How To Communicate With Global Partners

 By: Milly Sonneman
Global partners, distance team members and virtual vendors - all demand one thing. Effective presentation skills for effective communication. Do you have the right training to communicate successfully in a global marketplace?

Just last week, a new coaching client approached me with this question: "how can I communicate so my message is clear to global partners who speak a different language?"

I get this question all the time.

There's a long answer and a short one.

I'll give you the short one.

Speak a visual language. Share your story with pictures that transcend different verbal language. Speak in a colorful, lively combination of pictures and worlds.

Of course, some folks roll their eyes and throw up their hands.

"But, I don't have a visual bone in my body!"
"But, I can't even draw a straight line!"
"But, I'm the most left brain guy you'll ever meet."

Trust me. I get it. But there's still hope.

These kinds of comments are what inspired me to create supremely simple cheat sheets, icon vocabulary manuals, and step-by-step guides to draw icons.

I've made it so simple that even if you have zero artistic talent, you will grab a marker and run (not walk) to the whiteboard.

But, if you haven't seen all the cool tools for whiteboard sketching in my Visual Storytelling course, you can use visual thinking to connect with global partners. And even if you haven't heard about the new iPhone application that shows how to draw icons in a snap, it's still possible.

I'll show you right now how to speak a visual language in three easy steps. This will help you capture ideas, simplify complex business concepts, and blow your clients away with compelling pictures.

Step 1: Show Concepts with Shapes
I bet you can draw a circle, square and triangle, right? Thought so. These three shapes can get you all the way through an important meeting - from start to finish.

Drawing from left to right - do a big circle, then a square in the middle, and a triangle. Draw the triangle with the point heading towards the right of your whiteboard.

Step 2: Write Key Words In The Shapes
Assign a title to each shape. For instance, in the circle write: "Why we're here." In the square, "What we must decide." In the triangle, "Our next steps."

See? That wasn't so rough!

If you want to write less you could distill this down to three words: purpose, decision and action. This is a very useful and flexible layout for a well-organized meeting with global clients and partners.

Naturally, if you have three different key words, use those. Make sure the titles match what you plan to discuss during your presentation.

Step 3: Get Input From Your Group
If you are working in a face-to-face session, get people talking and discussing issues. Brainstorm solutions together. Record ideas while people are talking to document the conversation.

Hint: if you run out of room, add more ideas to a flip chart and post it under the shape you are discussing.

Alternatively, if you are working in a virtual presentation, make sure everyone is drawing the same three shapes. This adds a shared language and common experience for partners in different locations.

While there's a lot more to drawing ideas and dazzling your clients, this will get you off to a strong start.

Once you see how this works and how much more productive your presentations are, you'll want to use more images to make your global meetings really take off!

If getting results with global partners is important to you, grow your skills for selling and problem solving with a whiteboard. Discover how to get global clients, partners and prospects to buy-in to your ideas, proposals and solutions. For instant video access to learn how this works, visit:
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