July 30, 2021

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Scary - We Are Here To Help!

"I'm alright when I speak, but I am afraid to write in an email... it may not look good, it may not influence my reader, I can't convince him or her in writing, it may have grammar problems, it may... (the list goes on)..."

Let's change your narrative about writing in English!

So many have said this to me during email writing workshops - and in those workshops 90-100% of the participants (of the over 2,000 or so) are using English as a second, third, fourth or other language.

A few underlying currents of thought that resonate here are:
  • We overthink to write, but not to speak
  • Native learners/speakers don't face this, it must ONLY be me because I am not using English (or the target language) from birth

Well, guess what... both of these thoughts are false narratives.

The stories we tell ourselves are not always true.

Why? Well... I am taking a copywriting course today. This course is designed generally for native American English speakers. 

The facilitator said this:
"Why do we freak out when we are to sit down and write? Why do we think it has to look perfect? If you were going to meet that same person in person that you would write to, would you worry to that same extent before having a live conversation?"

Typically the answer is no.

What he is saying here is NATIVE SPEAKERS who use English from birth are ALSO SCARED TO SEE THEIR WORDS WRITTEN DOWN ON PAPER.

What does this mean as a native speaker?

What does this mean as a non-native speaker?


Isn't that freeing?

There is a large group of native speakers (not just of English, but any language) who feel they should not write anything down because they are afraid they don't have good writing skills.

But, what does that mean for those I train?

"I never imagined that by changing my emailing skills I could save time in getting work done. I was often frustrated as my U.S. colleague was not answering my emails or turning in work on time, which delayed my work as well. I often had to escalate these problems to my manager, who would email and call the colleague to sort out the issue. I never realized that changing a few simple approaches to writing email subject lines, using a few American English words and making small talk in emails would be so helpful. Within a month of applying Jennifer's tips, my manager received about 75% less escalation requests from me, making it possible for him to spend his time on more productive work." 
~Global Team Member at EY, Kochi, India 

Most of those I train are intermediate to upper level language learners (we ascertain that through a CEFR language assessment). And because they are trying to learn and a improve, they are a step ahead.

The step anyone can take to get out of their comfort zone is to learn something to take you to the next level.

I'm taking a copy writing course - as a native speaker - and as a facilitator of an email writing course!

This helps me to help all my clients - just like you - better, too!!

Keep going forward and remember, we are all in this together!

Author and Coach, Jennifer Kumar, has created the course Mastering Email & Digital Communication which has helped over 2,000 global professionals to confidently sit down and write emails and other communication from SCRATCH (no more copy pasting!). Professionals just like you have learnt to use English more effectively and impactfully to get the job done efficiently, with clarity and confidence. See the course overview here or our other Business English programs.

Get in touch with us for 1:1 personalized coaching, coaching for your team or company to take your communication to the next level!

Wondering how we have helped others like you?
Which one of these outcomes are you looking to achieve?

"This training helped my team members to write with more clarity and purpose." 
~Bangalore based financial team lead

"Now I am able to write emails with American style pleasantries and not come across so terse. I have been able to build better relationships with my US counterparts because of the coaching." Bangalore Based Financial Analyst

"I am now more confident in writing and editing emails. The sessions covered vocabulary, synonyms, importance of active voice, articles, punctuation, editing skills, and how to rewrite sentences and paragraphs. Implementing these skills has improved clarity and response times with our distribution partners, improving relationships. In addition to implementing the email strategies, I am also able to now mentor my employees on the same."

~ Nishanth, Logistics Manager, Kochi~UST Global Participant, India  

"I've learned to get the attention of my US client through catchy subject lines and to-the-point emails." ~Software Engineer with 15 years experience

We can help you achieve these results as well! If your ideal outcome is not here... get in touch and we can help you to make your ideal outcome easy to achieve as well!

As a side note, upon taking this course, and hearing this module, I sat down and was instantly inspired to write this in a few minutes! The part that took time was formatting it and adding in the image, well, of course, posting it, too!

