By Susan Camberis
Editor, Training Today
ATDChi’s January kick-off event on January 18, 2018 featured a compelling discussion about global communication with ATDChi Presidential Advisor and long-time Board Member, Stephanie (Leese) Emrich.
Stephanie’s organization, Service Speaks Solutions, infuses the sought-after language of hospitality to non-hotel organizations. During her talk with ATDChi, Stephanie shared stories from a lifetime spent in the service industry. The main question she posed for attendees was: How do we connect with each other universally?
- 1. Know your audience. Stephanie has worked extensively with teams in Saudi Arabia, developing 180 hours of content for a project she was leading. She shared the importance of understanding how to present content that will resonate with your particular global audience. Through her project, Stephanie learned that listening was more valued than reading, reading was more highly valued than writing, and that her audience was highly visual and very hands on. This information allowed Stephanie to tailor her content in a way that would be most impactful.
- 2. Know the culture. In her extensive work with the University of the Bahamas, Stephanie learned about the strong influence of tradition on the Bahamian people. Almost 8 in 10 jobs in the Caribbean are related to tourism, and employees are eager to learn, according to Leese. Stephanie shared how she found empathy and being genuine as two qualities that come very naturally to employees there.
- 3. Understand where you’re coming from. Stephanie’s global experiences have given her a unique “outside in” perspective on the U.S. She described that our focus on demographics and the pressure from numerous angels to succeed, don’t seem to exist in the same way in other places. Those from the U.S. tend to be more perfectionistic and frequently demonstrate “unrelenting enthusiasm” when a particular topic strikes a chord.
- 4. Know when accreditations matter. Stephanie is the only service professional in our area who is “China Ready & Accredited”, a special designation given to select product and service providers that Chinese consumers can trust. She shared that Chinese customers tend to value quality and unique experiences over quantity. It is one of the reasons that China Disney has a more significant focus on interactive character experiences than Disney’s other parks. Chinese customers want to “take the selfie,” according to Leese.
- 5. Speak clearly…and use less industry-specific jargon and colloquialisms. Americans tend to speak very fast and use a lot of jargon, which often makes for more challenging communication when working globally. Be aware and use less when you can.
Ultimately, according to Leese, “We are people wherever we are.” An important question to always ask is: How are you connecting in a deeper way to everyone you are serving?
When you stay present and focus on moments that matter to customers, you will be a more effective global communicator.