From reports over presentations to email and from speeches to dialogue, the language itself, choice of idioms, references to history or scripture, and the formality through which one communicates can produce endless opportunity for cultural gaffes.

2016.01.28 Does a Rose by Any Other Name Still Smell as Foul?


Do you remember the uproar back in 1999 when NASA crashed a Mars lander because one team used metric measurements and another used inches and pounds?

The problem of not necessarily talking about the same thing when you think you talk about the same thing is very often seen in international communication.

An example is if the pavement is the road or where the pedestrians walk.

2015.09.11 Relationship Skills


"Is there something wrong with your telephone? You seem to keep interrupting me."


I try to remember why I have two ears but only one mouth. After the above comment many years back when I had recently arrived in the U.S. I succeed more often. (I should thank the person; only at the time I was deeply hurt.)

2015.06.22 Welcome Home


The nice thing about traveling between two countries that both are home is that you can develop the mindset of going home regardless in which direction you go.

I am often asked if I miss my old country. The answer is no - but I miss people that I don't see regularly. Thanks to technological advances I can see them while we talk - albeit with a bit delay now and then - but it is not the same as being in their company.

Do we really have to lose things - or people - to appreciate them?

2014.11.04 New book out


I am so happy, proud, and relieved.

It is not always useful to share your knowledge via a website. Particularly not a website aimed at people who travel. Because the time they are most free to read is probably while they are traveling - and they may not want to download webpage after webpage when they are in the air at 30,000ft and certainly not at $30 per 30MB.

2014.08.23 Communication cultures


It is widely recognized that the way we prefer to communicate is influenced by the culture we come from.

Being from Scandinavia myself, this blog on Nordic communication styles and the many comments it caused has made me reflect on my own preferences.

The article referred above notes that we Scandinavians can be very direct - sometimes rudely so.

2014.05.09 Addressing strangers


As most readers will have observed, I use LinkedIn, the professional social network site.

With over 300 mill users and versions in many countries, it is quite interesting to see the US cultural fingerprint slowly invading other cultures. Not that American business culture hasn't been exported before, but there is a difference between attending a management seminar where the theories taught may or may not be adaptable to the local culture and then having a day-to-day tool slowly tweaking your perception of normality.


Johari's Wiindow

Let us look at a model that has been around for a long time, The Johari Window. This model was born in 1955 so you may have been exposed to it.

According to the model, what is "you" can all be drawn as a box. You know a lot about you: When you were born, your favorite flavor ice cream, your shoe size, whom you had a crush on in 7th grade…

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