Photo credit: nakaridore at freepik

July 21, 2021

Content Marketing for SEO - An Expert Discussion

Content Marketing for SEO: Why Content is Vital to SEO
Evergreen Webinar

 In this discussion, Anandi Merchant from Anandi Merchant Digital Consultant exposes why content is vital to your SEO strategy. These strategies will help you to increase organic traffic, growing your online reach. 

If you'd like to know more about Anandi:

Read a blog she posted here on Authentic Journeys: SEO Guide for Small Business

See her website: Anandi Merchant Digital Consultant 

Connect with Anandi on LinkedIn 

So, you think SEO is dead? Think again. According to a study by BrightEdge, SEO drives 1000% more traffic to a website than organic social media. Google and other search engines, like Bing are changing their algorithms constantly. SEO is changing rapidly. To keep pace and stay competitive, businesses need to adapt their digital strategies constantly or risk getting obsolete. Join us for this informative webinar to learn how to find keywords to create better content, increase organic traffic, and get more leads to your website.  

Learn More About Content Marketing for SEO on July 14, 2021

July 16, 2021

Performance Coaching for Tech Professionals

Regardless of where you are right now in your career journey, there are many tasks and communication interactions that you need to conduct every single day. Whether it's an email, a status update, a software demo, some type of presentation or full-fledged meeting, regardless if you're a participant or you're the organizer and moderator, we help you to feel comfortable in any role you are currently in right now so that you can go to the next level. 

I'm Jennifer Kumar from Authentic Journeys. We specialize in working with software professionals just like you, who may not live in the U.S. but work with U.S. clients or Canadian clients. 

See this video on Vimeo

Performance Coaching for Tech Professionals from Authentic Journeys on Vimeo.

Performance Coaching for Tech Professionals

Under the header of performance coaching. We have four different programs. 

Performance Coaching

The first program under this header is Performance Coaching. In this program, we strive to help you achieve your goals, to take your career to the next level through one on one coaching. There are two paths in this performance coaching series. One could be self-sponsored. That's where you pay for your own coaching and the other is corporate-sponsored. That's where your company or stakeholders or others are paying for your coaching. In self-sponsored, we work with you directly from sitting down and identifying all your goals, doing the coaching, the retrospectives and the final session. We're the only ones working together, you and I. However, when it's corporate-sponsored, we would also need to meet with those who are sponsoring your coaching, including anyone from management to team members to clients to stakeholders and H.R. Depending on the size and makeup of your company, it tends to be generally just you and your direct manager. So you and your direct manager would be part of the process and goal identification and retrospectives throughout the program. Goals typically are identified against your performance indicators or your KPIs that are identified in your performance review. That's for self-sponsored coaching. 

See also: Programs to Develop Leadership and Communication Skills of Client-Facing Development Teams 

Read and learn more about our coaching process for similar coaching programs, detailed step by step

Ready to get started? Take a moment to sign up for a free consult.

Managing Client Expectations

Now, let's move on to Managing Client Expectations. This is a more detailed program. This program is for teams, tends to be for teams, but occasionally we can do it for one on one as well. So a team of maximum eight to nine individuals could be part of this program. The main aim of this program is to take your software development team to the next level, making them more business-minded, more consultant minded oriented so that they can handle a wide range of everyday communication interactions, from emails to status updates to pushbacks, to understanding how to discuss timeline and deadlines and all of the other types of communication that typically a project manager or a middle manager needs to get involved in. Reduce the time that you need to be part of those conversations as a middle manager or project manager by enrolling your team in Managing Client Expectations. 

Ready to get started? Take a moment to sign up for a free consult.

Coaching for Client Facing Teams, Leaders and Executives

Building Effective Teams

The third program in this series is Building Effective Teams. This is a pretty customized program to your team's requirements. Some of the content that we cover could be extracted from Managing Client Expectations as well. However, we really want to look at your specific team where the gaps are in communication, time management, project management and leadership and really work through those goals. In this program, we would really hand tailor a program just for your team. Typically, teams meet together on a bi-weekly basis and the weeks that they are not meeting, typically one on one coaching happens in between. And this program, again, is for up to eight or nine individuals in your team. 

