Your automatic pilot, an intercultural minefield – An opinion piece by Yvonne van der Pol

It’s the psychology, stupid!

– you could say after reading the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society and Behavior, in which great attention was paid to the psychological and social aspects of human behaviour. One revealing response to it was: “Experts, policy makers and professionals should be fully aware that they, too, form part of social and cultural influences. Their way of thinking is, in fact, automatic”.

Who is pushing the buttons?

That is a reaction with a far-reaching impact. The real issue is that we, given the nature of that automatic character, seldom stop to think about it. Do we not all think of ourselves as being rational, genuine and analytical professionals? For part of the time, that is definitely the case, but we are running much more on auto-pilot than we realise or would care to admit. Our brains have been programmed so that we, in our daily lives, quickly and automatically react to familiar patterns: our intuitive mind. The other part, the reflective mind, just hobbles along somewhere behind. Hence, small things suddenly seem to be of intercultural importance, which can lead to some particularly surprising interpretations and maybe even a few interesting twists and turns along the way.

Reflections on Intercultural Craftmanship Yvonne’s new book

Insignificant actions

Now, I randomly take a look at a typical day in the life of a German professional on a business trip to Ghana, who completely automatically:

  • gets in to the front seat beside the taxi driver, chit-chats with him and, in doing so, asks a lot of questions
  • waves to an old acquaintance, but tells the driver to keep going, because he is, after all, on the way to his next appointment
  • informally addresses his older, Ghanian friend and colleague by his first name in the presence of others
  • vents his opinions freely during a meeting
  • after dinner with his new business partners in the evening, wants to return to the hotel early so he can check his e-mail.

And here is the intercultural harvest of the day:

  • the driver asks himself, with fear and trepidation, what the underlying message was from this senior German representative, but it almost certainly will not be a positive one. “He does not sit in the back as he should, but instead, he sits beside me (causing me embarrassment, my status as a driver is at risk). He asks me too many questions (what does he want from me?)”.
  • the acquaintance, who was only briefly waved at, wonders to himself what is happening: “We have not seen each other for ages, yet he just drives on! What have I done wrong? There must be something seriously wrong, or else he would have stopped”.
  • the older, Ghanian compatriot, with whom he indeed has a good bond, takes offence at the fact that he was not addressed more respectfully, whilst in the company of his colleagues.
  • the members of his new partner-organisation is somewhat shocked by his open and frank opinions, as they are only trying their best to successfully work together towards a better future, thus suddenly getting an emotional knock-back in their confidence, in him, and in their working relationship as a whole. “Ownership and collaboration were the starting points? His strong opinions probably represent the wider vision of the organisation back in Germany. How do we proceed now, if there is no room left for us, if the harmony between us has been so disrupted? Do they even trust us?”
  • the aforementioned partners are unpleasantly surprised after their successful business dinner has finished, when they suddenly see he is already standing up to leave the table, as he clearly has no time to spare to stick around and work on their mutual relationship on a more sociable level. They get the feeling, “E-mails are more important than we are”, and so, their confidence takes another hit.

Social automatic pilot

The problem with our intuitive mind is that it is very rapid. Before you know it, you have already put your foot in it. Why? Because from a young age, you have primarily learned this behaviour subconsciously. It is a social automatic pilot that works on the basis of recognising patterns you have previously encountered. But take note: cultural patterns from your context, and not per definition from more unusual environments. And therein lies the issue: in a different cultural context, you actually have to think first before you act. Moreover, precisely about those minute details, because they can have totally unexpected and far-reaching consequences. Consequences including those like the perception of other people with regards to your intentions, what you think, what you want, how you view the situation and if you can be trusted. And not only you as an individual, but also, especially, if you are representing your organisation and even your country.

Your routines under a magnifying glass

Reflecting on your own auto-pilot is the only way to avoid the intercultural minefield. And that requires a ‘mindful’ approach: being in touch with yourself, and with the world around you. Carefully observing signals and actively listening are crucial to this process. Only then will you be able to respond quickly and adequately, possibly completely differently to how you otherwise may have reacted automatically. You will quickly see how interesting that becomes!

