Exercises – Communication


What does it mean to be a truly effective communicator?

July 4th in Manhattan

Bob lives with his German-born wife, Katarina, and their two children in Manhattan. When the holidays approach Katarina often invites over a few German ex-patriate friends – Ingrid, as well as Heinz and Petra. Bob invites his sister, Ann, as well as an old college friend, Larry and his wife, Mary. 

All highly educated and informed people, conversation naturally gravitates towards current events, politics and society. The last time they were all together, however, the atmosphere became a little tense, turning into a competition of opinions. Larry and Mary felt uncomfortable and left early. Katarina and Bob argued in front of their guests. Ingrid and Heinz found the Americans a bit too senstive.

July 4th is coming up. Bob and Katarina want to have another party and again invite their American and German friends. But this time they decided to take a new approach, sending out invitations, with Bob providing insight for their German guests about how Americans communicate, and Katarina doing the same for their American guests about how Germans communicate. They wrote it in a humorous fashion: “Everything you always wanted to know about those crazy Americans … crazy Germans.”

What would you write to the German guests about how your culture communicates?

Topic Questions


Explain to your colleagues in which situations, in your culture, it is appropriate to communicate directly or indirectly.

Work vs. Person

Describe to each other when your respective business cultures separate between the professional and the personal, and when they do not separate.

Small Talk

Explain to your colleagues when your culture mixes small with big talk and when it does not.

Controversial Issues

Help your colleagues to understand which controversial topics can damage a working relationship, and which are not controversial. In your business culture.

Unsolicited Advice

Describe to your colleagues when, and when not, you would give unsolicited advice. In your business culture.