Understanding Australian workplace culture

Understanding Australian workplace culture

Hear from industry professionals (and former international students) about how they developed their self-confidence and communication skills.

The transition from student life into a professional role can seem daunting but, in a recent workshop, RMIT’s international students learned how to navigate the process.

Students heard from panelists from diverse industries, themselves former international students who have shared similar backgrounds and experiences to the student attendees.  

The panelists provided tips on effective communication, adjusting to cultural differences within the workplace and developing self-confidence. Read on for what they had to say.  

10 October 2022


Lynn Teo, Suyash Sahai, Chloe Kang and Abhishek Sen, presenting during the online workshop Lynn Teo, Suyash Sahai, Chloe Kang and Abhishek Sen, presenting during the online workshop

Developing effective communication skills

Lynn Teo - Manager, Enterprise, KPMG

A great thing to do is visualising using white boards or when sending an email attach a pdf or image to get across what you mean.  

Chloe Kang - Corporate Communications and Engagement Manager, Powerhouse

Passion and knowing your audience. When you speak with passion, the audience is more likely to lean forward and listen to what you have to say. It will help you to develop your communication skills in a way that engages the audience.  

Knowing your audience and how they prefer to receive information is very important. It will vary and might look like creating something fun and light or providing more facts and insights.  

Abhishek Sen -Technology Risk Management Revolut

Don’t underestimate yourself, even if English is not your main language - everyone has gone through what you have, you will get there!

Suyash Sahai - Supply Chain Transformation Manager – Coles Liquor Group

The principles I like to follow for effective communication are clarity, content and closure. 

  • Clarity, what I am communicating is clear to the person I am communicating with. 

  • Content, ensure you are on the topic and not veering off, to avoid losing the audience.

  • Closure, everything we communicate should have a closure, a call to action, acknowledgement or next steps.

These are principles we can practice in everyday life with peers. 


Adapting to cultural differences in the Australian workplace

Lynn, KPMG

Power distance is one of the cultural differences between where I grew up (Malaysia) and Australia. During my internship in Malaysia, we greet the partners by their title when we see them, over here it is a first name basis, and we have conversations with them.

Reframing my mindset to knowledge sharing and understanding that others appreciate us speaking up during meetings has been useful. One thing that helped me to come out of my comfort zone during meetings was sharing my point of view, asking questions, or making different suggestions.

Chloe, Powerhouse

In my culture we tend to be more conservative and quieter, especially in a large conference room, so I found it hard to speak up on my ideas and what I thought on topics.  

I would say research the topic before you go into a meeting and that will help you speak with confidence.


Top tip for job interviews

Abhishek, Revolut

One good tip is to start creating your website or github pages, where you can store things relevant to your course/skills, like data sets, codes etc. 

Suyash, Coles Liquor Group

Know all the details about the job you are applying for, research the company and prepare your skill set relevant to the job.

Chloe, Powerhouse

Don’t be afraid if you don’t have enough professional experience, try to experience as much as you can from volunteering or a part time job and consider what you have learnt that helps you pursue an entry-level career in a corporate environment.  

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International students support and resources

RMIT international students can register for events and find study and wellbeing support at the International Students webpage.

More student news

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.