Best Practice: Localize
Posted by kenhoward on May 30, 2007
One fateful trip to Cleveland several years ago, I learned a difficult lesson: people don’t like it when you make fun of the place they live. Even if they live in a city that was once so polluted that the river caught on fire.
Since then, I’ve tried to err on the other extreme when working at a client away from where I live – I try to learn things about the location I’m working in, and talk about their sports teams, local government, news headlines, etc., as though I was a long-term resident. This diverts attention from the fact that I’m a contractor or consultant, and people tend to be more open and cooperative with me.
I now do this when public speaking, teaching, around the office, and in settings away from the office.