Humor in international environments…

Humor is a tricky thing.

You have to be very careful when you use it, especially when dealing with an international environment.

I remember an instance when one of my former bosses, also French, tried to make a joke in a conference call.

We were waiting for all participants to join

He started to tell a joke,

And when the ‘punch line’ came

There was a BIG blank

Everybody was silent

I was the only one who understood the joke

So, when you want to use humor in an international environment, follow these 3 tips:

✅ Make sure you have had a first professional contact with your audience so that people know you a bit

✅ Make fun of yourself

✅ Use the correct expressions (i.e. do NOT translate literally) as the joke may be on you!

Remember to be very mindful and genuine when you use humor when dealing with other cultures or nationalities.

When used correctly, humor is one of the greatest things that can help you build rapport,  improve your relationships and better communicate with people.

#vlvcoach #leadership #communication #diversity

Be careful of assumptions…

I want to talk about assumptions and how we, consciously or unconsciously, make lots of them…

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a coach and was telling him I had started to help expats and young professionals working in international organizations optimize their potential. His first question was: what is an expat? I must say I was really surprised, not so much by his question, but more by the fact that something that was so obvious to me was not so obvious for him and therefore also not obvious for other people.

I told him that an expatriate (or expat) is a person who resides temporarily or permanently in a country other than their native country.

So I started to wonder: how often do we say things we assume others understand?

My tip to you, especially if you work with an international audience:

Make sure you use simple words, known expressions.

And if you use abbreviations, make sure you spell them out so that there is no confusion and so that it is clear to everybody.

That way, you may teach something new to someone, but you’ll also ensure everybody understands your message.

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My YouTube Channel and Instagram

Starting your own online business is not easy. There are tons of information out there, on what you should do to become visible and attract customers: be present on Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc., write articles, make videos, share pictures or a post, write a book… It’s all overwhelming.

In addition, since you are brand new in the ‘game’, you feel unsure about what to post. Does it need to be only business related? Or can you also share more personal stories?  How long does it need to be? Will you have enough creativity, enough content to show your potential customers? How do your potential customers find you?  What if someone does not like what you wrote? 

All of these feelings and questions ran through my head. Until one day, I decided to write one article,,, And another one. Then, I also started to share some posts with some pictures, mentioning things that were resonating with me… Two of my good friends, who are also coaches, then challenged me and that is how I started with videos!! A challenge called #10Tips10Days had been launched, where everyone who participated had to share some tips in the area they were familiar with… Even though I was first scared, not really sure what to post, I decided to accept this challenge.

So this is how it all started. I started posting videos on Linkedin and on Facebook. Then someone suggested I should  try to use Instagram, as a lot of people were watching videos there. So I did, I created my Instagram account. And because I wanted to make sure people could watch my videos, even if they were not connected with me on Linkedin or Facebook, I decided to start my own  YouTube Channel!  

So stay tuned and subscribe! I promise, there is more to come… 

Message to my younger self…

When I look back, I am grateful for my personal and professional achievements. My parents, who were not wealthy and who started to work when they were 14 and 16, always did their utmost to provide me with the best education there was, and taught me to work hard, to make sure I could take care of myself, no matter what the circumstances would be. They always listened and supported me to the best of their abilities. However, I never really had anyone around with some ‘business knowledge’ who I could speak to, to ask for advice, guidance or to brainstorm my ideas. So since you cannot turn back time, I decided to write to my younger self, to mention all the things I wish someone had told me when I was in my twenties…

  1. Think carefully about your first job. When you finish your studies and look for your first job, try to find a job that you want, in an industry that you like or that you’d like to learn more of. I know in certain countries/places in the world, young people do not often have the luxury to choose between jobs and sometimes, when they get one, they’re so happy that they jump onto an opportunity, without really thinking ‘is it really the job I want to do / the company I want to work for?’ If you do have to take a job that you’re not really sure of, make sure that you give yourself 3 to 6 months to see whether this is the right ‘starting point’, or if you should start looking for another job that will meet your requirements. This step is crucial, as it will often define the direction you’re going to go.
  2. Find a mentor, someone who has experience and/or skills in areas you’d like to learn/improve. This person will guide you, will challenge you, will ask you questions you did not think of, and will help you see things from different perspectives. You’ll also learn certain tips and tricks quicker, which will give you an edge above other people in the same situation as you. This mentor may be a colleague, but it could also be a family member, a friend or a neighbour who could act as an objective soundboard.
  3. Have a long-term goal in mind. I often say ‘things happen for a reason’. When you have a goal in mind, things will definitely happen. It may take months or years before they happen, but when they do, you’ll recognize the signs and you’ll jump on the opportunity, getting you closer to where you want to be. If you do not have a specific long-term goal in mind, you may want to try the following: I sometimes challenge myself with the following questions: ‘Imagine you’re 80, and you look back at your life and what you achieved: what would you like to see? What would you like to be proud of?’ These are difficult questions to which you may not have a straight answer yet. However, doing this exercise will help you break down your goal and the different steps you need to take to achieve them.
  4. Never give up. Life is full of surprises, good and bad. It throws at you lots of challenges, professionally and personally, Even if it’s tough to deal with these challenges (and to make things worse, they often come at the same time), do not give up. It’s not the challenges that define you, it’s how you react to them. We have all been there, thinking it’s never going to end. But try to stay positive: do whatever you can to make things better and you’ll see, things will get better. Remember: when something is not going as planned, you never lose: you either win or you learn.
  5. It’s not all about motivation. I was often told that I was ‘lucky’: lucky to have a nice job, a nice car, a nice house, etc. People are quick to criticize, they often only see the tip of the iceberg but do not see what’s happening below. It takes lots of hard work, motivation and dedication to achieve your goals, but none of it would be possible without one thing: discipline. We’re all motivated to do a good job, to stay healthy, etc. However, it’s the things you do day after day, that will make you achieve what you want in life, that will make you reach your goals and help you get to the next leve