels of co-existence.

Listen to Natalie’s tale as she experiences push back, frustration and resentment before finally breaking through to something worthy and, possibly repeatable, in YOUR town too.

Natalie Lutz

Interculturalist Natalie Lutz

About the Speaker – Natalie Lutz has been helping executives and international corporations understand cultural differences and work effectively together for over 25 years. Born and raised French-American, she is bilingual, bicultural and has lived in 4 countries. She trains consults and facilitates sessions on:  Working in a Multicultural environment, Leadership, and Expatriations to France and the USA as well as Team-building.

In 2010 she created and co-founded Mozaiq, an association dedicated to celebrating diversity in a small town outside of Paris. Each year she and her team put on 4 events including a Diversity Day which repeatedly draws crowds of more than 700 participant

To access the YouTube film click here; https://youtu.be/F6lUGzWikEg  

Hard Sweaty Workouts – A Cultural Metaphor from Malii Brown

A film of the webinar – Malii has developed an idea that borrows from the sweaty physical space of the gym and applies it to benefit a diverse group of people working together and wishing to raise their level of cultural competence as it shows up in process, inclusion and equity. She is talking to YOU.

In this one-hour film (no yoga mat required), Malii expands upon her creative ideas and tells us how high-intensity interval training can be learnt, practiced and applied to good effect. So grab a pen, paper and your water bottle and plug in to enjoy this unique intellectual and emotional workout.  Click on the link to watch the film now; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPXVXAXh0oI

Malii Brown

Speaker and Trainer, Malii Brown

About the Speaker – Malii Brown is a trainer and consultant working globally and stateside to equip people with skills to manage the complexities and opportunities inherent to work and life in culturally diverse environments. She has 12 years training experience including Fortune 500 companies, institutions of higher learning, state government and nonprofits.

Malii offers a unique perspective to cultural work as a Millennial woman of color who has worked and travelled throughout the U.S. and 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. She has varying proficiency in English, Spanish, Japanese and American Sign Language (ASL) and holds a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Management from SIT Graduate Institute (School for International Training) in Vermont, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College in California. She now lives in Chicago.

 

SIETAR Europa Congress – Valencia – Observations

This year’s congress felt large, professional and inclusive. Set in the city, drama and history of Valencia almost 400 people gathered to experience the breadth and depth of some of the best presentations we’ve experienced in recent times.

Panorama of  Placa del Ajuntament with City Hall  in evening. Valencia, Spain

Panorama of Placa del Ajuntament  –  City Hall

At some points, the delegate’s choice was what to MISS across an array of talent filling 7 parallel presentation steams.

Highlights for me were Dr. Sonsoles Morales and her witty and powerful introduction to Unconscious Bias, Dr. Jackie van der Kroft with her exploration of Non Violent Communication and Dr. Noor Azizan-Gardner’s insightful overview of diversity and inclusion within an American university setting. I felt busy rushing to 14 presentations but that meant not seeing more than 90 other contributions in a packed and varied schedule.

Of the key notes – Thiagi held our attention with his humble authority, present wit and his naughty truths.

On a personal note, seeing the documentary about Dr. Geert Hofstede went some way to reconcile the range of strong feelings about the man and his work. Films were presented at the Rialto Cinema in the Ajuntament Plaza as part of the film festival organised by Dr. Marianne Van Eldik Thieme.

The ADEIT Fundacion Universitat-Empressa de Valencia provided an impressive learning space with modern facilities and a wonderful outdoor patio for breaks and the cocktail party.

There is always a little moaning to be heard at any Congress. This time it was about the use of more than one site for the presentations, the lunch and a little drama at the Gala dinner. For me this adds flavour to the story and is to be expected when 400 paying customers attend an event organised by volunteers.

On a personal note, the appointment of Manuel Garcia Ochando has enabled SIETAR Europa to gain a new level of quality and the dynamic committees seemed to have successfully focused the varied voluntary contributions into concrete Congress results. Notable hard workers amongst many hard workers include; Pari Namazie, Barbara Covarrubias Venegas and Joe Kearns.

SIETAR Europa Congress Gala Venue

SIETAR Europa Congress Gala Venue

Praise and thanks go to Dr. Livi Thompson for the unenviable task of “herding cats” and bringing together the opinions and ideas of more than 50 volunteers.

The sad feeling of leaving Valencia and the SIETAR family was softened by meeting so many delegates at the airport and sharing a plane back to London in the company of Richard Lewis – that man is never dull!

