Language in International BusinessWritten by Brenda Townsend Hall
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In fact someone who is really in agreement is likely to take off into other types of linguistic behaviour such as asking questions, summarising, echoing, and perhaps offering to do something to take matter further. There will also be aspects of gesture and expression that reinforce this. The problem for listeners is that by relying on explicit meaning of message alone, they are likely to misinterpret apparent agreement, for sake of politeness, as wholehearted agreement. Asking questions, is another communicative activity to look. By questioning we may be seeking to influence hearer in ways beyond apparent intention of seeking information. We can ask questions: •to show we are actively listening to what someone has to say in order to encourage them to elaborate and expatiate; •to draw timid or less confident people into a conversation (open ended questions); •to interrogate (yes/no questions).
Yet, if we really want to gain information, then techniques for eliciting, such as re-formulation or invitations to explain further are likely to be more effective than direct questions. People may become defensive or resentful if questioning techniques are too obtrusive. Activities are needed to help international business person use questioning techniques more effectively and match them to an appropriate communicative strategy. Alerting clients to potential for misunderstanding, for giving and taking offence, for having progress frustrated, through not knowing cultural norms of language use is surely a field those training managers to work across cultures should not neglect.
Brenda Townsend Hall is a communications and cross-cultural trainer and an associate member of the ITAP International Alliance: www.itapintl.com
Small Business Planning -- Three MythsWritten by Denise OBerry
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3. A strategic plan is like a ball and chain -- Not so.
It's your plan. Too many small business owners feel like once it's on paper, it can't be changed. Wrong! Your plan should be an active document that gets reviewed and updated at least monthly, if not weekly. You're business owner, you wrote it, you know what's happening in your market -- adjust as necessary.
Denise O'Berry helps small business owners take action to grow their business. Find out more at http://www.smallbusinessmatters.com