What ASEuro Taught Me About International Business – By Michelle Held

by Jenae Reid on May 3, 2018

Prior to our trip to London in February, I spent time studying local culture, the weather, and general etiquette. I brushed up on the differences between American-English and British-English – the washroom is known as the loo, pants translate to trousers, and chips are fries.

My eager-to-help friends entertained themselves by sending humorous sites loaded with British phrases they felt I should master; shag is a type of carpeting in the US, however shagging in the UK…

I planned on dividing the week between meeting with a London based client, the conference, and being a tourist. In January, I visited the ASEuro booth at Affiliate Summit West to obtain recommendations for restaurants, neighborhoods, and conference culture. I learned that London conferences are not as casual as they might be in the States and that, at a minimum, I should dress “smart.”

Semantics are a Good Start

I belong to a coaching organization that helps members improve their public speaking and leadership skills. One of my favorite topics is adjusting presentations to the audience. Tailoring talks to the listeners’ expertise may involve changing the subject matter, removing material that is acceptable to one culture, but is offensive to another, altering the depth the material presented, or changing terminology.

So, what did I learn at ASEuro? First, depending on the culture, a person might choose to avoid meeting face-to-face. An email after I left the country is customary. This was puzzling since we live across an ocean from each other. I’ve since read that is a typical behavior based on his country of origin, yet it’s exactly the opposite of what I would do.

My team is working on an annual fundraiser. With the help of some of my Affiliate Summit friends, we’ve made this the biggest fundraiser ever and are a top team. I am ordering promotional items directly from a manufacturer based in China. My attempts to cut right to “what is this going to cost us?” was met with what I perceive as a pro-longed getting to know you phase. It turns out that Asians like to introduce themselves first. I also learned that when speaking to the Taiwanese, I’d have to educate leaders and their workers separately.

I am working on another online fundraiser that spans over 100 countries. In this strategy, the recipients from one country tell their story through content marketing to expats and other potential donors. The content delivery rate is highly dependent on what country the listener resides in.

Speaking at ASEuro was good practice for this multi-border communications. Working on my presentation for ASEuro emphasized how I had to adjust my content to be meaningful to a broader audience and be mindful of other nuances such as gestures.

What I learned the most is that there’s much to learn about international business. It’s more than simply having a native language speaker write for a website we are optimizing. It is a matter of connecting in a way that builds trust.

 

 

 

Michelle is an and author and digital marketing consultant who blogs on metrony.com and AskCyberSecurity.com

This article appeared in issue 42 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2018. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-42

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