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Jun 15 16

Cross-cultural Awareness Training – A Matter of Perfect Timing!

by Marina Ibrahim, bizz buzz

Working Abroad

I have recently delivered a cross-cultural training to an assignee from Ukraine, who has been promoted to lead a new team in the UK. Having lived and worked in the UK for four months I noticed on the day of the training that she was experiencing some symptoms of stress: feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and demotivated – typical symptoms of culture shock, the rollercoaster of emotions, where – on the cultural adjustment curve – after the initial short-lived ‘holiday or honeymoon stage’, the ‘frustration stage’ kicks in.

Trends of globalisation sees more and more people moving abroad for career reasons, job progression or because companies expand into new international markets and want to establish new operations-, logistics- or sales-teams. Who wouldn’t be excited experiencing a new country, new culture and new lifestyle?

BUT – These are also challenging times for everyone involved: employees and employers alike – both of course want the relocation and assignment to be successful and a valuable return on investment. International assignments and the move abroad are not as easy as a ‘walk in the park’.

IN FACT – most people do not even know that any lengthy stay abroad comes with a particular challenge that they often overlook. If left ignored and unmanaged, it can become a fatal recipe for failure and costly for the companies who paid for expensive relocation packages. Its consequences: Underperformance – Burnout – Absence – Premature termination of the assignment.

These are the costs and implications for assignments without any professional cross-cultural training and preparation – costs that could be avoided if cross-cultural training was considered as an investment. The training and tools provide insightful learning and empowers employees to gain self-awareness, self-reflection and an open-minded attitude so that they become ready to manage the cultural adjustment pro-actively, enjoyably and successfully.

“Great cultural training, really good session and I look forward to putting it all to use! The content has been extremely valuable for me. It was well delivered and the discussion on all areas has been helpful to think about different aspects of my assignment. Marina was extremely flexible in discussing all aspects of interests but also really structured to get it all done in the timeframe. I also learned how to manage the assignment to my strengths and to take all tools into account to manage cultural differences of my multi-cultural team.”

AND – cross-cultural training has to be time critical! Ideally placed during the first stage of the adjustment curve, soon after the arrival. At this stage the host country has still got the charm-of-newness factor – it is thrilling and feels as being on holiday. Applied during this stage of this euphoria cross-cultural training uses the momentum of the positive mindset to research and prepare coping strategies and develop an action plan to master the cross-cultural adjustment and to establish a new healthy balance between professional, personal and social life. Successfully implemented cross-cultural training can help the employee to ‘hit the ground running’.

To find out more how I can help your organisation or arrange a FREE review of your needs, please contact me on 07958 629 220 or email

Dec 10 15


by Marina Ibrahim, bizz buzz

I have a cosmopolitan background being German-Egyptian by birth. I am fluent in both English and German with further language skills in French and Arabic.

With a solid marketing background in the media and music business,  I have worked within corporate companies, universities and economic regeneration bodies based in Germany and in the UK. As a result I have in-depth knowledge, empathy and experience of the challenges and rewards involved with working internationally and living and working abroad.

An interest in cross-cultural issues led me to shift career to coaching and training.  I am professionally qualified with a Certificate in Cross-Cultural Management International Project Management Training. additionally I am able to draw upon a number of tools and resources to achieve results with my clients including: DiSC® Personality Profiling, Business Behaviour Coaching and Training, and  NLP techniques. I choose what is most appropriate for the task, individual, team or project in hand.


Dec 5 15

Business Marketing: All you need to know…

by Marina Ibrahim, bizz buzz

Shrewsbury WiRE Meeting 25th November 2015

Business Marketing: All You Need To Know…

presented by Marina Ibrahim from Bizz-Buzz Consulting

Marina stepped in to give an inspirational marketing talk at very short notice. After expressing our appreciation to her, she took to the floor and immediately engaged with the audience.

“So, let’s be practical, let’s get interactive… What is marketing?”

