Build confidence through effective communications

by Mary Luk

Louis Hop Lee, trainer; Catherine Chan, executive director, Informatics (HK) Ltd

Group learning helps sales and marketing professionals prepare for success

For many experienced sales and marketing professionals, making a sales pitch or marketing presentation to clients can still be a challenge. For a Chinese speaker to give the presentation in English, the challenge can be even greater.,

Trainer Louis Hop Lee, who is conducting an Executive Certificate in Business English programme for Sales and Marketing Professionals at Informatics Professional Development Centre (IPDC), believes that through group learning and with expert tuition, the nerves can be overcome and all can become effective sales and marketing presenters.

"One of the benefits of learning in groups is that all participants have the opportunity to make presentations themselves and be the audience for the other's. They can also effectively identify and learn from each other's mistakes," Mr Lee notes. "Many participants can be nervous when they are first asked to make an individual presentation. However, through careful preparation and practice, they can quickly overcome their reticence."

He further stresses that executives who join the courses come from a wide range of backgrounds but they all have a strong desire to improve their communication skills. Many senior business people in Hong Kong recognise that improving their proficiency in English will help them reach the next rung in their career ladder, while for those entering the business world it is important to build a solid platform of skills and knowledge for future development.

Focused training

IPDC's executive director Catherine Chan adds that: "The Business English Training courses are tailor-made for sales and marketing professionals." The centre uses experienced trainers from relevant industries and aims to enhance professionals' qualifications and careers with a practical approach to skills development.

The training goes beyond general communication skills. Participants are taught how to be positive and use the correct tone to send across messages effectively and with style. Participants will also learn how to overcome objections, be persuasive, identify false statements and close a sales deal tactfully.

At a more advanced level, the curriculum focuses on particular areas in sales and marketing. Participants will be trained how to prepare a budget analysis, present reports, corporate material and advertisements for the media.

Mr Lee believes that many local professionals will need to polish their language skills in order to reach their full potential. "Learners must grasp every opportunity to write, listen, read and speak with English-speakers around them. Effective English communication skills are of paramount importance in maintaining Hong Kong as a world-class business centre. This is particularly true for sales and marketing professionals who rely on speaking and writing to promote business."

Taken from Career Times 30 June 2006
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