Hello! My name is Telman! I am a student of MoF 2014 intake, I’m 21 and I come from Armenia. I am a hobbyist writer – I like to write short stories, so I have signed up to be a part of Frankfurt School’s official blogging team which means you and I are going to see each other every now and then on this blog (unless I make it so boring nobody starts coming here, but let’s stay positive!). The goal of this blog post apart from introducing myself is to talk about the recent presentation held by Audi CFO Axel Strotbek that Frankfurt School has organized for us at the Audimax on 9th of September. The presentation was in German. For some unknown reason I have decided to participate in that event, with almost (absolutely) no knowledge of German, and after struggling for an hour and a half to make out what the actual presentation was about, and what Mr. Strotbek was saying I have decided that it is my duty to write about it. Now here comes the bit where I have to tell you – do not expect an actually serious and professional covering of the presentation from this article. As I’ve said I’m a hobbyist writer who likes to write short stories, so if you are looking for a good article about the Audi event, I really recommend you read the blog done by my fellow coursemate and now a colleague Michael Haker. What I present you here is something different, titled –
“Audi Event at FS or How to survive a presentation in a language you don’t really speak”: a guide for Dummies
- A chair
- A smartphone
- Appropriate Camouflage
- Out-of-the-box thinking
- Swiss knife
- Food and provision
- Binoculars (depending on the size of the room)
- A companion sitting next to you
- A lot (or two) of Patience
Preparations First of all, in order to survive through a presentation, you need to get to one, and after you have gotten in, you need a place to sit – survival on foot is very uncomfortable and is not recommended for inexperienced students. So the first thing to do when you arrive at an event (after spending 4 hours making barbeque) is to find a nice quiet spot somewhere far from the VIPs, not to disturb their smelling senses with the yummy odors of steaks and bratwursts which most apparently have already replaced your perfume. No chairs left for you to sit on? No worries! As said before sitting is important for survival that’s why you get your thinking out of your box then calmly go to a nearby room and take a personal chair and carry it into the hall where the actual presentation will be done. You might catch some attention, but the fact that you’re carrying a chair will distract people from the fact that you actually smell like a walking sausage. Take the chair and put it in the abovementioned quiet corner. Ideally you should try to completely blend with the tree next to you not to distract people from important stuff, so wearing military camouflage clothes can be a good idea, the only thing that’s better is to wear formal suit and tie but they are much harder to obtain and are part of the equipment of experienced survivors.
Actual Presentation Water is essential for any survival, so make sure you drink enough glasses from the offered free juices and mineral waters before the presentation begins not to feel dehydrated in the process, because it’ll take a lot of effort and concentration. IMPORTANT! Do not overdo the water bit because excess water in the organism may turn to be fatal, especially if the corner where you sit is far from the exit. Having taken in enough water to keep the organism fit and running go back to your chair and start revising the little vocabulary you have of the language while the officials prepare their speeches. As soon as the speaker gets on the stage focus on him and try to catch small words and phrases while holding a dictionary at hand. After 15 minutes give up and concentrate on pictures on the projector, still with the dictionary in your hand, translating the writings. After several minutes (5 – 10 depending on the pace with which the presentation is going and how many pictures are in it) realize that because you took the farthest corner you can’t make out what is written on the pictures anymore because the shrift can be barely seen. It is alright, next time take binoculars with you. After half an hour if you’re still awake and the foreign sentences haven’t yet blended into a one long monotonous hum in your ears, then you are doing very good. At that point you should turn to the guy who is sitting next to you, making notes for writing an article about the presentation and whom you (completely by chance!) happen to know and peek into his notes in English. You can thus spend the remaining time of the presentation. Laugh when everybody else laughs, most likely the presenter has made a joke. When everybody applauds -applaud, when everybody raises their hands – raise yours, make people believe you know what is going on. Don’t forget to disturb the guy next to you with occasional stupid questions and translation pleads. When the Q&A session begins start counting how many hands are raised. During this period you should try to avoid scratching your head or doing any movement with your hand that might give out your hiding spot and make you seem like raising a hand. Try to see if any of the people you know are asking questions so that later you can get translated versions of their questions directly from the source – Information is key to survival. After the Q&A applaud with the crowd and smile – you have successfully lived to the end of the presentation! After leaving the room ask the guy who was sitting next to you to summarize the whole presentation in 2 sentences. Listen to him with a serious face, nod saying “I knew he was going to cover that”. Go home. Feel proud.
Conclusion Despite the fact that Frankfurt is considered an international city, and that Frankfurt School is aimed at providing international education, the knowledge of German language is still essential in basically everything you do in Germany whether it will be attending presentations held by board members of major companies or buying groceries in the shop, and I believe that it is natural and right. So I really encourage all of our international students who still don’t speak the language, or speak it “ein bischen” to go out there and master the German whether it will be courses offered at Frankfurt School, independent courses in other institutions or just learning on your own or with the help of your friends. Now you are given one of the best opportunities to do that. Eventually the only equipment you need for effective survival is The Knowledge of German language, and with that equipment in hand, survival turns into thriving. So buy the books. Learn the language. Feel proud.