• Oana Țăpurică

Consultants are doing strange things - Ep. 1

Bulgaria, not many years ago. A cross-border cooperation project in which our role was to organize and moderate a workshop with 50 Bulgarian participants, on a topic with a strong social impact. An heterogeneous group, and a not communicative Bulgarian partner. The team of consultants was made up of 2 people from Synesis Partners and a traditional collaborator of ours, of Bulgarian nationality, with whom we had previous collaborations. Although we had assurances that all the guests know English, we preferred to make sure we have a good Bulgarian speaker with us...


We started the workshop with enthusiasm and a positive attitude, as written in all #public speaking textbooks. The audience was stunned, no one made a gesture, or a movement. It was clear, nobody understood a word in English. We had the contingency solution: our Bulgarian colleague. We begin to speak in Romanian, with the request that he provide the translation into Bulgarian. Although the presentation addressed relatively serious issues (poverty, social problems of rural communities, deficiencies of social protection systems, etc.) the whole room was smiling, they were relaxed, joking in Bulgarian with our colleague, some were laughing out loud, as if the colleague our Bulgarian would not have translated what we were saying but would have told them funny stories. It was the first time that we did not understand anything that happened from an event organized by us. Even up today we have not found out what our colleague told them to succeed in creating that state of generalized good disposition, but he certainly did not translate anything from our speech.


Lesson learned: Not always when you are in control, things go well, not always when you do not understand anything that happens around you things go wrong, not always the approach that has been successful nine times before, will be successful the tenth time as well. We are learning and moving on...



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