Today our topic is about intercultural meetings and I have a co-host, Lucy, from Australia. Maybe some of you remember her from one of our last shows, in which I interviewed her about her first impressions of Europe. She is doing an internship at Rhein Ahr Campus in Remagen and has agreed to help our editor Dino and me with this episode.
Do you often take part in meetings? Do you like meetings or do you think they are a waste of time? Have you ever taken part in an international meeting, with participants from all over the world? If you have and if you had no problems, congratulations – you are perhaps a natural talent? For those of you who never had the chance to participate in such a meeting, let me tell you, it can be full of traps and dangers. Imagine a room with people from 6 or 7 different countries, that means 6 or 7 different cultures and different working habits. Now you can imagine that such a meeting can be a challenge for all participants. At a round table discussion Lucy, Dino and I discussed some topics relating to taking care and being aware of different attitudes in meetings.
Try to remember meetings in your own culture. What is the predominant style for finding the truth or for taking a difficult decision? Do participants seem to “fight each other” with words and arguments like lawyers in an adversarial system or are you used to the consensual approach which concentrates more on the common ground between different opinions and not so much on the differences?
Let us include two more cultures in this. Nicole is from Austria and Thomas from the Czech Republic. They shared with me their experiences of meetings. Sometimes you have to spend all day in project meetings with your colleagues, and after the meetings you may want to be on your own.
absolutely well prepared
Now for the second part of the round table. Controversies within a meeting are discussed as well as which document is needed, what preparation needs to be done and what the perfect duration of a meeting is. Also, stay tuned to find out how Lucy picked on a poor German girl during one of my meetings… If you only remember one thing from this podcast let it be this piece of advice – make sure you are mentioned in the minutes after a meeting, otherwise it’s like you were never there!
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 12. November
Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!
The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole
5 thoughts on “absolutely intercultural 121 +++ intercultural meetings +++ round table +++ positive thinking +++”
Does anyone else struggle to keep a meeting on track? Often the agenda is not followed and the conversation seems to drift. With international members, it is often difficult to make everyone understand the nature of the meeting.
Looking for ideas on how to regroup and gain control.
I have 14 exchange students who are visiting. It is interesting that the culture of what is acceptable is so different. It makes it difficult to get points across when they use their limited english as an excuse to ignore or take advantage of rules and regulations.
First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question
that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to
know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to
writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Kudos!
@Frank: In our very mixed international meetings I sometimes have to explain the difference between “consensual” and “adversarial” meeting styles. In English speaking countries I notice that participants of a meeting seem to find good results by concentrating on common ground and the ideas that are not good enough fall by the way side because they are not picked up. In Germany however, often we put up our ideas and everybody in the room is invited to try to shoot it down by finding weaknesses. I know, it sounds very adversarial and may feel a little hostile in the meeting room but this is how we make sure we have not overlooked a weakness. Maybe one further reason why Germans are not so much appreciated in international meetings? 😉
@incense: our procedure goes from the spoken word (first) to the written text (second) because we do an audio podcast and the written text is only there to point to and support the audio files. Does that help?