Intercultural communication training

It’s posts like this that I subscribe to Hill and Knowlton.

Written by David Ferrabee:

BERLIN — The young lady sitting to my right at dinner speaks 5-6 languages.  She’s Lithuanian, so she speaks Russian and Polish, but went to school in Germany, and has a few other European languages.  Plus a very solid mid-Atlantic English.  But that’s not remarkable in this crowd.

Dr. Hanna and I are in Berlin to run an intercultural communications training session to a team of 30 people working across seven countries.  Between them they speak 16 languages.

I feel unworthy.

However, their issues are not with language.  They can communicate with each other pretty well, in written and spoken English.  Their problem is with what the words don’t say… Their concern is about different expectations, different styles and different ways of tackling problems.

And they are taking a proactive approach to it.

They want to make this disparate team work better.

So that’s why Hanna and I are here.

We spent four hours on exercises, questionnaires, writing, presenting back, working in teams… And discussing differences and commonality.  We have a scale from denial to integration on cultural differences.  With the ideal being somewhere short of integration.

At the conclusion of the session we heard two things that made me very happy:

“That was the best training I have ever been on in my life.”  Which I think is pretty amazing… Maybe too high a bar to be set!

And “I never realised that the issues I face are also faced by others.”  Which is what the course is all about.

We’ll be watching this team now to see how they do.

Now back to dinner…  and discussing the reign of Vytautas the Great.