Recently I had one of those cultural cringe moments while attending an all-day event.
Instead of being warmly greeted by the organiser, I was ordered (rather loudly and without a smile) to “show my virtual ticket”, before being tagged with a yellow wristband – like an 18-year-old at a rock concert – or I wouldn’t get through the door.
It’s a freaking free event I thought to myself, why all the policing?
Once inside I noticed my fellow attendees all looking like possums in the headlights. It wasn’t just me. Seriously, I wanted to run for the door.
When the first speaker arrived, he made a joke about the All Blacks losing to South Africa. I kid you not! Later in the day, another speaker pointed out that the ‘All Blacks’ as a title wouldn’t be acceptable in America, implying it’s a racist term!
Seriously, were they trying to be disliked?
Then a well-dressed man in a very nice suit and tie (I’m sure he didn’t get that at Halensteins!?) captured the audience with his high energy and fascinating success story. I loved listening to him and hung on every word. However, his success story was all about the money, money, money.
Things were not going well…
I knew if I stayed in ‘judge and criticise mode’ for the rest of the day, any pearls of wisdom I could glean from the event would be lost. So, I purposely decided to suspend my opinion and took copious notes.
And there were moments of pure genius. I even purchased a low-end product, which was shocking given the start to the day. The likelihood of me buying a high-end product though was zip, nada, nil, never going to happen.
People are not all the same. When presenting to us Kiwis it’s vital you understand our culture. I’m not saying we’re right, but the following 9 points could stop you sabotaging your efforts (even though I’m Australian!):
- Don’t constantly tell us how wealthy and successful you are. We may be envious, but we also feel like you’re rubbing our nose in it. Just don’t…
- Stop name dropping (ALL THE TIME). Once is enough…
- Never say anything against the AB’s (and I don’t even like rugby!)
- Turn the music down a little (please)
- Don’t expect us to jump up in the air and get excited when that’s not what we do here. In fact, don’t expect me to do that ever. I may be emotionally constipated, but hey that’s me, and a good percentage of the Kiwi population are too…(or is it just me?)
- We all know what ‘flying well’ means. You travel first class. We get it! You’re bragging. As a rule, we don’t like people who brag. It may work for you, not so much for us…
- Don’t mention Donald Trump. EVER. You may love him. You may have known him for a very long time. There is a possibility he’s wildly misunderstood and simply on the receiving end of fake news, but most of us would prefer you didn’t go there. Stick to your knitting.
- Coaching is not telling people what to do. That’s consulting. Nothing wrong with consulting.
- Finally. We don’t expect wine and cheese at a free event, but hey a cuppa tea or coffee would’ve been nice. And if you’re making all those millions that you say you are, well, just saying…
Kerene Strochnetter is the Managing Director of Mindful at Work. To find out more about the advantages of being more mindful in the workplace go here https://mindfulatwork.co.nz/