As the world gets smaller through the globalizing forces of technology, it also gets bigger. Communicators have to know ever more for the sake of responsible international reporting, millions of people flow between countries creating uniquely multicultural societies, the apparently endless source of information on the internet leaves you fewer and fewer excuses for awkward gaffes when working internationally.
Here are a few tips:
- learn not just about people, but how they work. Sure, Macau & Estonia have the highest rates of per capita mobile phone usage in the world, but do they really have the same cultural perceptions about these tools and use them in the same way?
- find and then avoid every taboo you can find
- go deep. Not all Canadian say, eh? And not all Americans are NASCAR fans. Extend that courtesy to your international audiences and partners
- if you’re going to spend money anywhere, spend it on a professional translator
- if all else fails just learn how to ask for the nearest bathroom in 17 different languages
What else can we add? What’s your worst gaffe? Favourite shining moment? Leave a comment!