Welcome to show number 92 of Absolutely Intercultural. The podcast which brings you news and views, hints and tips about cross-cultural communication. My name’s Anne Fox and this show is coming to you from Denmark. My main guest today is Debbie Swallow in the UK who has a lovely way of explaining how she first became aware of cross-cultural issues when everything she had learned in business school became ‘seasick’ when she tried to transfer it to Finland.
Over the years we have talked to many experts about various aspects of intercultural communication but one thing I hadn’t thought about before was how you get into this line of work. Debbie Swallow, based in the south of England, helps people improve their presentations for international audiences but finds it much easier to sell her services to non-English speaking clients than native speakers who tend to have the attitude ‘well everybody speaks English don’t they?’ So let’s hear how Debbie started in the business. After revealing how she started in the business Debbie talks about how difficult it is to sell inter-cultural training in English speaking contexts.
This next piece is bound to upset some of you. It certainly upset a great many people in Denmark. What you’re about to hear is the audio track from a You Tube video. All I will say for now is that although this story sounds authentic, it is completely fake. The challenge for you is to decide what the purpose of putting such a story up on You Tube would be.
The reason this video caused such discussion is that it was made by the official Danish tourist organisation, Visit Denmark, and was meant to attract foreigners to take a holiday in Denmark. Many people argued that it was a completely misleading and offensive portrait of Denmark while others argued that this viral video had been a clever and innovative marketing ploy, witness that I am re-distributing it here. My own view is that this video must be extremely offensive and off-putting to many cultures around the world.
It is certainly a challenge to represent a country’s culture avoiding the usual clichés about sandy beaches and good food but I somehow don’t think this was a good alternative. Why not be constructive and suggest ways in which your own country’s culture could be portrayed while avoiding the clichés as a comment to this post?
In our final piece we re-join Debbie Swallow of 4c International Ltd and hear how she helps people tailor their presentations for different audiences. I guarantee that you won’t get any tips on voice projection or making better powerpoint slides. Instead, listen out for the 10 factors to take account of when you are making a presentation to an audience from a different culture.
The next show will be coming to you from Laurent Borgmann in Germany on the second of October when he will be bringing you the final report from the Euromed Bloggers meeting in Luxemburg so stay tuned!
So long…stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole
Today we will focus on the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Euromed Bloggers Training on Intercultural Dialogue, where you can listen to a short summary of the event by Andreu Claret, the executive Director of the ALF and also to interviews with the participants.
I met Stephen Spillane and during the last breakfast I managed to interview him and ask him about his impressions. It was interesting to hear that in his life, beside the “normal” culture where he meets people face-to-face he manages to also lead a life in the digital culture meeting friends in cyberspace. He says that if you get to know someone new in this online world – sometimes it is better not to meet the person face to face, but to keep the mystery online. For him the Euromed Bloggers Meeting was the first time that he met so many different cultures in one room and Stephen was impressed how different and yet how similar the Euro-Mediterranean cultures can be.
Kyle Hickman is an American student from California doing his internship at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the biggest newspapers in Germany. Dr. Joachim Birzele is a professor at RheinAhrCampus University in Remagen who has just come back from a tour of several North-American universities. They told us about their work experiences in German companies and institutions and about the most obvious differences in social life between the two countries.
Apparently it is not so easy to integrate in the host country as most of your work colleagues already have their circle of friends and may be concentrating a little more on their own families. So how can you break through this invisible barrier? How can you convince people that although you are only staying in their country for a short period of time they should spend some quality time with you? I talked with some Erasmus students who had the courage to spend six months in a completely foreign culture. Marina and Lora were in the same situation as Kyle and had to overcome some psychological barriers on their way to integration. How can you make friends in a “low context culture” when you have grown up in a “high context culture” One of their secrets is to host a party at which they introduce the guests to their home country and culture. Check our Marina’s and Lora’s experience reports about their studies at RheinAhrCampus
Andreu started by giving a short summary of the contents and the output of the bloggers meeting in Luxemburg, about the experience he had while he was in Cairo when Obama made his famous speech at the university, about the intercultural dream of the Anna Lindh Foundation and of the relatively small window of opportunities, open to politics in the Middle East.
You will hear more from the meeting in Luxemburg in our show 93, where we will feature more bloggers who took part in the meeting. In fact, there will be an important campaign ”Restore Trust, Rebuild Bridges” which will be happening online around September 11 with the help of many of the bloggers who came together in Luxemburg and we will report about this in future shows. Please check out Carmel Vaisman’s and Stephen Spillane’s very touching postings about the bloggers meeting in Luxemburg.
Our next show, however, will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 18 September.
So long…stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole