"What did you say? Intercultural expectations, misunderstandings, and communication" a workshop given at Digital Divide Data, Vientiane, Laos.
What Did You Say? ! Intercultural Expectations, Misunderstandings, and Communication ! Greetings! I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us. ! Surak in the Savage Curtain episode of Star Trek ! Frederick Zarndt
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw,1925 Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. ?
I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever. What did you say?
In my opinion you will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you. What did you say?
Please revert as soon as possible. What did you say?
What does this mean? Fine for Parking Here
What do you see? The young girl is turning away... The old woman is very sad...
What do you see?
Why (better) communication is necessary
Wiio's laws of (mis-)communication Osmo A Wiio in Wiion lait - ja vhn muidenkin cf. http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/wiio.html 1. Communication usually fails, except by accident 1. If communication can fail, it will 2. If communication cannot fail, it still most usually fails 3. If communication seems to succeed in the intended way, there's a misunderstanding 4. If you are content with your message, communication certainly fails 2. If a message can be interpreted in several ways, it will be interpreted in a manner that maximizes the damage 3. There is always someone who knows better than you what you meant with your message
Osmo A Wiio in Wiion lait - ja vhn muidenkin cf. http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/wiio.html 4. The more we communicate, the worse communication succeeds. 1. The more we communicate, the faster misunderstandings propagate. 5. In mass communication, the important thing is not how things are but how they seem to be. 6. The importance of a news item is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. 7. The more important the situation is, the more probably you forget an essential thing that you remembered a moment ago. Wiio's laws of (mis-)communication
Exercise: Introductions Introduce yourself and say where you were born Say one thing about you that you really like Say one thing about you that you dont so much like Tell one unique thing shared by all / most members of your native culture that is different from other cultures Do this is 2 minutes or less!
Goals Personal goal: Through my behaviour in thought, word, and deed to be and to become a better person Business goal: Everyone wins as measured by the 4 way test* 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Your goals? * Adapted from Herbert Taylors 4 way test. See http://www.rotary.org
Simple principles for communication 1. Be impeccable with your word 2. Dont take anything personally 3. Dont make assumptions 4. Always do your best 5. Be mindful Adapted from The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz
The basic human
Genetic difference at most 0.5%
Estimated number of neurons in an adult human brain 10,000,000,000 (1011)* ! Estimated number of synapses in an adult human brain: 100,000,000,000,000 (1014) ! Estimated number of synaptic connections for each neuron: 7,000 ! Number of combinations of n (1011) neurons with s (7000) synapses C (n, s) = C (1011, 7000) is very large (for example, the number of combinations of n (52) cards taken 5 at a time C (52,5) is 2,598,960 * Another estimate is 86 x 109 total neurons, 16.3 x 109 in the cerebral cortex and 69 x 109 in the cerebellum. Genes, neurons, and synapses: How humans are different
Humans have about 3,000,000 nucleotides. Maximum genetic variation based on ! single nucleotide polymorphism is 0.1% or 1 difference in 1000 base pairs copy number variation resulting from deletions, insertions, inversions, and duplications is 0.4% ! Total maximum genetic difference between two randomly selected humans is ~0.5%. ! Genetic difference between human and chimpanzee is ~4%. Genes, neurons, and synapses: How humans are alike
Reticular activating system ! The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a structure common to mammals that is necessary for consciousness to occur. RAS filters data coming to your mind so that your perception of events agrees with your past experience. Everything you see, hear, smell, feel and touch is a message entering your brain. RAS filters through all these messages and decides which ones will get attention from your consciousness. Midbrain Pons RAS Medulla Exercise (+) Noise (+)
Basic human nature Physical Vehicle comprised of meat body and its needs. (Latin physica things relating to nature.) Emotional Motivational force for human activities. (Latin emovere move.) Mental Sets goals, creates problems, solves problems. (Latin mens mind, Indo-European / Sanskrit revolve in the mind, think.) Spiritual Relationship to creator. (Latin spirare breathe.) Regardless of culture, humans have 4 basic natures. With only slight racial and geographic differences, the physical body is the same for all cultures. How humans meet their physical needs -- water, food, shelter, procreation -- and fulfill their emotional, mental, and spiritual natures differs from culture to culture and from person to person.
Basic human activities Relationship Manner in which one connects to and interacts with other humans. (Latin referre bring back.) Work Physical and mental activity intended to achieve a purpose or result or to create something. Recreation Activities done for enjoyment and to re - create oneself. (Latin recreare to create again, renew.) Devotion Activities to fulfill and develop spiritual nature. (Latin devotionem to dedicate by a vow.) Basic physical needs -- water, food, shelter, procreation -- are fulfilled in variety of culture specific ways. Once these needs are met, humans from every culture engage in 4 fundamental activities.
Culture is like the color of your eyes: You cannot hide it and can change it only with difficulty, and although you yourself cannot see it, it is always visible to others when you interact with them. Culture Any knowledge passed from one generation to the next, not necessarily with respect to human beings. Culture is a collective phenomenon shared with people within the same social environment. Culture is learned, it is not innate. Culture is different from personality but the border between culture and personality is fuzzy. Definitions of culture
Culture Personality Human Nature Learned Inherited and Learned Inherited Specific to Individual Specific to Group Universal Levels of mental programming
Cultural expectations Cultures similar Cultures different Behaviors and values
Culture stereotypes Advantages of stereotypes Disadvantages of stereotypes Prediction of cultural behaviors Stereotypical behavior does not match real behavior Illuminates intent Expected intent disguises real intent Helps one avoid giving offense Ability to put things in conceptual categories is fundamental to perception.
Exercise: Cultural stereotypes Think of a cultural stereotype from your own or from another culture. Think of advantages, disadvantages, and dangers of the stereotype.
realize that there is no color in the natural world and no sounds nothing of this kind; no textures, no patterns, no beauty, no scent. the world out there is synthesized in our consciousness. Sir John Eccles,1963 Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine.
Perception To become conscious of or aware of through the senses (Latin perceptin or perciptio: comprehension, taking in)
Process of perception 1. Observation 2. Interpretation 3. Evaluation or judgement
He must be late... That man is running Those foreigners are always in a hurry! Perception: ObservationPerception: JudgementPerception: Interpretation?
Exercise: Judgement Think of one of your own judgements about someone else or a judgement that you witnessed. It may