Marina got straight to the subject at hand and audience participation began immediately. There were shout-outs from those present contributing to the seven main aspects of marketing –

*Product/Services (knowing and understanding your client) *Positioning (Branding, Values, Understanding) *Pricing *Place *Promotion & *Publicity (incl. PR, Networking, Social Media, etc) *People and *Plan

She was extremely enthusiastic about this and agreed with the chorus of answers but explained at the heart of all this is the client.

Marina talked about her background as a trained and qualified marketer and her vast experience with the creative industries when working at the marketing department at music record label EMI in Germany she was responsible for national and international marketing campaigns from branding to promotion, for B2B and B2C (business to business and business to consumer).

WiRE, Shrewsbury, Marketing, Marina Ibrahim
Marina speaking at the November meeting for Shrewsbury WiRE Group

When she moved to the UK in 2002 she took on the role of marketing manager for a creative and digital media business start-up hub SP/ARK at University of Wolverhampton’s Science Park, where she supported creatives to become sustainably business savvy. That’s where she discovered not only her talent for coaching but also that – in combining it with her marketing skills and experience she could help all the creative and talented business owners who struggle to identify their USP (unique selling proposition) and their niche with their branding and marketing to develop their business successfully.

What’s the work profile of your client?

To be successful in business, you must be able to meet your client’s needs sensibly and profitably. Without this, you only have a hobby rather than a business.

You would want to find as much detail about your clients as possible so that you can profile them, understand them as meticulously as if you knew your ideal client from inside out, as much as you would your best friend. Building rapport with a potential customer you need to be specific about their needs and wants:

  • Likes / dislikes

  • Age and incomes

  • Understanding your demographic

  • What they watch / read / listen

  • How they spend their leisure time, their hobbies and interests

Social media can be key to engaging and getting new customer. Before the days of social media it needed 7 touches of marketing to secure a new client. But since the arrival of social media and the vast opportunities of engagement marketing through various channels, it involves multiple leading touches until a sale is made some are saying it takes up to 36 touches before you can win a new client.

But without a marketing strategy, focus and a plan, you can easily be wasting time, energy and money.

What is the treasure box in your business?

It is your database with all your contacts: prospects, clients, suppliers, peers, partners, social media lists (Twitter Followers, Facebook Likes and Friends etc.) Your database reflects your hard business work and your biggest asset in your business. The database gives you the opportunity to establish a direct dialogue with your prospects and clients via blogs, emails, newsletters. You can email members on your database / target members about special offers, upselling opportunities, they are warm leads, inform them about anything new launches, educate them about your area of expertise developing a know – like – trust relationship. The key foundation to build a successful business.

Marina also considers the blog as being a powerful marketing tool: “A blog is the heartbeat of your website!” Done well, regularly and consistently it keeps your website alive, attractive and is ideal for organic Google rankings, given that you are embedding all SEO search engine optimization relevant keywords in your blog to increase traffic to your website.

Marina Ibrahim, Marketing, WiRE
Marina Ibrahim, Marketing Guru talks at the Shrewsbury WiRE Networking Meeting

Branding comes from inside out: your passion, personality, values and integrity are all part of your business brand, your business Identity, all of which is crucial to distinguish yourself from competitors and becoming the darling of your clients.

Don’t underestimate pricing as marketing tool. It helps you with branding, positioning and attracting who are the right clients for you. Depending on the nature of your business you’d either decide to display or not display your prices on your website: For product-based and e-commerce business of course prices are displayed on the website. However, if you are in the service business you may or may not want to include them, either as information or with a deterrent effect for those who you wouldn’t want to have as customers in the first place. Pricing is a powerful marketing tool.

Feedback and Promotion

Marina also rates surveys, feedback and questionnaires as important measures helping every business to stay close to their clients and how they can value their clients. Make sure you evaluate what you do: from networking events, to editorials, email marketing to social media: “what gets managed gets measured” analyze these to see which marketing tools are working particularly well, and which don’t.

Her talk had made us all think in a more focused way about marketing in that it is not only doing and engaging with social media that brings sales and customers. You need to have a marketing strategy with a message, which your prospects and clients understand through the media your prospects and clients use and hang out in. Marina left us with the memorable phrase ringing in our ears:

Fail to plan? = Plan to fail…!”