We always want to know how engaged our participants are, particularly in cross-cultural training programs. However, it’s unnerving if you’re presenting to a group of people who behave in ways that you struggle to interpret. Of course, always research or inquire about the communication styles of the cultures you’re training, but you can use this guide to quickly think through what’s happening:
Adults learn by sharing, observing, talking, and doing just as much, if not more, than they do by listening to you as a facilitator. In fact, most adult learning research shows that learners report significant gains when they can socialize with peers or the teacher about their new insights. It’s critical to consider the structure you put together to practice and apply learning.
Turn on your global mindset to determine the best way to provide social interaction in diverse ways, which may include creating one-on-one simulations, coaching scenarios, small team collaborations, or large group brainstorming discussions.
One area to focus on is attitudes toward individualistic and group-oriented exercises. At the simplest level, you can try to align the following with what you know about the culture(s) of the audience. In any case, use a mix of both to maximize engagement across all participants:
One of the best ways to start training and presenting across cultures is to find some way to activate curiosity for your audience, who they are, where they’re from, and how they prefer to learn. The more time you spend getting to know your audience, the easier it’ll be to navigate the often complex and ambiguous environment that is the global training room.
If you consciously commit to integrate awareness of your participants’ learning styles, you can more successfully accomplish your objectives as a trainer or presenter in a global environment.