I just got back on Tuesday night from a mini vacation/work week in beautiful Puerto Rico. I shared in fun activities with a friend and was also able to spend some time with family.
The work event was a seminar I presented to young entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. The theme was "Exhibe tu Exito en el 2008". Translated, showcase your success in 2008.
And yes, in case you're wondering, the presentation was in Spanish... that's another story :)
It was an awesome experience. It was the first training I've conducted in Spanish in the last 5 years.
I took away some great lessons I want to share with you. They have to do with the importance of knowing the cultural makeup and/or idiosyncrasies of your audience/client.
Even though I hadn't been in front of a culturally different audience in a very long time, I quickly realized I had to adjust my "representational systems" in order to gain acceptance and rapport. I'll tell you more about representational systems and rapport in a different post.
It wasn't difficult but I have to say it was challenging. The person who contracted me had me wait and hour and a half for late arrivals who turned out to be "no shows".
This is a big professional no, no. This is especially unacceptable when conducting a seminar about success!
I was able to address the issue and how not starting on time impacted the process and the people who were on time. However, I was not able to cover all the material as planned.
All in all, the end result was good. It was a small group and their verbal feedback was positive. I guided them through the "5 Steps of Success and Mastery Outcome" process in preparation for next year. One thing's for sure... the people in attendance were ready and eager to work on their success plans for 2008!
They were all beautiful and I'm so very glad to have met them. I will post a group picture with some of their testimonies later.
So what's the moral of the story? Although it was a rewarding experience, there are several things I would do differently next time when working with a "culturally different" group:
- Communicate the work/partnership expectations ahead of time.
- i.e. Duration of training, set-up of room including temperature, and have confirmation of participants.
- Know who your audience is.
- Adjust your representational systems accordingly.
- Be flexible.
- Enjoy the experience.