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ASK, NOT TELL

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“What would happen in Taiwan?” – Different organizational culture

Updated: Mar 5

This was the question wandering in my head before my trip this week in Hsinchu, Taiwan. The background is that the organization I am working in acquired a local bank in Taiwan, and I went there to deliver a sales class. Before the trip, I felt both concerned yet excited. Concerned because:


· The participants are different from what I usually have. Culture in a local bank and an international bank can be very different. From my pre-course research with other trainers who delivered there, the comment is not very positive – conservative, skeptical, always on phone…. and needing lot of breaks to smoke!!

· The participants are not that well-versed in English, but the training material is in English;

· My class is the first non-technical training to them. In local bank, most trainings are technical one. In other words, non-technical ones are something they are not used to;


On the other hand, I was excited in the sense that I know I am helping them to make a big leap from selling in the local bank mentality to consultative selling….. It would be amazing if I can inspire at least a few to do it!!


With the above in mind, I have done a lot to prepare – talking to other global trainers who have been here, translating some essential content into Chinese, thinking of ways to make the content easier to be understood given their English level and lack of experience with foreign bank approach….. and try to sleep well the night before….


To my great delight, the course went well – much better than I expect!! The group even asked for ‘participation’ themselves when we set the group rule, and most of them were really risk-taking in asking questions or expressing their views during the class. And more importantly, I can feel that some souls were inspired. I am happy!!


Looking back, my learning is that:


· Most people come to the class with good intention to learn, and we as the trainers should believe in that;

· Preparation is everything. If your group is likely to be quiet, prepare ways to make the class participation easier for them e.g. having a mechanism where questions can be written on a post-in rather than asked on spot, having variety in delivery to keep the energy high, lightening up the atmosphere at the very start with music, ice-breakers and good content (how the participants feel in the first break is very important to determine their view for the rest of the class)… and most importantly, making yourself approachable – no one like to talk to a bossy trainer!!

· As always, never settle for sub-standard training facility – in this case, I believe that the better-than-normal venue in a good hotel helped. Firstly it gave the impression to the participants that this is a good training. People need to feel important themselves. More importantly, the venue does allow me to focus on the delivery rather than running around to find the break-out area!!!

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