Blog © Yvonne van der Pol (2017) Reflections on Intercultural Craftsmanship

Her book Reflections on Intercultural Craftsmanship is available on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Intercultural-Craftsmanship-Yvonne-van/dp/9402168419/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510829993&sr=8-1&keywords=yvonne+van+der+pol&dpID=51txOkfWOLL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

AND THERE’S MORE…

Train-the-trainer Programme Mind, Brain and Culture 22-24 February 2018

The field of cognitive neuroscience is literally revolutionizing our understanding of culture and mind, and it creates challenges and opportunities for intercultural trainers and educators as the paradigms shift. In close cooperation with Joseph Shaules, author of the Intercultural Mind, and intercultural colleague Matthieu Kollig, we organize a train-the-trainer programme Mind, Brain and Culture. We will introduce new research in culture and cognition that can inform intercultural training and education. We are going to reexamine basic concepts from this new perspective, including: definitions of culture, cultural difference, bias, language and culture, culture and identity. And of course, we will transfer and apply these new concepts to your specific training context.

This train the trainer course is a blended course. The 2-day seminar will be organized from Thursday evening February 22 until Saturday afternoon February 24, 2018 in Burg Reichenstein Germany. Mid-January we start with 4 weeks online learning and cooperating. Half of the places are already taken. If you like to know more, download the flyer at http://bit.ly/T4T-InterculturalMind or contact us directly at ws.interculturalmind@globalpilots.de

Yvonne van der Pol

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Independent Trainers – To Do List in 2017 for Success in 2018 – For Greater Revenue Growth

**16 Must Do Action for more days, higher fees and better clients

Recently, I compared notes with a returning Independent Trainer coming back to the UK and we talked about what you need to do to get back into circulation, get meaningful engagement with L&D decision makers and to generate more days, charge higher fees and make more money.

Here is a list of 16 essentials that will make up your 2017 To Do List! – Deadline – Christmas Morning!!

CTA Call to Action

To Do List 2017 for an amazing 2018

  1. Quality Photo Portrait – No, the cropped photo of you at a wedding with shoulders and handbags all around you is not going to get you to your £2,500 daily training rate. – Take the time to find an amazing photographer who is going to produce a professional picture of you that will build and support your premium brand.My beautiful smile
  2. Business Name – And don’t panic – if you have registered something awful, you can re-brand using your blog or website as something more sexy, catchy and searchable – remember – your company name is unlikely to attract any new enquiries via a Google search if it is all about you, as this will not be about your service or fit the customer’s search request.

Take the time to brainstorm over many pages and take an hour or two to do this and come up with 100+ ideas that could work. Don’t edit as you go – just vomit ink on the page!

Now pick the best combination of your words, make sure the final result is not taken in your own country and quickly secure the domain name for yourself. Job done.

  1. Business Card – Go up market, don’t put a fax number on it – It is not 1995. You do not need your postal address either. This is 2017.

And what about a strap line – Who do you help? What is THEIR outcome? Be creative.

  1. Deal Sheet – Who have you worked with? And what have you done with them? Some corporate customers will give you permission to use their name and even provide testimonials, endorsements and references that can really help you, so go for it. Some will not. And some are rather precious about their brand, so do be careful and NEVER break copyright laws – They are a venue generator for ambulance chasing lawyers. You can avoid trouble by putting all of their logos on a PowerPoint page, printing it out and taking it to meetings. When you flash this rich and colourful page in front of a decision maker, they will be impressed by the variety and depth of your contacts and will trust you more as a result.
  2. Professional Profile – Why not slip a bit of sales cleverness in here. Give yourself a strap line – “Regarded as the best X in country Y”, or put a verb in play – “Matthew helps Independent Trainers to maximise their revenues by providing Z.” Add a little about your core offering, prizes won, books published, key differentiators and a major customer name or two to really make this document work for you.
  3. Posts – I still encounter people who have yet to publish articles on social media. This is a big missed opportunity for them – A social media post is a flashing beacon of light illuminating your existence in the darkness of competition, short decision maker attention spans and shiny object distractions.

To start, simply think of the decision makers in your field and where their pain lies. What problem do they want you to solve? What do they want you to deliver? How do they want you to deliver it? These are the posts that you must be thinking about, drafting, improving. And then get it edited by someone good. And…put them out to LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and on your website / blog site as well.

