INTRODUCTION The Marketing Department has been conducting surveys of our worldwide offices, foreign customers, and prospective foreign customers over the last several months. Information received through the use of mailed questionnaires has made us aware of an urgent need to improve our communication skills as we conduct our operations at the international level.
THE PROBLEM Some incidents have been reported to us in which we have failed to negotiate contracts with foreign customers and prospective foreign customers because of serious breakdowns in communication. Some of these setbacks have been the result of conscious negative acts on the part of our employees. However, the main culprit seems to be lack of awareness of cultural differences and lack of appreciation for the nuances that reflect these cultural differences. Indeed there are almost unlimited possibilities for misunderstandings, insults, miscues, and avenue for people for good intent to miscommunicate.
INTERCULTURAL SEMINARS Three day seminars designed to improve intercultural communication skills will be held at regional sites in the United States and in foreign cities where we have offices: ÃÂ· Beijing ÃÂ· Hamburg ÃÂ· Madrid ÃÂ· Melbourne ÃÂ· Oslo ÃÂ· Rio de Janeiro ÃÂ· Tokyo ÃÂ· Warsaw It will be our intent that all employees who have direct contact with people from other countries will participate in these seminars over a four-month period.
It would be unreasonable to assume that a small team of people from our company would have the breadth of knowledge needed to conduct these seminars in eight foreign countries. However, Christin Zapoola, Terrence Mazlowski, and Nadene Andropolis have agreed to work together as the coordinating team for this effort. Each of these individuals has worked over the past two months with the managers of our international offices as well as natives in specific countries to formulate a preliminary plan for these...