Polish-Anglo networking & culture (FIVE)

Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence
by Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence on December 28, 2019
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December 20, 2019
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January 20, 2020

This Blog is a 10 minute read.

It discusses business development and we refer to this as rainmaking.

Our attention is Polish-to-Anglo networking and how the differences of culture influence professional success.

*Please forward this one to anyone involved in Polish-to-Anglo business development.

If your goals are linked to business development we share our thinking around the Polish-Anglo ‘cues’ you must grasp to improve your success in rainmaking. A ‘cue’ can be defined as; ‘a hint; intimation; guiding suggestion’.

We believe it is hard to find cues through common language alone. When building rapport and strategic relationships we have to do find these cues across language and culture.

To be successful in business development you need to look for the intimation, for the timing, for the delivery style as well as the content of the delivery itself.

This is co-authored by Cambridge lecturer Katarzyna Lanucha. Kasia is a linguist and a recognised cross-culture specialist consulting as Speak Culture at an enterprise level.

Kasia writes with Bob Spence.

Bob is a business development specialist and works within the legal sector as a trainer and coach with Wilkinson Read & Partners. He also coaches in central Europe with EVOLET partners a leading business development consultancy.

Culture & rainmaking

This is 5 of 8 articles exploring the skill set of successful rainmaking within the British business community.

If you are a Polish professional or entrepreneur needing to generate results within the UK then the emphasis of this article is to give you a process to interpret some of the hidden but critical outcomes of what might be happening.

(The Blog is in a Polish-Anglo networking, initial introduction or referral marketing context).

Our aim is to give you practical business development tools. These are what Bob Spence refers to as the ’post-handshake’ action plan!

Culture & rainmaking

We start with communication cues and reflect on two thoughts.

Polish-to-Anglo sales methodology is our starting point. This stems from the considerable volume of sales training accessible in Poland. The majority of this material is US sourced and has been translated directly into Polish. This ensured the concepts are easy to engage with and sympathetic to the reader. This Polish material, sourced from the USA, is converted back into English and used in a Polish-to-British context. We come back to this deliberation within this article.

Culture & rainmaking

The second consideration, to Polish-to-Anglo sales communication, is contained within the Hofstede cross cultural model. This is the Hofstede ranking for masculinity and this is very, very, similar between Poland and the UK.

The ‘Masculinity’ side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material rewards for success. Society at large is more competitive.



This refers to the Hofstede insights comparison.

Culture & rainmaking

In this Blog, we recommend your sales methodology source and the Hofstede cross-cultural weighting should be key considerations in a Polish-Anglo exchange.

Bob’s opinion is that sales communication has a similar pattern of language, sentence construction, and timing as that of telling a joke.

Essentially you have to set up the joke in the following way:

  • Give your audience all the information they need to ‘get’ the joke
  • This has to be in as few words as possible
  • You have to know what they know
  • Also know what they don’t know

You have to communicate within a frame of reference and this creates comfort for the listener to engage with the humour.

Social Commercial Comfort 5next

Such frame of reference often refers to national culture. Humour is hardwired and the result of experience in a particular culture and society. Although humour is present in all human groups, its content varies significantly across cultures. Many jokes don’t translate well—or at all—because of differences in social structure and cultural norms. There is no universally appreciated joke; what is funny in one culture may not be amusing in another.

It is worth considering that the delivery of the joke will not compensate for the lack of frame of reference.

Culture & rainmaking

On that basis, imagine that a very funny joke was told in Chicago by an American:

  • The audience to that joke, a visiting Pole, then translated it into Polish
  • It was then emailed to a friend in Krakow.
  • This joke was then told in Polish in Krakow later that year.
  • The person listening to that joke in Krakow could speak English.
  • They told the same joke in London to a British listener 3 months later.

What are the odds that you would give that the joke has the same impact?

Will it plug into the listener in the way it was meant?

Our experience is to be very, very, wary of transatlantic thinking that has not been exposed to some type of POST TRANSLATIONAL stress test. Having a superb delivery will not compensate for an inaccurate framework and the more fluent you are in English the more unforgiving the recipient is to your message if it lacks accurate cues.