And,

6a.Tag, tag, tag & tag – That is the magic way for your posts to live on forever and continue to do the marketing for you, even when you are sleeping.

Vector speedometer scale

Turbo Tag Your Posts

  1. Logo – It does not cost a fortune to get a cracking logo that will be visually appealing, high in impact and help key contacts to like you and remember you. Take some time to brief the agency on your requirement. What is your persona? What is your delivery style? What do you represent? What is your promise? Who are you target market – your avatar? And, what is UNIQUE about you?
  2. Course Outlines – In olden times, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, it was OK to put out the most boring copy imaginable and get away with it. Surprise surprise.

Things have changed.

Now we need a punchy title employing corporate world language and the benefits to be gained by attending delegates. The content should be in short blocks with a subtitle, exercises and the educational outcome for the participants clearly stated. In modern times, this outline is selling you. Let your outline super-copy do some of the heavy lifting in convincing your prospect to pick up the phone and bring you in for a cosy briefing chat.

  1. Exercises – Theory is so last millennium. The current trend is towards dynamic action based learning with full delegate inclusion – sweat, board markers and tears.

Include plenty of decision making, discussion, physical movement and innovation in your bag of tricks. If your training does not wow the crowd, you will be a one time, one hit, “I wonder what happened there?” trainer.

  1. Model – You have got to have a model. I have the Matthew 5 M’s for Accelerated Business Growth Model, and the Consultative Selling 13 Pillars. They give credibility, a framework for delegates to help them implement your brilliant ideas and a differentiator to set you apart from all the other trainers and coaches knocking on the decision maker’s door.

    A Model Will Generate Cash

  2. Blog Site / Website – I see so many people proudly unveil their expensive semi – animated websites as they confidently assume that a brochure site will heat up the phone and pay their rent next year. It will NOT. Isolated websites can no longer compete with blog sites where the SEO is instant and connected. You need a WordPress blog site to take off and get customers, along with a stream of high quality, original material in the form of blog posts and other products (more in a moment) that are tagged, tagged & tagged to bring you new traffic that is pre-qualified and ready to be warmed by your words of wisdom.
  3. Repurposing your content – PRODUCTS – This is the single most neglected area for Independent Trainers wishing to grab more days next year. They are missing the better fees, the hungry corporate customers and important opportunities for expansion.

I mean, how hard is it to read your best post into your smart phone to create a podcast? Today, there is no excuse – I started Podcasting in 2007 and it was a major technological challenge to get them rendered and uploaded on to the decent podcast sites. And, sometimes, it cost money to do so as well!!!

  1. Make a FILM – If you have got a nosebleed just thinking about recording the sound of your own voice, then you will probably pass out at my next suggestion…

When you add Camtasia (PC) or Screenflow (Mac) to your computer, you can record over your PowerPoint slide deck to create an MP4 film – This is the future. Films are it. Films are what people want – You can add them to your training. You can add them to your marketing and you can add them to your social media to really bring up your marketing game to a competitive level.

  1. Show Reel – When you have made enough films and have purchased your Hey Mic to record your live speeches, you can then paste together the best of your output to make an outstanding and memorable training show reel to wow all that see it. You can send this to corporations, agencies and speaker agencies as well. You will officially be playing in the big leagues.
  2. Key Note Speech – If you seriously want to move your fee levels up from discounted subcontractor rates to the main professional independent tier, then you need to turn your training experience, your life experience, your persona and your model into a Key Note Speech.

    A Key Note will get them Storming The Stage…

This will be something persuasive, charismatic, fact filled and moving. And, it will set you apart from the also trained, the theory pedlars and the chaff.

Use minimal visuals – stunning pictures work well, a bit of punchy music and, “Meet the audience where they are” with your content, technical detail and pitch level.

And,

Record all your speeches for feedback and improvement purposes as well as to bulk out your show reel.

  1. Webinars – What do you get when you put your films, keynote speeches, products, models and charisma into a live show? A mind blowing webinar that acts as an unbeatable demonstration vehicle for all those people who are a little too far away to meet and warm up with a lunch.

Think of this as 3 months marketing achieved in 60 minutes.

