As with all consultants and seminar leaders, I am always in the position of selling my skills and expertise. In that regard, one of my strengths is my ability to meet the needs of each client, by adapting for them what I do best—which is to help people see and then solve their intercultural communication challenges.
I have been wondering lately what it would be like if the tables were turned. What if a client had to sell himself or herself to me? What would I be looking for in the ideal client? Here’s my wish list.
I love it when people are eager to investigate and want to learn more about themselves and others. Taking things at face value is easy but rarely provides an accurate picture; there’s always more to discover. Within intercultural contexts this willingness to investigate beyond what you think you know opens countless new possibilities for action and satisfaction.
I have seen in decades of training thousands of people, from dozens of cultures that regardless of their background there are those who care more about relationships than anything else. This doesn’t mean that they don’t also value other things but the essence of work and life for them is connecting with others. For people like that, the culture someone comes from, or what language they speak, is unimportant.
I include both meanings of the word thoughtful: first, to be considerate of the feelings and well being of others, and second, to think deeply about things. In complex situations such as intercultural business contexts, this way of functioning is essential.
The image that accompanies this article visually captures the word rugged for me and implies a greater than average strength or power. Regardless of whether the situation requires emotional, physical, mental or spiritual strength or power, the outcome is predictable; a willingness to push themselves past their limits opens doors for such people that are closed to others. Of course, undergoing such strain is not to everyone’s taste. However, I am convinced that some degree of ruggedness is required if you want to face and conquer any challenge, including those involving intercultural communication.
If it sounds like I’m looking for a client that fits the profile of a saint, I’m not. Instead, I prefer to work with people who can laugh at themselves, joke with others and regularly see lightness where others see only heaviness. Since I spend many hours of my time with clients, I prefer funny.
While this is a short list, it sums up my ideal intercultural communication client. To be honest, this list isn’t theoretical but has instead been drawn from some of the incredible clients that I have had the privilege of working with over the years. I have shared some of their stories in my recently-published book, Dance of Opinions. And it’s no secret that I’m looking forward to many more such “ideal” clients in the years ahead. You, perhaps.