Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Silent or verbal? A cultural question

In the '60s and '70s, the Atlantic Ocean shrunk as people in North America discovered VWs, Renaults, Fiats, and MGs. In the '90s and '00s, the Pacific Ocean is shrinking, seemingly on a far faster and grander scale. Those of us in North American and Europe are having more and more contact with colleagues from cultures that have a significantly different history than the ones we likely grew up with.

Friend and colleague Barbara Pirie of Pirie Associates in Lautoka, Fiji Islands focuses on understanding differences among cultures. She's written an article, Some Speak With Silence: Facilitating Mixed Silent/Verbal Groups, focusing on one aspect of those differences: the way different cultures use words and silence, and she's graciously allowed me to host it on my Web site.

If you are from a verbal culture and work with those in a silent culture today (or vice versa), I invite you to read the article and see if it helps you work more effectively together. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

If you don't work across such cultural borders today, read it anyway; you may tomorrow!



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