TIP for ‘NEW to Australia’, NON-English EXECUTIVES
In my executive communication coaching I often work with executives of non-English speaking background, who have recently immigrated to Australia.
Several of these executives want to know how to better assimilate into, and understand, Australia and its business culture.
If you are an immigrant, and of non-English speaking background my recommendation would be to
learn more about the various aspects of Australian life:
its cultural life, sport, arts, politics etc.
In sharing this message I’m not suggesting you develop an avid interest in a particular area. Rather, it’s useful to know, for example: what team is in the grand final in a respective sport, who are the marquee players, the current popular Australian actors, or the names of national political leaders.
The value in learning this information is that when you’re having a casual conversation – for example prior to, or after a business meeting or at after-work drinks – you’ll better understand the gist of conversations that can occur, and perhaps even make a contribution or ask a question about the topic.
This awareness can help you appear less ‘culturally stiff’, and help you better digest the local culture.
In addition, this awareness can contribute to a positive impression of a you – an impression of a more ‘well-rounded’ person. Rather than one whose focus is solely on business.
Every time you interact with someone it forms and impression and a potential for loss or gain.
In the competitive nature of business, small, positive impressions of you can mean the difference between getting/not getting a promotion, being selected/not selected for a special project or being given/not given added responsibility.
Being more culturally aware might be one of those small, positive impressions.
Own the Conversation
If you are a recent (or even not so recent) immigrant to Australia and are of non-native English speaking background (or English speaking background), in the next seven days make a goal to increase your understanding of Australian life outside the business context.
- learn the name of the current Australian men’s and women’s cricketing captains.
- learn the history of an iconic AFL team (eg. Collingwood Magpies) or NRL team (eg. South Sydney Rabbitohs).
- research one of the of the star players of the NBL.
- research a noteworthy artist (eg. Brett Whiteley).
- learn about the constitutional crisis of 1975.
p.s. here is a post with a word-by-word script for handling chance encounters with senior execs