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ACEP Business Networking Meeting

Friday May 16, 2003, 12 noon - 2 pm

Place: Century Palace Chinese Restaurant
Address: 398 Ferrier Street, Markham
Cost: $15 per person, $10 for members (Chinese Dim-sum)
Contact:
Nancy Chan levron99@yahoo.com
Thomas Qu thomasqu@rogers.com
Kamil Sadiq 905-471-7988
Victor Salazar 416-491-0988 vicsalazar@rogers.com

Guest Speaker: Ms. Teresa McGill, Director - Gandy Associates
Topic: "First Impressions Count"
To make a good first impression, you need a communication style that is clear, friendly and confident. This presentation will teach you five communication techniques to instantly improve your rapport with the people you meet

Ms. Teresa McGill is a Language and Communication Specialists.

It wasn¹t so long ago when the simple acts of shaking a stranger¹s hand or dining out in a public restaurant were considered almost taboo in the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) affected GTA. Yet within 24 hours of the World Health Organization¹s lifting of Toronto from the list of SARS infected travelling destinations, Asian Business leaders came out 40 strong showing optimism and enthusiasm in getting back to conducting and building business in the vibrant Canadian Asian market.

They were attending a networking session of the Asian Canadian Entrepreneurs and Professionals (ACEP) at the New Century Restaurant in Markham, Ontario. Among
them were realtors, business educators, import retailers and even a municipal electoral candidate in Markham¹s Ward 6, who had all braved metro¹s notorious Friday afternoon long-weekend traffic on the rainstorm-soaked May 16th to attend.

The luncheon get-together featured guest speaker Tereasa McGill, Founder of Gandy Associates Language and Communications Specialists. Ms. McGill spoke
elloquently and informatively on the importance of first impressions and 5 ways to improve business communications. She cautions that people form a lasting impression of new acquaintances within the first minute of meeting them, and that what is conveyed through speech or actual words spoken accounts for only 10 percent of that impression. Up to 40 percent of communicaiton is conveyed through voice and 50 percent or more through body language and physical appearance.

She offers these five pointers on how to improve business communications based on North American cultural norms:

1. Facial Expression

People born in North America tend to use and expect facial expression such as eye contact and smiling to show a connection. Listeners encourage the speaker and show attention and respect by smiling and nodding. Showing no
eye contact, by a listener, shows disinterest and by a speaker, implies dishonesty. It¹s important to take local culture into account when using these techniques because communication styles are not always universal. Using eye contact and smiling, for example in East Asian culture, could imply an invitation to a sexual encounter!"

2. The Handshake

What is considered the ideal handshake by North American standards is a firm but not hard ³bone-crushing² palm-to-palm contact that lasts 2 - 3 seconds or through 1 - 3 moderate pumps. The five types of handshakes to avoid are: the limp ³dead fish², the over forceful ³bone-crusher² or dominating hand on top, the too delicate finger-pinch, the over enthusiastic ³water pump² and the directional pulling handshake. If however, your acquaintance exhibits any of these 5 types of handshakes, you need to be responsive to accommodate that style.

3. The Rate of Speech

Speaking at the rate of 80 - 150 words per minute is considered ideal for conducting business. Speaking too quickly increases the chances for committing errors in speech and does not allow the listener to fully grasp the ideas being conveyed. This is especially likely within a community in which English is not the first language. The speaker might then have to repeat what¹s been said, wasting time and increasing frustration. Further, having control over your speech would make you calmer in presenting your ideas coherently. Also keep in mind that varying your rate of speech could create greater impact, such as slowing down or pausing to emphasize a point.

4. Intonation

Intonation is the pattern of pitch change in your voice. There is much variation on it by factors such as culture, female or male gender, and age differences. A flat voice is considered boring by normal North American Standards. You can improve intonation by finding a role model to follow, such as a television or radio broadcaster. You can change the pitch of your voice for one word of each sentence. Changing the pitch too often would sound unnatural, like you¹re singing a song. Using intonation appropriately creates emotional impact, and can convey enthusiasm, surprise, sarcasm, aggression or even ask a question. This again must be applied with cultural sensitivity in mind because of course, Chinese speakers know that in the Chinese language, changing intonation can change the actual meaning of words.

5. Pronunciation

Saying your name clearly is important for making a good first impression. Choose a pronumciation style the listener can understand. This may mean slowing down and pausing between your family and given names to give emphasis, adapting a name in another language (such as using an English name instead of a Chinese name) or shortening a long and difficult to pronounce name. You can improve your pronunciation of speech in general by conducting exercises such as by repeating frequently used sounds. Here are some daily
warm-ups you can do:

Ba ba ba ba...Da da da da...Ga ga ga ga
Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga
AH ‹ OO ‹ EE... AH ‹ OO ‹ EE...AH ‹ OO ‹ EE

If you¹ ve found this information useful, the ACEP leadership invites you to attend our next Networking Session and pass on the message to bring a friend to these gatherings too!

Written by:
Eva Chui
Freelance Writer
evaywchui@hotmail.com




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