Essential Business Communications Skills

BIS 101WI Essential Business Communications Skills

Assignment 5: Global Communication Tutorial: Training Others about Communication in a Specific Culture

(Group interactive presentation – 50 points)

Objectives

1. To utilize group working processes and learn about different group dynamics by using the Tuckman model for collaborating in groups (forming, storming, norming, performing) involving different perspectives and to mediate between these perspectives in a professional manner.

2. To create an effective multimedia presentation involving effective transitions and professional presentation techniques for an audience of peers that is meant to teach your classmates.

3. To study international communication practices in a global setting to learn about different cultural perspectives that you may encounter in a professional context.

Background

This assignment involves two elements:

1. Working effectively in a team environment

2. A presentation as your deliverable. For today’s global company settings, many of you will need to have some experience working with a diverse group of people from different cultures. That means that you will need to have experience working in a group, but also have to be able to mediate between different cultures (company, national, global, online etc.) to work effectively and understand how culture functions within a company and across different ethnicities, nationalities, and geographic locations. For the next few weeks, your team will focus on issues of global communication. You and your team members will need to research a communication issue in a culture or cultural group, and provide training designed to increase class members’ understanding of cultural differences and/or global communication issues.

Possible Topics Your team is to explore a specific area of global culture, with a focus on business communication within the culture that you choose. For example, you might choose to discuss greeting customs among businesspeople, how they trade business cards, their meeting protocols, how they reach agreement on business proposals, or other particular business customs. Remember, keep your focus on business communications.

There are multiple online resources that you can find online. For example, “business practices in Japan” returns videos and other links to help you learn about Japan’s culture. Your aim in doing this type of research is to become aware of these differences and be able to professionally teach them to your classmates.

Group Presentation Deliverable

Your group is to create a presentation that is both engaging and informative. It will be delivered in class via Webex. You should teach us, by showing or demonstrating, one or more cultural business customs in a particular country that will help us to understand and be ready to travel to that country and be able to successfully adapt that custom in a business environment. The aim is to have you present in an audience-interactive sort of way, such as question-and-answer, roleplay, visual, and using interactive elements, video components, or different speakers, etc. Be creative and think outside the box! Don’t be a reporter—be an actor!

We are not interested in viewing slides about cultural facts, but rather, we want you and your team to use creative techniques that will engage us and to teach us how to do something using a tutorial format. Your end goal is to help us to understand the custom behavior, the logic behind it, when to use it appropriately, and what the results should be, etc. Carefully consider these presentation elements that will help your audience be prepared to take a business trip to the country you present.

Assignment Prep #1 – Understand the Basics of Cultural Differences

Culture has been operationalized as the hidden assumption or dimension upon which a culture operates. It is important to consider two things:

1. How your own cultural framework lets you look at a context from your own cultural perspective.

2. How people from other cultures might approach that same context differently as a result of having a different cultural perspective.

In other words, there is a move that one makes going from being ethnocentric (using just one’s own culture to evaluate things) to ethnorelative (knowing how other cultures do things differently and having that determine a certain approach).

Here are some examples:

· One of the elements of Dutch culture is to be straightforward in speaking one’s mind and giving direct criticism, whereas in the US there is usually a need for “softening up the person” before giving direct critical feedback. And even then, it’s often given indirectly.

· Businesspeople from the United States and the Netherlands will prefer to do business first and then go to dinner afterwards. In contrast, Japanese businesspeople will insist on having lunch/dinner first, in order to get to know their business partners, and then consider doing business later when they have established a relationship.

The point is that just because you are used to doing things in your culture, that doesn’t automatically mean it works everywhere else—other cultures will have vastly different ways of doing things.

Assignment Prep #2 – Evaluate Yourself and Your Cultural Assumptions

1. Determine your own cultural profile (Erin Meyer): https://hbr.org/web/assessment/2014/08/whats-your-cultural-profile (5-10 minutes).

