I always perceive myself as a cross-cultural communicator. My father used to work in Germany when I was little and we had many friends from Europe. My first job is in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China and naturally I had to deal with people from all over the world. This job took me half a year in S. Korea - you would think that is somewhere so close to China and would share a lot of common culture - emm, not really! In fact, one thing I learnt from my experience in S. Korea (and later Singapore and other Asian countries) is that NEVER assume Asians are the same and they have automatic trust in each other!
I also worked 3 years in the Netherlands - very interesting experience for me - I can tell you all the stories about how cheap the Dutch are (mostly made up by Belgians). At the same time I can also tell you how kind and generous the Dutch can be when it comes to help with the weak immigrants (I happened to work a lot with IOM). Although English is widely used in the Netherlands I still feel confused and not being able to catch all the information. Knowing the language is the first step if you want to understand the culture.
About ten years ago I left the government and started my career in the private sector. My current job in the United Technologies provided me with great opportunity as a cross cultural communicator. As the director of government affairs and business development I must understand the business strategy set by our Connecticut headquarter, make the Chinese stakeholders fully understand, and send the China messages to American team - you can't imagine how high the chances to cause misunderstanding which will lead to a horrible business decision in this process. It's not just the translation, but fully comprehension of both languages, and to be a little bit smart to speak to both sides in the way they feel comfortable to listen to.
Do I enjoy the cultural exploration everyday? Yes, I really do. Plus I was married to an Ukraine born American!!! We live under a trilingual roof - again, not just the language itself, the differences spill all over the place form kitchen to bedroom!!!
Well, if you are interested in how to do business in Asian countries, China/Central Asia/South Eastern Asia, or how to manage your team member/boss, or how to maintain relationship with customers from those regions, shoot me an email: [email protected]
Happy to be your multi cultural communicator!
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