Cultural Rules

Take a look at this article. It's a great example to use in class to illustrate the differences in cultural rules within the United States/Canada and the consequences of violating them.



How to Hold Your Own During a Conference

Here is a guest post on communication during conferences. Hope you like it.

How to Hold Your Own During A Conference


In the fast-paced world of business, every meeting is an important meeting.  Mobile applications and web conferencing makes any location a suitable location for a business meeting, and true success comes from being able to transition seamlessly from one environment to the next.  All the practice and preparation won't change the fact that how well you engage your peers is more important than the content of your presentation, or the polish of your pitch. 


Surviving the On-The-Spot Skype Interview


Holding your own in a conference boils down to holding your own in a conversation.  This means being able to act natural, confident, and relaxed while still focusing on the topic of the meeting.  More often than not, speaking comfortably and confidently comes from speaking with others – often. 


Conversing with others sounds easy enough – on the surface – but it doesn't always provide ample preparation for discussing detail-heavy business topics with the appropriate level of poise.  Scripted role-play may be okay for some training situations, but what about those times when an unanticipated question comes up? That's where simulation training comes in.


Practice Makes Perfect

  • Keep Cool – Practicing the art of dialogue and etiquette will result in a sense of confidence and poise which will help you keep a clear head in even the tensest of business meetings.  Great leaders are often marked by their ability to remain unflappable even when under fire, they weren't born that way, they practiced it until it looked easy. 
  • Anticipate Curve-balls – Today's job market is increasingly competitive, getting a job means standing out from the crowd. Most interviewers have not only mastered keeping a straight face and unreadable body language, but also delight in asking insightful questions which force you to shift mental gears quickly.
  • Organize Coherent Thoughts – Being heard and appreciated as part of the business team means being able to comprehend what your cohorts are saying while also preparing a coherent response. Practicing active listening allows you to touch upon the important points others have raised while also providing a resolution of your own. 


To keep up with the break-neck pace of today's high-tech business world, it's important to remain in step with the latest in business innovations.  Learning how to hold your own in a conference is just like learning a foreign language, which is why simulation training is so important for anyone wanting to maintain a competitive edge.


SimSource Inc. is a communication company that provides performance-based training and assessment services. Their mission is to provide customized actor-based training, assessment and consultation for a variety of industries such as health care providers, human resources, and law school. For more information visit www.simsourceinc.com.


Persuasion, Persuasion, Persuasion



The current issue of Harvard Business Review (July/August, 2013) is devoted to “Influence: How to get it, How to use it.” One of the best articles is an interview with persuasion expert, psychologist Robert Cialdini who offers six principles of persuasion (as he has in his other excellent works, Influence: Science and Practice and Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive, with Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin):

1.      Liking. You’ll be more persuasive if people like you.

2.      Reciprocity: If you help others, they will help you.

3.      Social Proof: If you tell people that others are doing what you want them to do, they’ll be more apt to do it as well.

4.      Commitment and consistency: If you get people to make a commitment, they will try to follow through.

5.      Authority: People are persuaded by experts even though they may deny it.

6.      Scarcity: People place a high value on items that are scarce.

Other useful articles emphasize the importance of communicating warmth if you want to influence others and the ways in which experts gain influence.


Gay Pride and the Spiral of Silence

Yesterday, I attended the 44th NYC Gay Pride Parade. Standing on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue and scanning the thousands and thousands of marchers and side-line well-wishers, many waving the rainbow flag, I was reminded of an incident from a long time ago when I had the pleasure of having dinner with, among others, John Paul Hudson (1929-2002). John was a gay activist (at a time when there were very few) and out gay writer (at a time when there were even fewer).
John was one of the main organizers of the first New York City gay pride parade in June 28, 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots in which GLBT people fought off the police on their usual mission of harassment (June 28, 1969).  And so it was especially nice to see members of the New York City Police Department and Goal (Gay Officers Action League) marching in the 2013 parade—as they have for many years.

But, the incident that stands out in my mind was a story John told about a book he wrote. Writing under the name of John Francis Hunter, he wrote a book called The Gay Insider. It was a guide to gay New York City. As I recall, John had a disagreement with his publisher and tried to prevent the book from being sold. I don’t recall the circumstances (or even if John mentioned them) but I remember that his publisher counter-argued that it should be allowed to sell the book since it already had orders for 600 copies that it promised to fill. When the judge in the case heard the publisher say it had orders for 600, his response was: “600? You mean there are 600 of them?”

The other thing this brings to mind is the spiral of silence theory, a theory postulating that people will voice opinions they think the majority hold and be silent on voicing minority opinions, opinions to which the majority would object. Before voicing opinions, people estimate the likelihood of positive and negative response. Opinions that are likely to get a positive response are voiced and opinions that are likely to get a negative response go unspoken.

In the 60s and 70s the demand for gay rights, for equality, for an end to harassment, for an end to job discrimination, and a lot more, was definitely a minority opinion and so the voice remained relatively silent, save for a few brave souls like John. Majority opinion was that being gay was a psychological disorder, a sin, and much worse. And this majority opinion grew, at least for a time. Gradually, however, more and more people (though still in the minority) spoke out. And, they spoke out loudly enough and continued to speak out even to the point of being heard and responded to by the Supreme Court.

And today, the day after some of the largest and most well attended gay pride parades throughout the country, I’m pleasantly reminded that speaking out for justice and truth—even when in the minority—eventually pays off.