There are calls for a different SIETAR Europa event to occur before the Congress in Dublin May 2017. Let us see what emerges…

Trainer Resources – 6 Ice Breaker Exercises for Intercultural Trainers

Here are 6 high energy ice breaker training exercises that will work well for intercultural facilitators wishing to get a group to interact together, explore their communication styles and to promote the process of self-refection.

They are mostly light on equipment and quick to set up (the last one requires a little more effort the first time you prepare it.)

Please feel free to try them out and tell us how you get on…

  1. Helium Stickhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXI-C4jQXVk

Thanks to The Works Manager for making and showing the film.

Equipment – A tent pole or flip chart sheet rolled up diagonally for maximum length.

Ice Breaker Training Exercises

Ice Breaker Training Exercises

  1. The Ball Game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rva3wRvpS_4

Thanks to Rhema Resource Centre for filming and showing the film.

Equipment – Juggling balls, Stopwatch.

  1. Potato Icebreakerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrWVqLzNywA

Thanks to Anna Sabramowicz for the demonstration and talking us through the debrief.

Equipment – Potatoes and strong drinking straws.

Originator; Ken Bellemare ‪http://www.kenbellemare.com/

  1. Blindfold Team Pen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eajjqotwsF4

Equipment – Blindfolds, Marker Pen, Duct Tape

Sample instruction – Draw “Unity + a Smiley”

  1. The Coin Gamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaUzvtleCSU

Thanks to Rob Jackson at Magnovo for the talk through.

Equipment – Handful of coins handed out – one to each participant.

  1. Human Bingo / Diversity Bingo / Get to know you Bingo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw41k-a77FQ

Thanks to Paul Holdsworth – English for Asia for making and showing the film.

Equipment – 1 A4 sheet per participant with 4 X 4 box table containing questions.

Debrief – Here the facilitator can illicit observations, thoughts and feelings from the participants.

Fun – Who enjoyed the exercise? What was enjoyable? What appealed to you most? Were there any surprises? Who did NOT enjoy it? What were the negative aspects of this game for you?

Process – What was this exercise about? What do you think the inventor was trying to achieve? How did you do it? What was the biggest obstacle? How did you overcome the biggest obstacle? What helped you to succeed? What released the energy for you.

Motivation – What did you feel at the beginning? What was the low point of the exercise for you? Do you feel you have achieved something? Would you like to do this again? Do you know anyone who would like to do this exercise? And Why?

Reflection – People approach this task in different ways – Why do you think you did it the way that you did it? Did other participants do it a different way? Why did they do it that way? What part did diversity / culture play in your different approaches?

We wish you well in trying out these icebreakers. Good luck and do feel free to share your results and stories.

“Are you for REAL?” Language as a window to our soul – Matthew Hill

bubble of communicationNext year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of the Iron Curtain. This year I found myself in many training rooms with people whose parents were most affected by these changes.

A common legacy from those times is an abundance of negative language, even from the mouths of employees in dynamic global companies. I thought it pertinent to revisit negative language and ask, “What’s really going on?”

  1. Stress test

From my time in the Czech Republic a generation ago I finally worked out what the excess of questioning, pessimism and doubtful language really signified. The Soviet context had been one of low expectations, cynicism and a constant diet of untruths disseminated via radio, television and newspaper. When the new country invaders from Germany, France UK and America arrived, their language of promises, short-term sacrifice and future riches must have sounded sickeningly familiar.

Over time it became clearer that the doubting questions, the need for proof and the hesitation were intended to stress test the foreigner’s promises. So the reframe for negative language heard in those times was a simple question, “Are you for REAL?”

  1. Science

Entropy describes the universe in its inexorable journey towards chaos and randomness. Pessimists are often closer to the mark with predictions of the future than their optimistic counterparts. The second reframe of negative language can be to see it as the pure and selfless pursuit of accurate forecasting!

  1. Change

I was working with a large group of people from Central and Eastern Europe recently and, as we began an American open form group exercise, I was hit by a wave of resistant language, critical questions and dire predictions. These individuals were subject matter experts and had been ripped out of their home environment and resettled in downtown London.

The context is important. Their reluctance to perform this random task was a reflection of their hesitation to embrace the change that they faced. They were cautious, fearful and their language betrayed their inhabiting something like a childlike state of not knowing.

