February 24, 2015

Western Business Culture Primer for Offshore Teams: A Cross-Cultural Training

Do your offshore counterparts: 
  • Shy away from small talk, only using English for technical discussions? 
  • Speak good, clear, unaccented English, but can benefit from polishing their tone (word choices) when speaking with global team members? 
  • Shy away from asking questions? 
  • Say yes, but you aren't sure if yes means "I agree," "I will do it," or "I will try"
  • Have limited to no face-to-face interactions with foreigners 
Could your foreign based counterparts benefit from:  
  • A primer to Western business culture? 
  • Understanding how to use the modes of communication and time differences to their advantage? 
  • Learning tips to listen and speak more clearly during weekly status phone call meetings? 
  • Applying tips to speak more clearly when sharing information over the phone or video conference? 
If yes is the answer to any of the above, the two day training program "Western Business Culture Primer for Offshore Teams (A Cross-Cultural Training)" is the answer you have been looking for! 

Understanding how to communicate cross-culturally with Americans and other native English speakers from Western countries is a business context is a learned skill. While many of the skills are taught to native speakers within their own country, there are some special hand-picked skills that are added to these sessions to help your foreign-located team members communicate with more clarity with you, making your life a lot easier. 

Participants will learn, discuss and practice:

  • How to confidently make small talk in a professional, virtual environment 
  • How to apply Western business values in conversation and behavior with Americans, British, and other Western English speaking counterparts 
  • How to deliver crisp, convincing messages over the phone, email or virtually 
  • How to handle difficult discussions or escalations with more confidence 
  • Phone and group meeting etiquette skills 
2 Day Program Syllabus Delivered as an Instructor-Led Program: 

Day 1 Morning: Small Talk Games
Learn the dos and don'ts of small talk. What are acceptable, avoidable and cautionary topics when making small talk with Westerners? We will also practice how to make small talk in various situations: 
  • How to answer acceptable questions.
  • How to avoid asking and answering "taboo" questions.
  • How to talk about topics we don't know the answer to.
  • How to include shy team members into the conversation.
  • Others 
Also included in the small talk section: how to introduce oneself over the phone, and in person (for those who may host clients offshore from time to time), and others as identified in the Training Needs Analysis (TNA). 

Day 1 Afternoon: Compare and contracts three forms of communication (phone, virtual, face to face).
How to compose crisp clear messages in emails, over the phone and in face-to-face environments. Participants will create templates they can use for various meetings or status reports that will save time and create more time-conscious, transparent communication.
Participants will do demos and role plays on the various forms of communication.

Day 2 AM: US and Western Corporate Culture Values. 
Participants will learn and practice 10 essential approaches (values) in the Western business world. Activities will focus on: 
Day 2 PM: Role Plays 
Participants will recreate business scenarios, creating and delivering dialogues that test them on the the concepts learned over the past 1.5 days.

Participants will be broken up into groups. Each group will divide themselves into an India team and a Western (US, UK) team. The teams will be given a role play skeleton and have time to create a dialogue noting all the concepts from the past one and a half days in their final script. Ideal role play delivery requires three rooms. The "Indian" team will sit in one room, while the "US team" sits in another room, and the trainer/facilitator sits in a third room to overhear the call. The facilitator will give feedback to each group on: 
  • their flow of meeting (meeting organization)
  • how well they have answered the problems in the role play skeleton against the concepts taught 
  • tips to speak more clearly over the phone (accent, speed, volume, etc.) as required.

Audience Profile:
  • A good grasp of English is required.
  • Already client facing or will be client facing soon
  • Candidates with regular interaction with Western native-English speaking clients (phone, email, IM)
  • Offshore team members in global locations or expat employees or business people in the US wanting US culture training on advanced communication tips and Western mindset.
  • Currently or soon to be working on a global, co-located software team (or offshored projects in any vertical) 
  • For groups - A maximum of 20 candidates can attend this session.
  • For individuals - in-person or virtual guided webinars available (self-paced or guided with facilitator, see more below on customizations)
Customizations in Syllabus and Delivery
While this program is best suited for an in-person instructor-led 2-day delivery, customizations have included: 
  • A one day delivery
  • A 4- hour delivery (customized and abbreviated based on a training needs analysis) 
  • Virtual delivery with instructor (individuals or small groups of no more than 4) 
  • Virtual delivery without an instructor (sharing PPTs, handouts, quizzes/feedback) 
  • Available as a Train the Trainer (TTT / T3) program. Purchase yearly usage rights, license, etc. 
  • Certificates available as requested
Gauge of Costs:
Session fees are set based on: Current rates, Number of Participants, and Customizations
Please contact us to discuss your group details and requirements for your quote.

Participant Feedback: 

"I learned how we can better communicate bad news to the customer. With proper planning, brainstorming, mitigation plans and questions. This can be done without spoiling the relation with the client." – Deepa Chandran, UST Global 

“I learned the importance of voice modulation and posture while on a client call. I also learned how to schedule and better plan for a call.” ~ Harry Varghese, UST Global

"The session helps me to bridge the difference when delivering my view and work in a better way in a productive matter. I also learned how to be proactive rather than just being a doer in addition to building a cordial relation with my client through being specific and using more pleasantries." ~ Silpitha Santhosh

“Making assumptions has caused us problems. I learned some skills in how to overcome assumptions to communicate clearly.”

“I know now it’s important to break meetings into segments and give the client a chance to talk. We have learned ways to do this, including how to ask questions.” 

“Why should these skills only help us communicate clearly with Americans? We can use these skills with onsite and even in our teams here in Kochi. We can learn to communicate more clearly with anyone if we use these skills.”

“I learned how to make the client accept a mistake done by me by providing a solution.” ~Peter Ebenezer, UST Global, 2014 

“I learned to ask questions without hurting or offending others in a respectful way.” – Anil Abraham, UST Global, 2014.

"I have learned a proper way to communicate updates with the client."- Sujatha Poyyale, UST Global, 2014 

See this and other group training photos at Facebook.

"Jennifer spent time to explain the concepts to us, gave us a chance to discuss and practice in role plays." ~Microsoft Employee, 2013 

"This course was a good use of my time. I learned many good tips that relate to my role here in Microsoft. It will help me relate better with Americans and Westerners onsite." ~Microsoft Employee, 2013 

Microsoft, Hyderabad, 2013 (Also delivered in Microsoft, Bangalore)

"This was a great learning experience. This training helped me to understand certain cultural differences between India and the US and also how to be prepared to communicate with a US client.. be it phone, e-mail or face-to-face (F2F). It is always nice to learn something new! For those who haven’t attended this training, I’d say this was an opportunity missed!"  ~Shreyas Benjamin, ThinkPalm, 2013


"This training was helpful. I learned how to make small talk and hold a meeting. I will suggest this training to others." ~ThinkPalm Employee, 2013


"Since the training comprised more of games, presentations and other interacting sessions, it was so much fun. I really liked the role plays.” ~Arbitron Employee, 2012




Other Related Programs:
Convince, Influence & Negotiate with US Americans
US Corporate Culture Training for Offshore Professionals
Accent Training Programs
Individual coaching for select participants

Contact us for more information on these and other related programs.

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