Have you ever been in the situation where, 1 little missing piece of information created a total misunderstanding.
Speaking to a group of executives recently, this is exactly what happened to me. My client reassured me that everyone had excellent English and would enjoy the discussion and debate around our topic. The welcome from the group was upbeat and friendly, I outlined the format for the day and provided an overview of the topics we would be discussing. When I asked if they were familiar with the topics, the body language I saw indicated no. Head shaking from side to side. Hmm I thought, I repeated the overview, using more simple terms and asked if this sounded familiar. Again, the heads were shaking from side to side. Oh boy, this is going to be harder than I thought. Out came the marker pens, and pictures were drawn on the white board to explain the concept. I saw the group speaking to one another, mobile phones were out and a general feeling of confusion & frustration .
Hmmm, coffee break time, I need to find out what is going on here.
I quickly approached my host ‘what is happening, you assured me they were familiar with the topic’? ‘They are’, he explained, why do you keep repeating yourself when they clearly understand.
What had happened, for me understanding is a nod,the head goes up and down. Not the case with this group, side to side means I understand.
This is one of the millions of small cues we use to make sense of our world.
We estimate there are 7 critical differences which need to be understood to help you navigate working with others in a global environment. Do you know what they are?
How do you see your world?
Are you independent–individual, unique, and in control of your world?
Are you interdependent–relational, similar to others, and good at adjusting to situations?
Cultural awareness is a critical competency to operate in the global market.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more to develop your cultural awareness