It is so unfair… (Calimero inside)

Back from a 3 days intensive European training session called "Advanced Management Programme", I’ve learnt so many fundamental rules and reminded such a huge number of forgotten basics that I’d need to create a dedicated blog to expose them all (I may think of doing that at least to make sure I’ll never forget any of them again). Nevertheless, as a key learning, I have to put at the top of my list an unexpected lesson.

Even if organised in Switzerland (French side), the whole training was clearly Anglo-Saxon oriented :

  • The 2 (amazing) teachers and guests invited were coming from the US
  • 2/3 of the audience was made of English-native or -workers people (lucky they are)
  • Most of the case studies were inspired by UK and US based real story

The key learning is : the challenge of business/meetings in English for non-English people like me is not to be able to speak a perfect academic English not even to simply understand and be understood by the other participants, it is just a question of what it takes in terms of energy. A question of how that energy captured by the language makes you loose key strengths : fast-thinking, precision, capacities to be synthetic and analytic, to react in time. To be clear, my level of English is somehow acceptable for a wide range of activities but is far too low to get any chance to be perceived as a smart guy in a such challenging context. You know what : I definitely hate the idea ! Yet, that did not avoid me to learn a lot, may be as much as my English colleagues, it just took me more time and energy…

Why did that occur to me this time more than ever before ? Probably because the level of the training was really high and based on an ongoing interaction which requested the audience to be on a “turn-on” mode all the time. In addition, it is for sure more frustrating to miss a part of a speech when you feel, know, understand how brilliant it is but don’t get immediately all the benefits because of stupid language barriers. Considering the space taken by Anglo-Saxon people not only during the sessions but after, late in the night, when all other people were running to bed totally exhausted, it seems obvious that the language plays a role far beyond the visible aspects.

I can speak in English (with mistakes but who cares ? take this note as a test), the experience helped me to understand what "fluent in English" really means. That is what is now at the top of my "needs list" for my personal/professional development, whatever it takes.

4 Replies to “It is so unfair… (Calimero inside)”

  1. J’espère que ta note en anglais n’est qu’un one-shot destiné à te faire un peu mieux sortir sur les moteurs de recherche anglo-saxons… Et rien d’autre ! Sinon tu pourras appeler Guillaume du Gardier, mon modèle… 🙂 (il n’est pas linké ici, ça va).

    Cette note m’interpelle car j’avais aussi écrit sur ce sujet, ici : http://adamkesher.canalblog.com/archives/2005/10/04/862012.html#comments

    Cela me fascine de voir à quel point la simple maîtrise de l’anglais, qui n’est pas considérée comme plus “décisive” que ça dans les entreprises, permet aux anglo-saxons d’écraser tous les autres. J’ai une amie qui est directrice du marketing France dans un grand groupe américain, et qui me disait : « ‘l’Europe’ a réuni les services marketing de tous les pays pour un séminaire de trois jours. Pendant une demi-journée, tout le monde participait. Puis rapidement, ce n’était que les Anglais et les Américains qui intervenaient. Tous les autres étaient largués, on ne comprenait rien. Ils parlaient trop vite, et on n’osait pas leur dire de peur d’avoir l’air ridicules »

    Je crois que tout est dit !

  2. Tu crois vraiment que je vais me fatiguer à rédiger des notes en anglais et bruler 2 fois plus d’énergie ? 😉 Non en fait le sujet me paraissait approprié et puis c’est mon côté joueur. Très franchement, j’avais pas pensé aux moteurs de recherche, sûrement parce que je suis pas doué pour consulter mes stats et que j’y suis donc pas trop sensible…

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