Ready to get started? Take a moment to sign up for a free consult.

Customized Program

And the last program is just a customized program. So there's not much to say here except for we really strive to take a comprehensive training needs analysis and coaching needs analysis with you, your team, to see exactly what needs to be worked on. Again, tracking this back to your KPIs or performance indicators, because the main goal here is we need to tie everything back to a business outcome. It's very important. And in some cases, we might do a mixture of training and consulting and coaching as training and coaching is not always the answer

Also see: Career Coaching for Expats, Leaders and Executives 

Ready to get started? Take a moment to sign up for a free consult.

So I hope this has been a helpful introduction to our programs under the header of performance coaching. Thanks for listening and I hope to be in touch with you to discuss how we can take you and your team to the next level. See you soon.

See also: Coaching (Consulting and Training) Startups: 3 Considerations

All program categories:

Business English Programs 

Coaching for Coaches 

Performance Coaching for Tech Professionals 

US Culture for Remote Work: Coaching for Corporate Success


July 14, 2021

An EASY Way to Make Someone's Day

To make someone's day means to provide an experience to a person to uplevel an ordinary or dull day to a very memorable and exciting one! 

What is a simple way to make someone's day?

Listen on... (transcript below video)...


How are you?

How are you today?

How's your day going so far?

Hope you're having a good day.

These are all greetings in the U.S. that we take for granted. In fact, sometimes we complain that they're so ordinary that they're boring. And, so we avoid those greetings or we forget about saying those greetings because we're in a rush or we think they're overused or it doesn't impact somebody else's day. I just found out the exact opposite. I walked into the gas station on my walk in Salt Lake City today, and I bought this nice, refreshing cold bottle of iced tea. When I went up to the register to pay for it, I said to the cashier, "How's your day going?" And he said, "It's pretty good. Actually, I'm so glad you asked. You know, that nobody has asked me to be on my shift. And I came in five hours ago!"

I said,"Oh that's that's so sad. How many people have come into the store since you started your shift?" It wasn't that busy of a store. So he said, you know, about two..two fifty three hundred people came in since he started his shift and not one customer greeted him, not one. And he.. even though he didn't say it in words, I could tell that made his day, he was happy that somebody else recognized him and asked him how he was doing.

Make Someone's Day (Photo credit: Patrick Tomasso at Unsplash)

And he and I had a little conversation about it. And, I think it made him feel happy. So, although these greetings are ordinary, so ordinary that we think, oh, everybody's doing it, they might not. And maybe you might be the one who greets somebody and makes their day. And if you're new in the U.S. or not so confident about American English, it's OK. The simple conversations get you started in the right direction. And even if you aren't able to continue the conversation completely, just know that these little things can really make somebody so happy just by knowing a few words in English you can really make somebody's day and it will make you feel happy too, because it's easy to be understood and somebody else will smile when they hear you say it. And what better... what better feeling can you get from your day than that? So just keep that in mind. Next time you walk into a store or a gas station store or anything, take a minute to greet the person. You just never know how it might really impact their day. And that ripple effect will really inspire you as well. This is Jennifer going on a walk in Salt Lake City until next time. I'll see you later.

Vlog commentator, Jennifer Kumar is a strong believer that there are many Ways Small Talk with US Clients Improves Working Relationships. In fact, she believes in this so much, she has created a program introducing you to the three types of small talk with US counterparts that she has delivered to thousands of global professionals. Contact her for more information

Other small talk openers in the US: 

  1. How was your day? (with video)
  2. How'd it go? – When to Ask, How to Answer
  3. How are you holding up? (with video)
  4. How was your weekend? (with video)
  5. How do you want to be remembered by your customers or clients?

July 11, 2021

Offshore and Onsite Holidays 2023

For those who work on offshore and onsite teams between the US and India, I have compiled this list of holidays, observances, and special days between the US and India. While not all of these are leave days (or paid vacation days off), some may be floating holidays depending on your colleague's religious and cultural affiliation.

