By: Jamie Westby, Jessica White and Kelly Youngkrantz Business meetingsAcross Cultures
Mr. DorellLeShore(African American Manager) • Introduces everyone using their suffix and last name. Everyone exchanges business cards and givesa little background of each person’s position • Outline the goal of the meeting • Encourage everyone to work together • Let everyone share their ideas whether it be vocally or by a prepared outline. Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures”
More about Mr. LeShore • Watches body language to avoid potential conflicts. • When or if anyone gets to emotional and starts shouting to get his point across, I will have to attempt to calm him down without insulting him • Needs to keep emotions in check and watch body language. Attempt to not use slang or words that have a double meanings. Leave out jokes or sarcasm
Mr. LeShore Cont. • Will have to explain to others why their ideas are not a good one. • Ex: Why the company shouldn’t announce and reward top performers; why alcohol should be avoided (not just for the Muslim employees) • Watch for Mr. Hirata to become silent and not participating in the discussions. • Attempt to make eye contact to Mr. Al-Yassini and Mr. Miller when they are speaking. Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures”
More about Mr. LeShore • Keeps notes on agreed ideas. Doesn’t single anyone out that doesn’t agree. May have to follow-up at a different time to get their point of view. • Need to stay impartial and consider everyone’s ideas and not just his. He has to leave the attitude that “I’m the leader so I am right” outside of the meeting.
Mr. Shu Hirata (Japanese Manager) • Greet with a bow • May also exchange business cards to show status • First goal of the meeting is to develop a relationship and level of trust • They value group consensus ex. they may get opinions of workers • The meeting may continue after business hours in a restaurant or bar • This is to be sure everyone is sure of what is happening and everyone will agree in the end • Everyone will be given a chance to speak and give their opinion Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures” Picture acquired from Google images
Japanese • A bow greeting is related to status and rank • Before making group decisions everyone must agree • This can take a lot of time • They would listen to ideas in order to create relationships and reach consensus • The meeting may also have an intermediary to keep things running smoothly • Time would not be an issue Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures” Picture acquired from Google Images
Mr. Jim Miller (Caucasian Manager) • Informal greeting at meeting ex. first name basis; hand shake • Suggests recognizing top performing employees ex. offer rewards during short ceremony • Expresses excitement about plans & suggests unique ideas to offer competition during the Employee Appreciation Day ex. engage in games throughout day for a small bonus/prize Picture acquired from Yahoo! Images
More about Mr. Miller • Suggests festivities take place at an informal setting ex. a local community center or restaurant so employees can eat whatever they choose; alcohol available • Suggests giving out small gifts during the day for employees ex. small, inexpensive; show appreciation for achievements • Quick to make decisions without thinking them through thoroughly ex. moves on from one subject of the Appreciation Day to the next before others have the time to consider fully • Tendency to frequently glance at his watch
Americans • Express emotions freely, explaining the excitement about plans • Value recognition of individual achievements, explaining prizes given out to top employees • Engage in competitive activities, explaining suggestions about games • Prefer a more relaxed social setting, explaining the availability of alcohol during the Appreciation Day and not having it held at the company • Will appear to be hurried in a meeting, eager to move on to the next matter and make decisions at a quick pace • Directly state if another member’s ideas are not liked • Avoid eye contact while others express their ideas value time Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures”
Mr. Khalid Al-Yassini (Saudi Arabian manager) • Greets others with a formal attitude ex. Extensive handshake (right hand only) and embracement of other male managers; formal titles • Begins with small talk to better connect on a personal level ex. “how are you?” • Suggests having small appetizers at the Employee Appreciation party ex. Cheese trays, fruit & vegetables • Believes there should be no alcohol available at party Picture acquired from Yahoo! Images
More about Mr. Al-Yassini • Holds eye contact with other members while they discuss their suggestions • Remains focused through unbreakable eye contact with another member while explaining suggestions • Takes time to decide on possible plans, no hurry • Expresses emotions to get point across • Suggests no gift-giving at the Appreciation party • May answer calls on his phone during meeting
Arabians • Are more formal in the business context, explaining the use of titles • Perceive the left hand is dirty • Do not appreciate the use of alcohol • Maintain eye contact extensively while talking & listening as a sign of respect and commitment • Take their time with business dealings and decision making, takes time to think suggestions through and decide on plans • Value being expressive with their emotions to convey their messages with emphasis • Believe gifts should be given to the closest of friends, explaining the suggestion for no gift-giving to employees at the party • Believe it is customary to answer calls at any time & is rude not to Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures”
Leading a Multicultural Meeting • A leader in a needs to be aware of the cultural differences of people attending the meeting, even when America is the host country • American Egalitarian culture is a minority; where the majority is hierarchical. A leader needs to be aware of ways to avoid insulting the others • Being prepared for the meeting will show everyone that the leader takes the meeting seriously • When a team is successful the leader will still receive recognition in America. This will motivate an American leader to get his team to agree and succeed Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., & McDaniel, E.R. “Communication between cultures” Photo acquired from Google images
Leading • Arabs are very emotional when they are speaking. Being aware of this will keep you from misunderstanding it as anger • Japanese are very social and group orientated, but become silent when disagreeing. • Not every culture enjoys being put on the spot and speaking. They may prefer to have something prepared to hand out, instead of having the focus on them. • American jokes are filled with innuendo and sarcasm. They can get lost in translation or insult the culture’s view on politics, women and children. Giving an advance warning to Mr. Miller may also help. Photo acquired from Google images
Reflection • Determining how different cultures behave in a business context has taught us the importance of learning about cultures and how they conduct business prior to having a successful meeting. • With such a diverse workforce contained of various perspectives and values, we have learned how crucial it is to respect the other cultures in order to avoid offending anyone. • This exercise has been beneficial in that it has helped us experience what a real business meeting today could consist of, and to be aware that everyone has different opinions, suggestions, and ways of doing things based on their culture.