In my past 1.5 years as a Social Media Manager at TÜV Rheinland, I quickly learned that working with colleagues from all over the world would be everyday business. Our weekly English lessons therefore are quite helpful to keep the business vocabulary in our minds.
Of course email writing in English is not the problem – you can take your time to think about what you would like to say and which words to use. If in doubt, you can always ask an online translator. But I felt that the email-conversations with my colleagues were a bit impersonal. Who am I actually talking to? What is he or she like? What challenges does he or she have to face?
Sometimes you can´t really truly understand each other if you´ve never met. That is why our team decided to organize a global Social Media meeting. So in March, our colleagues from Singapore, China, Brazil and USA came to Cologne to get to know each other better.
Different cultures – different challenges
What we quickly found out was that we all have individual challenges concerning our Social Media activities. Most of the social media channels that we use in Germany, for example, are blocked in China – they use other platforms instead. And for obvious reasons Germans don´t know (or understand) much about the channels in China.
I also had to understand that there are a lot of cultural differences to overcome – not only between the members of the international Social Media team, but also with regard to our followers. People in Germany normally separate their work life from the free time. That´s totally different from people in Asia, for example, where the two are intertwined. And this, again, is reflected in social media.
People from different cultures face social media in different ways. What a great opportunity to learn from each other in this workshop!
After the first day of our workshop, one thing was crystal clear:
collaboration is the answer.
Dombesuch & Kölsch: typical German after-work activities
After a long day of intensive sessions we organized a typical German evening activity for our guests: We booked a special “roof tour” on top of the Cologne cathedral, more commonly called “Kölner Dom”. The view over the city at sunset was amazing although I´m afraid of heights and had to hold on to my colleagues while walking around. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one suffering from vertigo, so this was a team building activity for sure.
After I/we had survived the tour and reached the ground safely via an elevator – which by the way is TÜV Rheinland certified – we of course had to visit a German brewery. We had excellent German food, and obviously our international colleagues had to try a Kölsch, i.e. a special type of beer brewed only in Cologne.
A great ending to a long day of new impressions.