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Overseas training: Help needed!


I have a training assignment in Mumbai next month which is likely amongst other things to include some delivery of soft skill courses. I was wondering whether anyone can offer any guidance on ettiquette and culture, such as preferred delivery styles, things to do and things to avoid. I have never delivered training outside the UK before so this is all very new. Also, although I have been told that English is a main language in Mumbai, would it be appropriate, as with other foreign travel, to brush up on a few Hindi phrases such us, please thank you etc. Any help would be gratefully recieved.
Iain Reynolds

9 Responses

  1. Cultural awareness at Farnham Castle
    Depending on your assignment (duration, level of audience, etc) it might be worth considering The Farnham Castle training centre at Farnham, Surrey which provides cultural awareness programmes to prepare people for overseas assignments.

  2. India
    I have a friend, a training & development consultant, who makes regular trips to India to deliver training, if you pass me your details I’ll ask him to contat you directly,to discuss further.

    many thanks

    [email protected]

  3. Training in Mumbai

    I found that delegates from this part of the world (I was training ‘down the road’ in Pune)will really respect people such as yourself but you are expected to be very knowledgeable on your subject (not a problem for you I’m sure!). Delegates are usually attentive and participative and respond well to those who try and bring the subject ‘alive’ through discussion and involvement.

    The biggest difference I was aware of is that the maintenance of esteem in front of others is very important so therefore feedback has to be very positively structured. In fact, for some, help on improving weak performance whilst retaining a person’s self-worth is a difficult ‘balance’ to find, so much so that some complain that some feedback sessions have little value as the issue isn’t being properly addressed or confronted. You may need to think about this if feedback is an important feature of your programme.

    Traffic in Mumbai can – at times – be an exhilarating experience and, one final tip, get your Ruppees broken down so that you have lots of 10 rupee notes for tips at the hotel, drivers etc.

    Have a great time


  4. My Experience
    I have just got back from training in India for 18 months, and the biggest challenge I faced is the fact that the educational system is very theoretical.

    This made it hard for the trainees, who grasped the theory (recall facts and figures) of the subject but they could not put this into real situations.

    If a situation arose outside the ‘known’ area, they found it difficult to resolve as it was not a situation they were taught. This lead to a lot of exercises on the importance of information gathering and questioning techniques.


  5. Training in Mumbai
    I have twice trained in Pune this year. One thing I noticed was the terrible timekeping of the students. Often they would be an hour late for sessions and there was nothing I could do about it. The students are very willing to learn and need to be involved so limit the chalk and talk. They are also very competative so team competitions really liven things up. Watch out for cheating (same as here then). Don’t worry about Hindi as it is not the local language and any way the level of English is excellent, puts us to shame. Do watch out for using English phrases as those are not widely understood. One major thing though is to watch what you eat and drink. Three colleagues of mine suffered sever food poisoning and that was the food in the hotel. Only eat cooked food, stick to vegitarian if you can and use bottled rather than tap water – even for your teeth. This applies even if they tell you the water is purified. Prepare to be amazed, shocked, saddened, awestruck and every other emotion. Above all have fun.

  6. Cultural training
    Contact Laxmi Chaudry who is Indian by birth but has worked in Asia Pacific companies for many years. She speaks 4 Indian languages. She provides cross cultural training on 1-1 basis or for groups. The coaching can be face to face or over the phone.

    Laxmi Chaudhry
    1Stop HR

    E: [email protected]
    T: +44 (0) 1628 630064
    M: +44 (0) 7793 742767
    F: +44 (0) 1628 638933

    Sandra Beale

  7. Training in India
    There can be quite a lot of new ‘stuff’ for a trainer fresh to working in India – differences around gender relations, attitudes to status, attitudes to time, the acceptability of different kinds of touch, a different type of English and that is just within the training room! Outside it – there are the different attitudes to what is private and what is not, how to eat politely etc etc. I would recommend you do as much reading as you can before you go – an understanding of your learners’ cultural background will help you meet their needs much better. If you would like to know where to find out more give me a call.

    Although your trainees’ English maybe extremely eloquent I think it is a mark of respect to use a few words in Hindi. (It is always a great icebreaker when it sounds a bit funny too!.) India has such a rich culture why not give it some respect!

    thinkingpeople specialises in cross-cultural competence and I would be happy to talk to you more about my experiences of working in India and training Indian people if you would like – no charge!! (07977 163655)

  8. My experience
    All that Neil Gratton said is accurate. Don’t worry about Hindi (it’s only one of India’s 17 official languages) and accept the timekeeping culture. If your trip is short, the cultural differences won’t matter very much.

    From my experience, the Indians are usually very focused on getting their money/time’s worth. So, set their expectations (about the learning objectives) right from the beginning.

    Keep a close watch on what you eat: no ice-cream or salads, bottled water only, cooked food in clean restaurants,.. etc. And do get a Hepatitis B vaccination shot at least 2-3 weeks before your trip.

    A useful greeting to use is “Namaste” which can be used to mean hello or good afternoon/evening..

    Have fun!


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