Thursday, January 02, 2014

Catching up in India: International presentation training and more

It's often difficult to find a balance betweeen being active and reflection, as my clients often tell me.  

I work with people who are so close to the details in the work they do every day that it's hard to see the big picture.  Generally,  our work together gives them both time and a new set of eyes to remind them of the value they have forgotten to include in the way they present their businesses and themsevles.

This Autumn, working with Cisco and UCL at IDEALondon, Constant Contact, Microsoft Ventures, FriedFrank, UKTI, Virgin Media Pioneers, WAYRA, BBC Labs, TechHub, the Clean And Cool Mission, and others I can't name - plus private clients who are on the verge of IPO, it has taken a trip to India to sit down and consider the past few months.

I'm in India working with an Auroville social enterprise that wants to grow and with Chennai's UKTI and TIE entrepreneurs.  The time continues to prove an excellent adventure.  Despite the fact that busiensses operate every day but Sunday, often until 8pm, life away from work in India seems to be more separate in the minds of people with whom I work than in the UK where people work until 5 or 6pm and have the weekends off.

In fact, my clients here turn off their business heads at lunch and in the middle of the day and seem entirely present with their friends and family.  The mobile phones are neglected except to text about social plans. 

I can't say whether or not this behavior is representative in India.  But what I can say is that my Indian clients have been quicker to complete training with me and present their business propositions engagingly. 

I suspected this is because they have access to more than one way of thinking every day, more than one way of experiencing their identities and relationships with priorities.

This seems to be true.  "I just think of the converstaion about family I had with my sister at lunch," said one entrepreneur when I asked how she transformed a rather flat monologue into an engaging presentation so quickly.

"Sometimes I forget that there are people who need to understand what goes on in my head," she explained.  "Then I look back on my day, and I remember that everyone hears what I say from a different perspective."

For the entrepreneurs I've worked with here, embedding emotional intelligence into every day seems to be useful for meditating on business.  "It's a practice," said my client, "and it takes discipline to enforce on myself.  But when I do, I know I work smarter."

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