Share this post

The questions sounds logical for a China Speakers Bureau: do you have Chinese speakers from China? The simple answer is yes.
But for those who are familiar with China and its opinion leaders might know that our ‘yes’ is not unconditional. Earlier this year we got a request from a shipping company who wanted an English speaking Chinese Olympic sporter for a motivational speech. In this kind of case we have to politely manage the expectation of our clients in a rather drastic way,
Mention one other country in the world and famous sport heroes are part of the stable of many speakers’ agencies and for sporting heroes it might actually be a good way to make a living after they cannot continue to perform on the top-level they were used to. We are sure that one day, this will happen in China too, but at this stage those speakers simply do not exist.
We have of course exceptions, like our celebrity speaker Zhang Lijia, but she has a clear story focusing on a foreign audience, not on her Chinese compatriots. We have good Chinese speakers who have to problem to use their knowledge of China’s economy for a foreign audience, like Wang Jianmao, Zhang Jiwei and Zhang Jun. But their strong point is their expertise, crossing cultural boundaries.
That has nothing to do with a good command of English. When you listen to the spokespeople of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their English is perfect. But when you hear them talk, it is as if they are addressing a domestic audience, their arguments seldom go down well with a critical foreign audience.
That goes in either direction. Most Chinese are too polite to tell foreign visitors that in their opinion they are talking nonsense, but that feeling is there very well.
For that reason, for US audiences, we often select American speakers, with a profound knowledge not only of China, but even more, also about the audience they have to face. For Europeans the situation is likewise, although the number of available speakers is fairly limited.
So, no, we did not find the native Chinese Olympic sporting hero, who could give a motivational speech in English. If you know any, do let us know.


Share this post