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Councils attracting overseas business

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Mayors, councillors, CEOs and officers representing all councils of North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NQROC) were the first group of LGAQ members to participate in the new Asia Capability training as part of the LGAQ Trade and Investment Program.

The Program is an initiative built on a new MOU between the LGAQ and Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ). Funding from TIQ has covered the cost of the training program, supporting councils to develop successful relations with potential partners, clients and broader networks. Relations vital for successful long-term diplomacy and business opportunities for Queensland councils and communities, particularly within Asian markets.

Developed specifically to suit the needs of our members, the cultural intelligence program aims to build awareness and confidence when dealing with foreign companies and communities.

The half or full day workshops will be delivered in line with Regional Organisations of Councils (ROC) meetings and will look at stories and connections from each region to investigate how they can become opportunities for increased engagement.

This first workshop with NQROC provided a great example when exploring the connection between Palm Island and Japan and how that might provide a foundation for future trade and investment prospects.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM (Member access to LG Online required)

Understanding other cultures is a key element to building solid international relationships, and workshop participants compared East-West cultural norms, with the presenter employing artwork from the book ‘East meets West’ by Yang Liu to question participant’s interpretation of these concepts and images and to dig deeper into cultural stereotyping. Other cultural comparisons included ‘deal focused’ cultures compared to ‘relationship focused’ cultures, differences in communication patterns and leadership styles, business etiquette and hierarchy, and the concept of ‘face’ - what it is? How to cause loss of face? How to give face?

The finer details of managing and preparing for successful meetings with international delegations included business card etiquette, the importance and meaning of seating plans, different meanings applied to colours and numbers across cultures, and the art of gift giving.

Looking beyond the development of strong relationships, the functional aspects of international trade activities to contribute to local and regional economic development were also addressed during the workshop. Engaging with government officials, key success factors in commercial partnerships and how social media, apps and the internet are influencing consumers and their tourism habits rounded out a comprehensive learning program.

"Asia can be a complex market to navigate, and it can take time and effort to develop the market specific knowledge and relationships needed to succeed. But now the prize for that patience, that persistence, that commitment is so, so much bigger than it’s ever been, and it’s really there for the taking. So.. we can’t rest on our laurels. I commend you on embracing the AsiaLink Business program and wish you and your communities great success," the Hon Andrew Robb, AO and chairman of Asialink Business.

With communities and small business often turning to their local councils for support and guidance on how to make inroads into overseas markets, this professional development program delivered by AsiaLink Business will assist councils to engage effectively with overseas delegations, stakeholders and partners.

Being culturally aware and adapting behaviour is critical to maximising opportunities and avoiding often embarrassing misunderstandings which can terminate a potential deal. This program is a way for councils to progress relationships in what is now a globally competitive and culturally sensitive business environment.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST TO PARTICIPATE (Member access to LG Online required)

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006


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