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The first run of our “Intercultural Training” in the New Normal of our academy has successfully come to an end. Two of our consultants, Faiza Ikeda, expert on Japan and former Yugoslav States, and Molly Ng, expert on Southeast Asia/ East Asia,share their experiences and reviews. Stay connected and don’t miss your opportunity to join us for the upcoming  second round.

What were some of the key insights or new perspectives you gained from the training?

Faiza Ikeda: I am gaining a better understanding of creating a balance between losing control in an online environment as compared to a training in person and creating an attraction for working online. The key for creating this attraction in working with clients virtually is a good understanding and utilisation of different media for different purposes.

Molly Ng: When we discussed the topic in Dec 2022, I thought immediately that the issue is crucial and has to be intergrated into my work.

One key aspect I gained from the training is co-creating attractive virtual or hybrid meetings. We lose control of people in the New Normal not only because of the distance but because of the space that is beyond our reach and control. We can’t know if our co-worker or the training participant is writing a private chat message on other channel during a virtual meeting, or if the person is feeding the cat being half attentive to my presentation. The challenge in the New Normal is making meetings really attractive and inclusive for others who may have different preferences influenced by their cultural background.

One other key insight I took away is the Shared Leadership which I can apply in order to make my meetings or trainings more attractive. I have learned to distribute roles and tasks to my training participants, giving them a stronger sense of belonging to making the learning process more successful. Taking on a role or a “job” creates greater commitment.

The training also made me think about the purpose and advantages of using the synchronous and asynchronous communication media. For instance, brainstorming synchrounously using a collaborative tool is something quite normal for cultures where communication is direct and explicit. However, how do you deal with more indirect, implicite, more context based communication cultures? People in such cultures may not feel completely comfortable in throwing out a direct opinion and providing contradictory ideas. Using asynchrounous and anonymous collaboration tools would be a better way.

What will you integrate into your own training practice?

Faiza Ikeda: There is much more need for tools that support visual learning.
Each training platform has different features available and I look forward to testing new tools like co-facilitation, interactive white boards, incorporating the use of different virtual backgrounds and audio etc.

Molly Ng: I have started intergrating the distribution of roles at the start of my trainings and facilitations. The participants are encouraged to take on a role – may it be the “tip master” who writes down tips, hints and strategies discussed or the “time keeper” who reminds the team while working on their tasks withinin limited time or even the “feel good manager” someone who has an eye on the mood and well-being of the participants. The roles will be rotated so that everyone is responsible for the success of the learning.

Also, letting participants think and discuss about their preferences for using certain media would be crucial. The global collaboration of my clients would need much co-creation of attraction through the use of media with the right purpose in making their virtual communication and meetings more attractive.

Would you recommend the course ? And if so, why?

Faiza Ikeda: My work as a trainer is now taking place almost only in a virtual mode so this kind of input from an expert in the field like Stefan Meister is extremely valuable. It helps me with my facilitation as well as with supporting our clients who now also work much more remotely.

Molly Ng: I would definitely recommend the course because it helps me to improve my overall intercultural work and provides me some further food for thoughts about being more inclusive in my practice.

Photo Credit: Getty Images