  1. A good old moan

There is comfort and a bonding warmth to be found in having a moan, gossiping or whinging about shared circumstances. It is a large part of British small talk and I encounter it frequently when travelling to a new country and meeting a new training group. This seems to be a social attempt to unify diversity through articulating common themes and so building a temporary harmony that fosters the conditions in which a relationship can form. This of course comes with the caveat that it is frequently used for political ends in economically challenging times to unify disparate people to hate one minority, foreigners in general or the government of the day.

  1. Forced positivity

If I were to control your working hours communication with the directive that all of your words have to be optimistic, positive and upbeat, would you comply? For a lot of people this is a reality and their answer is yes. A couple of years ago I used to meet socially with a group of guys from a very famous American pharmaceutical company that pursued this linguistic policy.

What struck me as funny and a little tragic was that, under social circumstances in a Twickenham pub, the other side of their lexicon came out in a torrent. It’s as if, for every forced positive phrase, one negative phrase had to be uttered later to restore their inner peaceful balance.

  1. Permitted negativity.

There are 2 examples that stick in my mind. The first are some famous fictional detective figures that have full permission from society to be grumpy old men. Their surly belligerence is portrayed as a essential part of sleuthing genius and their tortuous ability to always get their man.

The second example is much more dangerous. In my UK trainings it is the overtly racist exchanges between English and French executives or the permitted taunts between groups of men and groups of women. The third horror is to be found in the inter-departmental jibes as, for instance, between sales and marketing.

Under the guise of banter, badinage and permitted cheek, these exchanges seem intended as proof of a trusting in-group bond but feel sadly like a rain of micro-inequities and acts of aggression.

Conclusion

Negative phrases provide a fabulous opportunity to ask, “What lies beneath the surface conversation?” Certainly from my time in the Czech Republic it was possible to separate the human from their words and the human’s intention from their deeper fears.

Matthew Hill is an author, trainer, coach and public speaker.

How to Be an Excellent Intercultural Trainer – Part 1 by Cathy Wellings

The little girl and booksHere is the first in a series of articles on how to be an excellent intercultural trainer. Cathy has worked in the field of intercultural training for over ten years collaborating with numerous global corporate and public sector organisations. As well as delivering training herself, Cathy has worked closely with client decision makers to establish training needs and has also hired and observed many, many intercultural trainers worldwide.

Part 1 – Have a Healthy Relationship with the Theory

  • Know your stuff – it goes without saying that to be an expert in your field you need to have a solid understanding of the academic research and literature. Know the value and as well as the limitations of the models. Then you can make your own call as to if or when you use these models. Long gone are the days when intercultural training could be based purely on personal experience and anecdote but, if like many trainers, you are not convinced by the universal validity of the well known dimensional models, explore more recent research and bring in models from other disciplines if and where appropriate.
  • Use the theory wisely and sparingly – remember that this might be all new for your clients so a visual representation of a model that seems tired and clichéd to you could be a helpful eye-opener to participants in your training room. No model has all the answers and many may be flawed but they can still act as a useful springboard for discussion and debate.
  • Be eclectic – never rely on one lone model or theorist but take a pragmatic approach and bring in what works for you and what may help your client from a range of theories, models and disciplines – without overwhelming them with detail.
  • Be careful of jargon – we need to speak our clients’ language so be mindful of using too much intercultural terminology. Using expressions such as high context, specific versus diffuse or linear active risks confusing your participants and cost you valuable time in defining these complex terms and concepts.
  • Make it relevant and practical – most clients want the ‘so what?’ or ‘the what’s in it for me?’ factors and so avoid giving lengthy theoretical explanations. Instead, introduce appropriate examples that bring the models to life.
  • Know the limitations – Be prepared to show both sides of the coin by highlighting the criticisms of any theory you use as well as offering the counter-arguments. Managing antithesis effectively is one sign of an excellent intercultural trainer.
  • Keep learning – Don’t rest on your laurels and think that because you know about Hall, Hofstede and Trompenaars you are an expert. We all know that intercultural interactions are rarely as straightforward as person from culture A interacting with person from culture B and so more recent, more complex models and theories might serve you and your clients better.

In a nutshell

Treat your relationship with intercultural theory as you would any other close relationship. Be aware of its weaknesses but always be ready to defend it when it’s under attack. Don’t become over-dependent and don’t turn your back on them completely either. Keep reading, be active on social media, attend events when you can and share ideas with other intercultural trainers. Finally, be prepared to experiment with new theories and approaches and challenge them yourself.