Classic TT Isle of Man 2019
The Rennkollektiv Simson AWO from the former East Germany decided to again take part in the Classic TT on The Isle of Man in 2019. This time it was to be a much more ambitious programme than the lasr successful visit in 2016. Some 20+ team and family members plus 24 bikes - both race and road machines - committed to take in the full event over some 12 days.
Again Ultradian was to be the Team Co Ordinator for the whole trip on the basis of fluent German and local Isle of Man knowledge.. Planning, organisatiuon and entry applications began a year in advance of the event on the basis of repeating previous experience. Little did we know what would lie ahead. Briefly the obstacles that had to be surmounted included a ferry booking foul up - down to the Kollektiv that one - last minute regulation changes requiring new entry documentation, race licences, eye tests, insurance cover,more regulation changes needing yet more changed documentation, a local cock up on eligibility. It just went on and on.Add to this a large group of mostly non English speaking Germans all asking questions about different things at the same time and it could be said that stress levels were high.
Nonetheless all the objectives of the visit were met with successful participation in the Lap of Honour, Jurby, The Manx Rally and first time experience for many of marshalling The Mountain Course.
The whole adventure was celebrated as a great success and the tales from The Island will be told for many years to come in Saxony.
A preamble for exhibitors
As an exhibitor part of your exhibition design could include the opportunity to : -
- Enable prospective clients to empathise with the products and service you offer
- Create a creditable image
- Demonstrate a seamless transition from concept to delivery
As a shop window into your company an exhibition is a clear demonstration of what your brand means to your customers as they can experience at first hand : -
- The promise of what they can expect from your product, service and experience
- The attributes and values both tangible and intangible of your brand
- How you as a company express what you think, feel and want to say about your product and service
And you as a company have the first hand opportunity to understand how customers relate to your company and brand
Lets face it.
The object of the exercise is to be chosen and trusted by your customers. Creating an atmosphere of collaborative thinking is the key to progressing from a customer value set based upon commodity and product through to one of valuing service and the unique experience of dealing with your company.
In this way you deal with your customers on the basis of value – not price.
A real life scenario.
A major UK company takes a substantial stand at a major German exhibition at considerable expense. The object of the exercise is to win business with similarly substantial new German customers. The CEO of the UK company will be present. He has a good understanding of spoken German. He has with him his own specialist technical support staff. The visiting CEO of a German company visiting the stand has the same situation. Everything is fine until details need to be discussed between both sets of staff as the CEOs may not necessarily be fully aware of every technical detail. These people may have had no need for each others language since school. At this point communication starts to break down and the CEOs fail to make progress towards their goals.
Ultradian can be briefed on the objectives of exhibiting together with details of who will be on the stand, who the company would like to attract and meet on the stand together with any entertainment plans that the exhibiting company may have for a serious, major new prospect.
A fluent German language speaking consultant with experience of both exhibiting at exhibitions in Germany and also in visiting them would accompany the exhibition staff to the exhibition. The consultant would be available to the exhibition staff throughout the exhibition to facilitate discussions as required in English to German and German to English in order that the above scenario is avoided and that everybody present fully understands the discussions and their outcome.
When such initial discussions go well it is always good to continue them away from the exhibition, mostly over dinner.
Ultradian is highly experienced in organising these relaxed but highly important evenings. Every detail from preferred locale required to dietary preferences, who sits where, pick up of guests together with drop off arrangements at the end of the evening plus all the other detailed but often overlooked items such as dress code for the venue, or flowers for the wife of the prospect company’s CEO, wine choices, you name it, can all be taken care of so that the hosting CEO can proudly present a seamless evening to his guests without the distraction of having to organise it all.
Ultradian will be present throughout the evening to ensure that any situation that may present itself can be handled quickly and discreetly in order that the evening is not disrupted.
Why bother with speaking in German – everyone speaks English don’t they ?
It is often very true that many people in Germany speak excellent English. However, there is another side to the use of another language of which non speakers of a foreign language are often unaware. Let’s go back to the object of the exercise in the previous Real Life Scenario namely, to win business with similarly substantial new German customers.
When you rely upon the prospect company to speak in English you are doing several things. Firstly you are handing control of the conversation to them as your apparent lack of German hands them psychological control over you. Secondly it puts the other person under pressure when this is this last thing you want. They need to feel relaxed in your presence not under duress to speak perfect English for fear of being laughed at. Third and most importantly you are missing the opportunity to build personal rapport and empathy. It is only when you can converse in another language that people open up and you learn what they are really like and in this business scenario what it is that drives them and leads to decision making. As cynical as this may sound we are here, after all, on business.
Another real life scenario
A major UK supplier has installations within a factory complex in Germany. The equipment is in need of service and upgrade work on site. Both companies agree that an engineer from the UK supplier comes on site in Germany to carry out the work. It could be that the individual sent is quite happy to not speak with anybody and to stand in the corner and eat his sandwiches on his own. However, this is not the best image for the UK company that has sent him nor is it best business practice for the UK company.
How much better it would be if the individual could express himself in German in those areas where he needs to for work and also for recreation. This is where personal rapport and empathy truly starts. It is a great privilege to be invited into the life and possibly home of the German counterparts with whom he will be working. The pleasure from friendships that can grow from this has a very beneficial effect for the UK company. How much better it is to have a contented person working remotely on site rather than one counting down the lonely days until it is time to get back home.
Language lessons are readily available, an enlightened UK company may well have had the foresight to enrol the staff member for the upcoming visit to gain a basic understanding of German. Great.
It can, however, be the case that no matter how much learning is put in front of the learner they still do not feel comfortable with the strange sounds coming out of their mouth.
The Ultradian approach is to encourage the learner to speak the words and feel at ease with using them. Remembering that this is all about business there is no point in attempting to drum home anything that will be of no use to the person when they are in Germany. For this reason careful analysis is made of exactly why they, individually, are going and what is the purpose of the visit. Who will they be likely to meet and to be working with. What are their interests, what could they bring to the conversational party ?
Based upon these and many other aspects a structure can be built so that the individual is comfortable not only with the content of what he is saying but, most importantly, is relaxed about saying it – because he wants to !
Sessions to establish the structure and to practice verbalising the content can be held over time well before the visit in the UK.
( Actual Company names are omitted here to spare blushes ! )