Notes: Professional singer and harpist
My name is Katie Targett-Adams. I am self-employed with 3 businesses and am now based in Hong Kong:
Professional Singer and Harpist
Founder of Ceroc in Asia (social partner dance franchise from UK)
Founder of SuperStyle Asia (personal branding and etiquette consultancy)
What languages have you learned?
I have learned German, Spanish, Mandarin and a little French.
How have language skills helped you in your work?
My languages greatly helped to shape my repertoire as a ‘travelling minstrel’. For each country my harp and I visited, I would sing and perform a song in the resident language. Essentially this is what catapulted me to move to Hong Kong 9 years ago. After taking a Scotvec in Mandarin at St Georges School for Girls in my final year, I learned to sing a song in Mandarin. When I was invited to perform in Shanghai, I found that the audience really appreciated how much time and enjoyment I had invested in their music and culture. And just like that, my adventures in Asia began.
What benefits do you think language skills bring to your work?
Language skills allow me to connect better with people. The instant you show you have an understanding of someone else’s culture it creates a deeper bond, and that’s a hugely satisfying feeling.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering learning a language?
To help keep yourself motivated plan a trip to that country, so your skills can go ‘live’. Once you have seen the colours of the country, tasted the food, met the people and built up confidence in your communication, you will stay eager to continue learning the language. Back home, listen to podcasts on walks or commutes to/from school or work to keep up a regular slot for practice during your busy week.
Do you have any tips on how best to approach communicating in a language you have little knowledge of?
Smile and make eye contact. These two elements are fundamental skills we emphasize at SuperStyle. If someone feels you are friendly and open, they will make the extra effort to communicate and connect with you. Keep an eye out for cultural cues, which help you to show respect and build greater rapport.
In your experience, how would you say that cultural awareness has been important?
When evaluating success, psychologists generally agree that IQ counts for only 10-25%, and the rest of your success comes down to emotional intelligence or EQ. Cultural awareness is a very important way to demonstrate your EQ. It’s an unspoken language and a sensitivity which you will need to learn if you are serious about speaking or interacting with another culture. Once you have developed this, many doors open.
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