SWEDEN - My first professional visit outside the United States was to the country of Sweden. My client was the Swedish telecommunication company Ericsson. In 1984 AT&T was split into seven regional operating companies - known as "Baby Bells." Ericsson and other companies were now dealing with seven companies rather than just "Ma Bell." This called for new initiatives, new strategies, and new presentations - in English!
There were communication challenges. While virtually everyone in Sweden speaks some or a lot of English, the Ericsson executives were Swedes and engineers! Neither Swedes nor engineers are noted for their out-going personalities. However, they did learn quickly and adjusted comfortably to communication meeting in California, New York, and Texas.
I love the country of Sweden! I was there in summers when you could begin a round of golf at 8:00 P.M. I was also there during winter when the snow was deep, the temperature very cold, and you never saw the sun. The people are warm, intelligent, and internationally connected. Be sure to enjoy their strong and delicious coffee and their reindeer steak - as good as any beef steak I have ever eaten!
I did not recognize at the time the impact this training would have on my professional life and business. I now specialize in training people who are required to speak in English when English is not their first language. I have done such work in 28 countries on five continents - with three more countries in the planning stage. As the world gets "smaller" and businesses become more interconnected, this communication skill has become more highly prized.
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