Essential for your webinar is to get interaction, to have real decision makers at the other end and to put your best work into producing something lively, interactive and value packed.

That’s it – Your Things To Do list for the rest of 2017 – And the incentive? If you get started, keep going with persistence and focus, you will enjoy more training days, with better paying clients, more interesting delegates and you will end the year with a smile on your face, a pot full of cash and a fist full of great testimonials saying that you are an AMAZING Independent Trainer.

Need help to get started? How far down the list did you get when you switched from, “Done that!” to “Oh, I’d better do that”?

If you need some help, support or advice please do feel free to E Mail Matthew at; matthew.hill@hillnetworks.com

Wishing You – May every training day you deliver in 2018 leave you happy, richer and more fulfilled through delivering great wisdom with great value to a fully appreciative audience who then clamour to have you back again.

And. All the best with your To Do List in 2017.

 

About the Author – Matthew Hill provides coaching and courses for Independent Trainers wishing to build their brand and IP, up their marketing game, deliver effective independent content and enter the big leagues when it comes to compensation and client acquisition. He has worked in 30 countries and worked with people representing 80 nationalities. This year he wrote his 4th book – Going for Growth in 2017.

 

Lucy Fogarty’s Culture Buff Games and Cartoons

Long time SIETARian, Lucy Fogarty has recently launched a company, Culture Buff Games  (to be found at http://www.culturebuffgames.com)   that develops country specific interactive cartoon-based games to help adults and teenagers learn about cultural values in a fun and engaging way. We have a suite of interactive cartoon games for British and American culture.

Lucy is looking for feedback on topics such as the use of cartoons as educational tools, the benefits of gamification, something we covered in George Simon’s recent webinar.

Culture Buff

https://www.culturebuffgames.com/#games

Yvonne Van de Pol – Train the trainer workshop: Mind, Brain and Culture

New Paradigms in Intercultural Understanding Burg Reichenstein, Germany,

22-24th February 2018

New research in cognitive neuroscience is revolutionizing our understanding of culture and mind. This creates challenges and opportunities for intercultural trainers and educators as paradigms are shifting. This workshop will introduce new research in culture and cognition that can inform intercultural training and education. It will reexamine basic concepts from this new perspective, including: definitions of culture, cultural difference, bias, language and culture, culture and identity. We will examine how these new conceptualizations are currently being applied in specific training contexts, and in the current climate of increased intercultural tension.

This train the trainer workshop is a co-creation of Joseph Shaules, Matthieu Köllig and Yvonne Van de Pol

For the Flyer click here; http://www.luzazultrainingen.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/T4T_Mind_Brain_Culture_Flyer_Feb2018.pdf 

Yvonne Van de Pol Yvonne Van de Pol

 

Gary Thomas – Intercultural Business Trainer/Moderator (IBT/M)® Programme

Billed as “Europe’s most popular, most demanding and most comprehensive intercultural Train The Trainer Programme”

The Next block begins on 13th October 2017 in Freising near Munich.

For more details go to; http://www.international-hr.de/en/intercultural-train-the-trainer-programme.html 

Gary ThomasTrainer, Coach and Speaker – Gary Thomas

Film Clips – From International Intercultural Students

Tales from A Multicultural Classroom project – Films 

JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Our Tales from A Multicultural Classroom project (Tales) has it’s own channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6p0Wps-7OxNGSCmTTZrdVw
 
Our intercultural communication course for 1st year international business degree students and exchange students introduces a parallel workshop comprising simple video production techniques, including character development, script writing, story-boarding, shooting and editing. The results belong to the students, and they upload the videos to the channel voluntarily. We have had only one instance in which a video was not uploaded due to a student’s objection. Some of their work is shared here.
Here are a few favourites selected by Course Leader, Steve Crawford:
 
Stereofives
 
Five students from different nations try to solve the global financial crisis but run into stereotypical challenges:
 
 
Intercultural Plagiarism
 
Based on action research we conducted at our school, we discovered a phenomena we call “cheating without intent,” where students do not set out to cheat but find themselves in difficult circumstances that compel them to make bad decisions:
 
 
Dmitri’s Drama
 
A Russian student finds a difficult path to acculturation, and reaches a crisis point:
 
 
Lisa’s Acceptance
 
Newly off the press… A young girl discovers something new about herself in Finland:
 
 
A Cultural Deal
 
A Finnish girl finds herself in Italy to close a deal, and returns home empty-handed. (this video is often used with our critical incident analysis tool)
 

Pune, India – Intercultural Competence 4.0, 17th-18th February 2018. Call for Papers.

