Intercultural Communication

I’ve been invited to give a talk at a university on intercultural communication. It is going to be a lecture. I think it could be a pretty interesting topic especially if I can find a few good anecdotes, mostly ‘fails’ I suppose would be good but also winning situations as well.

I can think of a couple of personal ‘fails’ that I’ve experienced.

When my wife was going through a cancer operation years ago, the doctor came out in blood socked gown and paws, which had been fondling around in my wife’s gizzards, to ask me to run upstairs to the 13th floor and buy a staple gun for the sewing up procedure. “It will leave less of a scar. She’ll feel more sexually attractive.”

Or, actually, the day I found out my wife had cancer and she came home and told me she had a tuna.

To which I responded, “Oh when do you think they’ll be able to fish that out?”

So I’m looking for some nice anecdotes and a few clues on how to go about it.

All suggestions or ideas welcome. I have done a little research on it.

One interesting angle is the difference in body language and gestural communication.

Like when someone says ‘come here’ and makes a palm-down go-away sign. That really messes with the brain. 70-80% of communication is non-verbal. Linguistic content is often over-rated.

I have some academic papers and books on intercultural communication.

[1] Fjellstrom, ‘International Business Negotiations: A case study of Philips’ (2005)
[2] Lintzen & Svedjeholm, ‘The impact of culture on business negotiations between Swedish and US businessmen: a case study of two Swedish businessmen’ (2006)
[3] Lindborg & Ohlsson, ‘Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations’ (2009)
[4] Graham & Lam, ‘The Chinese Negotiation’ (2003)
[5] Smyser, WR, ‘How Germans Negotiate’ (2002)
[6] Cogan, Charles, ‘French Negotiating Behavior’ (2003)