2. Gain a basis for comparing another culture.See Geert Hofstede’s six dimensions model link with different countries’ scores: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/.

3. Understand cultural issues between different nations (Erin Meyer): http://erinmeyer.com/2016/01/mapping-out-cultural-differences-on-teams/

Hence, different intercultural assumptions can lead to approaching the same situation differently, which might lead to confusion if two people from different cultures attempt to apply their own cultural values to others’ cultural contexts. This could lead to misunderstanding if one culture does not consider the perspective of another culture. When business is conducted in a global context, it is most likely that the host country’s customs for doing business will prevail over another country’s.

Assignment Details

Group work. This is a GROUP project, which means every groupmate does his/her share of the work. Each person is to develop material and be part of presentation. At times, group work can be frustrating because people have different ways of working. Understanding that, and how to work through your differences together, can still help your team be successful.

Each group is to designate a leader who will facilitate progress among team members and communicate with me. If someone is not pulling his/her weight, I will hear about it. Also, you can come and talk to me at any time. The point is that you will need to work together and not slack. Your group members can fire you if you decide not to do anything. I do ask groups to address their issues with each other first, but if that does not work, please talk with me ASAP. Do not wait the night before the assignment is due to tell me you had an issue because there will be no time to help fix any problems at that point. I will also ask that you evaluate each other using a group member evaluation form that will tie into your grade.

Presentation

· Length—at least 10 minutes in length for the presentation and 5 minutes for Q+A.

· Speakers—each group member presents a segment; there should be smooth transitions between speakers. Everyone should be very well-practiced.

· Content—Unmute and turn on Webcams in WebEx

· Opening and Agenda. Start with:

1. One person introducing all team members, then:

2. A clearly defined hook (STARS is good: Startle them with a statistic/visual, Tell a story, Ask a question, Recite a fact, Show of hands) followed by:

3. An explanation of what the presentation is about and finally,

4. How the presentation will proceed.

· Body

1. Can use slides, if wanted, but not required. Remember, this is a tutorial type of presentation where you will teach, demonstrate, roleplay, etc. (see suggestions on pg. 1) your peers about one of the customs (or more) that you and your group have focused on.

2. Feel free to use some type of interactive activity (poll, Kahoot!, MS Forms, etc.) to increase engagement, understanding, and overall learning.

3. Include 5 minutes for Q+A. Be sure to ask open-ended questions.

· Conclusion

1. Summarize what you have taught and what students have hopefully learned.

2. Conclude graciously and thank students for their time.

3. Tell them how to contact you for questions and/or refer them to sources where they can find additional information.

Grading Criteria

Arrangement—10 pts. You convey deep aspects of intercultural communication in a clear manner using OABC as described above. The presentation is not so much a typical slide presentation, but rather, starts by hooking the audience from the very beginning and continues with compelling content throughout (similar to a TED Talk perhaps?). Content—10 pts. You have developed the content of the presentation and have delivered it in such a way that it helps us learn how business communication works in conducting business in the culture you have chosen. You describe how people think, act, behave, and why, using the Meyer scales. Instead of superficial visible markers of the culture (population, flag, religion, etc.), your group shares deep dimensions of how to effectively communicate business interactions in that culture, in other words, how its businesspeople think, behave, and why. Interactive—10 pts. The tutorial includes frequent audience interaction and engagement focused on helping us learn about business communications and retaining it. Team member evaluation—20 pts. You will evaluate your teammates and their work as part of their grade. This requires you to honestly evaluate how well they contributed to planning, preparing, and presenting the assignment. Be warned: your individual grade could be affected negatively if you are considered by your team members to not have been a full participant in all respects.

A final note: Please know that I sincerely value insights, connections, and ideas about business communication in a culture over flashy, gimmicky, or whiz-bang presentations with no substance. You can do this successfully with careful planning, team member cooperation and involvement, detailed and creative execution, and equally shared and high-quality team member involvement. Best to you!

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