SIETAR India Intercultural Competence 4.0

SIETAR India Intercultural Competence 4.0

Sunita cordially invites you to submit your intercultural abstracts to present a 60 or 90 minute interactive session or give a 20 minute TED style talk.
Do please send your submissions to sietarindia@gmail.com by 30th September 2017.
Thanks from the the Sietar India team
Sunita Nichani
President, Sietar India

Deeply Disconnected: Our public and private selves (and our brains) in the age of continuous connectivity with Sue Shinomiya

A film of the Webinar

Creating connectedness – with myself, among people, in the world – is one of my deepest desires. As practitioners, we share a responsibility to bridge across cultural differences and bring people together. And yet, all too often, I experience the exact opposite: feeling deeply disconnected. Why does it hurt so much? It doesn’t help that the boundaries and parameters around what is private and what is public seem to have shifted. Is “sharing” the same as connecting, and have we become addicted? The social media and technology that’s supposed to connect us has also made us keenly aware of stark differences. For me, for our community, for humanity, and for this planet, disconnection in an interdependent world is not sustainable. How can recent neuroscience discoveries inform us about the complex social and emotional dilemmas that we face, especially as we navigate and bridge across cultures and differences? In this talk, we trade stories, new theories, ideas and reflections, and ask some thought-provoking questions for you to ponder.

See the film at; https://youtu.be/cjaFtBM2vqQ 

About the Speaker Sue Shinomiya

Ms. Shinomiya, MBA, of Global Business Passport empowers global professionals to connect, lead and succeed across cultures and differences. She is a leading expert and published author on Japanese culture and business. Her current work includes high-energy, engaging programs – live and virtual – related to Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe, as well as a range of business programs on leading and getting things done effectively and respectfully in an increasingly global, diverse and complex world of work. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty Member of Portland State University’s Masters in International Management program, and has enthusiastically served on the Board of Directors of SIETAR-USA.

Quote from Sue: “I firmly believe in the power of connecting with others, respecting both similarities and differences, as a means towards creative achievement, and a broader, more fulfilling human experience.”

Sue Shinomiya

Interculturalist and Japan Expert Sue Shinomiya

We hope you enjoy the film.

The Journey to Harmony in a Small French Town – The Story of Mozaiq with Natalie Lutz 

A Film of the Webinar

This unique recording tells the story of turning a small French town experiencing local attitudes of division, hatred and fear into a more harmonious community displaying cooperation and healthy levels of co-existence.

Listen to Natalie’s tale as she experiences push back, frustration and resentment before finally breaking through to something worthy and, possibly repeatable, in YOUR town too.

Natalie Lutz

Interculturalist Natalie Lutz

About the Speaker – Natalie Lutz has been helping executives and international corporations understand cultural differences and work effectively together for over 25 years. Born and raised French-American, she is bilingual, bicultural and has lived in 4 countries. She trains consults and facilitates sessions on:  Working in a Multicultural environment, Leadership, and Expatriations to France and the USA as well as Team-building.

In 2010 she created and co-founded Mozaiq, an association dedicated to celebrating diversity in a small town outside of Paris. Each year she and her team put on 4 events including a Diversity Day which repeatedly draws crowds of more than 700 participant

To access the YouTube film click here; https://youtu.be/F6lUGzWikEg  

Film of ELC Webinar; Identity – Values – Language – Culture? Methods and Materials for Teaching Intercultural Competence in English

 

ELC Screen Jpeg

To watch the film click here; https://vimeo.com/224431112

Dr. Judith Mader and Dr. Rudi Camerer Broadcast from Frankfurt on the schools of thinking around culture, where the problems lie, effective blending learning methods, the use of critical incidents and case studies and how a combination of “home” work and classroom discussion for individuals or groups can work successfully.

If you enjoy the show and want to experience the ELC ICE course for yourself, feel free to contact Rudi at; R.Camerer@elc-consult.com