I have compiled this list of dates on July 11, 2021. Though many of these dates have been calculated years in advance, it's possible that some holiday dates may change one day here or there depending on how the calendars shift as we near the actual dates.

Click on the links for more information on the holidays. Many links that link within our blog will talk about the reason behind the holiday and small talk tips you can apply when talking with US clients or colleagues. 

Holidays for 2023 - USA and India

FOR 2021 Holidays, Click Here  - 2022 Holidays at this link 

January 2023
1 - New Year’s Day

14 -  Pongal (Tamil Harvest Festival)
14 - Sabarimala Makaravilakku (Kerala)

16 -  Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
26 -  Republic Day
26 - Vasant Panchami

February 2023
2 -  Groundhog’s Day 
? - Guru Ravidas’s Birthday (Sikh)
5 – Thaipusam
5 - 6 - Tu B'Shvat, The New Year for Trees
14 – Valentine’s Day
15 - Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti 
18 -  Lailat al-Miraj 
18 -Mahashivarathri 
20 - Presidents Day
19 - Shivaji Jayanti (Maharasthra) 

March 2023
6 - 7 – Purim
7 – Attukal Pongala (Kerala)
7 - 8 - Laylat al-Baraat
8 – Holi
17 – St. Patrick’s Day
22 - Ramadan Begins
30  – Ramanavami

April 2023
1 - April Fool’s Day
7 – Good Friday
9 – Easter
10  – Palm Sunday
14 – Baishakhi
14 – Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti
14 – Tamil New Year
14 – Vishu (Kerala)
17-18 - Yom HaShoah
18 - Laylat al-Qadr
21 - 22 - Ramadan Ends/Eid al-Fitr
22 – Earth Day

April End - School Ends India 

May 2023
1 - May Day
3 - Akshaya Tritiya
5 - Cinco De Mayo
14 – Mother’s Day
26 – Buddha Purnima
29 – Memorial Day

May mid to June end- school ends USA

June 2023
Throughout June - Graduation Season USA
June beginning - School Starts India 
18 – Father’s Day
19 - Juneteenth 
28 - 29 - Eid al-Adha

July 2023 
4 - Independence Day (USA)
18 - 19 - Islamic New Year
27 - 28 - Ashura 

August 2023
20 - 31 – Onam
30 - Rakhi
August mid- September - "Back to School Season" School starts USA

September 2023
4 - Labor Day (USA)
6 -7  – Krishna Jayanthi/ Krishna Janmashtami 
11 – Patriot Day (USA)
15 - 17 - Rosh Hashanah
18 - Ganesh Chathurthi
24 - 25  - Yom Kippur
28 - 29 - Nabhidinam 

October 2023
2 - Gandhi Jayanthi
9 – Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day 
15 - 24 – Navarathri
24 – Vijaya DashamiVidhyarmbam (end of Navarathri)
31 – Halloween

November 2023
1 – Kerala Day and Tamil Nadu Day
5 - Daylight Savings Time Ends 
11 – Veterans Day
12 – Diwali / Deepawali 
14 – Children’s Day 
23 – Thanksgiving (USA)
24 - Black Friday
26 – Kathigai Deepam
27 - Guru Nanak’s Birthday

December 2023 
24 – Christmas Eve
25 – Christmas Day
26 – Jan 1 – Kwanzaa
29 – New Year’s Eve
29 - Guru Gobindsingh's Birthday (Sikh)

*Take note, not all holidays listed are days off. Not all Indian holidays are observed in every office, even within the same state or region. Check with the local Human Resources office for detailed the holiday schedule for the particular office you are working with.

This post was compiled by Jennifer Kumar, a cross cultural business coach and consultant that helps teams between the US and India up level their leadership, communication and cultural understanding to improve project workflows. 

Related Post:
Coordinating Teams in Different Regions of India
Secret Santa - Office Christmas Parties in the USA 

Check calendars from years past:
2013  -   2014  -   2015  -  2016  -   2017  -   2018    -  2019 (USA -- India)  -  2020  -  2021

Photo Credit: Alexas_Fotos at Pixabay

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.