Cross Cultural Networking

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2011 3:49pm

Christina Boonstra meets members of the Chinese delegation…

Fancy working in Beijing? If there was ever a time to start learning Mandarin, then it’s now. This year’s conference hosts a group of around 12 delegates from China, all with an agenda to collaborate with UK media companies. But what are they actually looking for? And what does it take to make a good impression? I spoke to the delegates to find out more.

Mr Ma Zhiyuan, deputy director of Children’s TV at CCTV, the main broadcasting network in China, along with his colleagues, arrived in Sheffield yesterday at 4pm. Mr Ma said he was most excited about the opportunity to meet some of the creative minds behind leading kids TV programmes, and learning about the inspiration behind them. He’s also on the look out for some first class animators to join his team.

His favourite UK children’s show is Blue Peter, and it seems educational TV is on top of the agenda for these delegates. Ouyang Xiangqun, director of youth http;// (that’s the link for the English version), said she wants to create more web content that mixes knowledge with entertainment. She’s on the look out for new interactive mediums to keep those 130 million (give or take a few) Chinese children learning without even knowing they’re doing it.

Whether that’s maths, politics or English, as long as its informative, she’s happy. She also added that it’s about time for Brits to finally gave in to the fact that its not only Chinese kids that need to be bilingual, but British ones too.

So, if you can gift wrap your knowledge in shiny, happy, fun things, then you’re ready to get cracking on some serious networking. Here are some top tips I’ve gleaned from the experts, so that the cultural chasm doesn’t get in the way your opportunity:

  1. Speak slowly, or in Mandarin if you can, if you haven’t quite got that down, then try to grab a translator.

  2. If you want to give them your business card, hand it over with two hands.

  3. When you receive their card, don’t just stuff it in your pocket, study it carefully, a complimentary ‘ooh’ is recommended if you want to leave an extra good impression.

Apart from that, I guess it’s down to you. Happy cross cultural networking.