Most of us can safely say that we can speak Mandarin… But how good are we when it comes to handling business Mandarin conversations in the workplace? Are you aware of the nuances of business terms, or how to approach a subject?

In Singapore, the majority usually struggle with Mandarin conversations that veer beyond food and complaining about the weather. Semantics aside, awareness of different cultures affects how you initiate or sustain a conversation too.

The Problem

Let’s call our client “Amy”. She noticed that about herself, but her job required her to speak business Mandarin to high net-worth Chinese clients. As a Singaporean however, her Mandarin proficiency never extended beyond what she learnt in school.

Our solution? A Taiwanese-native business Mandarin coach who’s had years of senior management experience in the corporate world.


Getting to Know Amy: Needs & Objectives

Prior to the first lesson, WantThingsDone clarified Amy’s purpose and expectations of the lesson.

Over the course of 1.5 hours, our gig expert assessed Amy’s Mandarin-speaking proficiency, and concluded that Amy mainly conversed in colloquial Mandarin – a big no-no in formal settings.

Amy wasn’t confident speaking Mandarin as well, and admitted that constructing Mandarin sentences doesn’t come intuitively. For example, Amy tends to form an English sentence in her head when she wants to reply before translating it into Mandarin. That often results in awkward sentence structures that may cause native-Mandarin speakers cringe a little.

The Coaching

With that assessment in mind, they got to work. Amy would write down English sentences that she needed to say in phone calls, and our business mandarin coach would translate it into formal Mandarin and then teach her how to enunciate and pronounce those words correctly.

Language nuances differ between countries based on its dominant traditions and cultures. Our freelance business Mandarin coach grew up in a culture similar to her clients; and went the extra mile to give Amy tips on how to really connect with her clients.

This included body language, how to properly build relationships with her clients, and how to show respect to them, while maintaining a personal connection and having genuine conversations with them.

The Results

All these were established in her first lesson. Amy came out of her first lesson really impressed. Beyond learning how to speak business Mandarin, Amy found our freelance business Mandarin coach to be extremely patient, and received much more than the budget she put up for herself.

Moving on, Amy will be preparing a list of topics that she intends to communicate with her clients. Together with our freelance business Mandarin coach, they’ll explore how she can properly hold a conversation with her clients, and wow them with her Chinese proficiency.

Our gig expert has a bigger ambition for her though, she aims to have Amy speak business Mandarin intuitively without having to consciously translate it to Mandarin in her head.

And that’s what we do – we listen. We handpick from our pool of freelance experts to meet your requests, and save you the time of weeding out the good from the bad.