Kuala Lumpur and Client Collaboration
Last month, several Aperian Global employees flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to meet with an international group of employees from one of our clients to collaborate with them on a number of ongoing projects. We spoke with Kristen Timmons, who led the group, about her experience there with this client, who we’ve been working with for almost a decade.
“We were invited, as a training partner, to a client’s annual meeting, which was great. It gave us insight into the challenges the client was facing and their strategy for the coming year. It also helped us raise awareness among the entire client team about our current projects and how Aperian Global’s services can help with future initiatives they were discussing.”
Being physically present at the meeting had other benefits. According to Kristen, “In addition to planning, we were also able to share some best practices for working effectively across cultures that could be used immediately. For example, the employees in attendance were from all around the world, with different cultural backgrounds and different levels of English proficiency. We recommended that presentations in English should include time to break into smaller groups for discussion, allowing teams to talk in their native languages—sharing ideas, confirming understanding—before coming back together as a group.”
Did Kristen and her team spend all of their time in conference rooms?
“No, I had a bit of time to explore. I went to a neat local market, actually, and browsed through the fruits and vegetables and cow heads. I met a lovely Singaporean couple that talked about why they moved to and loved Malaysia. I asked them about a fruit I hadn’t seen before and they immediately bought a bag of them to share. It was langsat and was in season. They taste like a grapefruit!”
It sounds like a small thing, but having time to explore a locale— even for a few short hours— can add to your understanding of the culture and will help build relationships based on shared experiences when working with clients. Make sure to allow time for it during your travels!