We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language

Oscar Wilde

This thinking is no different to a business development conversation as we reviewed three popular and successful US sales models that have been translated into Polish. They are available as sales training programmes too. It is our consideration that it is unlikely that US source material functions in the UK without modification around the cues that each sales model generated. In fact, the more complex and valuable your offer the less likely it was the material would function in the UK in its pure US format.

Is your US sourced business development approach exposed to this in the same way US sourced humour would be?

Culture & rainmaking

We are studying recognised sales models and approaching the rainmaking differences they expose the user to via the potential impact of the Geert Hofstede cross-cultural model.

Much US business development literature reflects the high masculinity ranking within the Hofstede modelling of cultures: 

The Masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material rewards for success. Society at large is more competitive.

In terms of Polish-to-Anglo sales communication, this ranking for masculinity is very similar for Poland and the UK. It can be very visible at the start of a sales meeting or an introduction. It means that at the earliest point of a business relationship there appears to be great similarity between Polish and British business goals. This together with the potential match to what we describe as; ‘US English-language selling methods’, mean that it often seems straightforward to precede. This initial matching acts as motivation and confidence to proceed with our initial contact or introduction decisively. Why not? – as there is early evidence of encouragement.

Culture & rainmaking

If you look at the Hofstede model; ‘Masculinity’ is the one dimension that is virtually the same between Polish and UK culture. It is the only one that is such a close match. This has the potential to generate a misleading platform for the rest of our relationship building approach. It leads us to believe that we are not so different and surely, we can proceed within our Polish frame of reference?

This is not so. If you think in terms of humour and business development it is critical to ask the question:

‘What does this audience know about my joke/business subject?’

Before you emphasise your value within an introduction start from that framework. A 60 second pitch well delivered will not compensate for this. How does mastery of your pitch move you along the social-commercial-comfort scale?

People rarely connect or listen intently to things they do not understand or an approach that makes them feel uncomfortable or wary.

Do not assume that the Hofstede Masculinity rating and a US business development approach will take you forward effectively in front of a UK audience.  So, consider that joke telling structure when you have an opportunity to talk about the value that you may offer to another party.

Culture & rainmaking

Our Blog uses RELEVANT © as a reference point. This is the rainmaking process to being introduced as described in the second Blog. The ‘E’ means to EMPHASISE.

  • Emphasise the value you can deliver to any introductions that are available to you

Use this to create your starting point where the potential cultural differences are minimal. This is different to explaining what you are or what you do. As an example of communication misfiring this is Bob’s example of a joke not his grasp of humour.

‘I accidentally hit a child’s head with my surfboard. It wasn’t serious though. The board was undamaged’.

Based on the framework:

  1. We have the setup.
  2. In Bob’s world, surfboards are expensive and a vital possession.
  3. Our expectation is that it wasn’t serious for the child.
  4. Then the punch line; ‘The board was undamaged.’
  5. It alters that it was not serious for Bob or his ‘prized’ surfboard.

On what basis would that ‘attempt’ at humour survive a multiple language interpretation? If you don’t know that Bob is joking and he values his surfboard does this have any humorous content outside the surfer community?

Culture & rainmaking

It can be misleading to believe that you are receiving early concurrence in an initial conversation even if you have sophistication in language. You have to consider the framework of the other person. Use the joke structure to your approach. If a 60 second pitch format is correct then be absolutely certain that the other person can hear it within a valuable context. The more sophisticated and complex your offer then the less likely that 60 second style communication is the delivery system. Make sure that they do not need to search for what you are really communicating. You also have to ensure your approach is culture-matching. Even if your communication could be exceptionally valuable it will not be received in that manner as a poor culture-match will fail to connect with your UK conversation opportunity.

‘Even when you are marketing to your target audience you are still engaging with a single person at any given moment’

J.R. Spence

In our next Blog we will continue to explore this initial framework and share our basic Polish-Anglo sales model that we have developed to give you a road map of behaviour options.

Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence
Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence
5next co-founder. Trainer, networking coach, writer & author. Educated at L. S. E. & Wits University. ‘$1,000,000 Round Table’ sales qualifier. Author ILM accredited: ‘Executive Programme in Professional & Business Networking’. Rainmaking experience in RSA, UK, France, Finland, Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Dubai, Poland, Germany, Slovak Republic & the USA.
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