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1. Read and translate Text 1:
In intercultural communication people meet with a lot of problems
When speaking about different nations we use stereotyped definitions. Do you agree with the definitions given below? What definitions could you add? How could you define your nationality?
The Germans — hardworking, ambitious, successful, aggressive, arrogant, etc. The Japanese — successful, ambitious, clever, hardworking, etc. The Americans — successful, ambitious, aggressive, modern, etc. The British — boring, humorous, arrogant, aggressive, etc. The French — stylish, modern, arrogant, humorous, lazy, etc. The Italian — lazy, stylish, helpful, humorous, aggressive, etc.
AN UNPREDICTABLE AFFAIR
Try to put pressure on a Japanese in a negotiation and you will be met with stony silence. Hold an informal fact-finding meeting with a German and you can expect a battery of searching questions. Disagree with the French on even a minor point and they will take great pleasure in engaging in spirited verbal combat. Doing business across culture can be an unpredictable affair.
Most of us prefer to do business with people we like, and it should come as no surprise that the people we like tend to be like us. So whilst we may dispute the accuracy of cultural stereotypes, it is generally agreed that good business relationships are built on cultural awareness. Across national frontiers ‘nice guys' do more business than nasty ones. But what constitutes nice-guy behaviour in a boardroom in Miami is not necessarily what they expect in Madrid.
THE US PERSPECTIVE
For instance, most Americans will insist on the hard sell. It’s not enough that you want to buy their products; you must let them sell them to you. They have to report back to superiors who will be as interested in how the deal was struck as the result. Systems and procedures matter to Americans.
THE SPANIARDS TRUST YOU
The Spanish, on the other hand, are unimpressed by the most meticulously prepared meeting and pay much more attention to people. In this they are more like the Arabs or the Japanese. In the Middle and Far East business is built on trust over a long period of time. Spaniards may come to a decision about whether they trust you a little sooner.
Italians too tend to feel that the main purpose of meetings is to assess the mood of those present and reinforce team-spirit. There may well be a lot of animated discussion at a meeting in Italy, but the majority of decisions will be made elsewhere and in secret.
SCANDINAVIANS WANT RESULTS
Strangely enough, Scandinavians are rather like Americans. They value efficiency, novelty, systems and technology. They are firmly profit-oriented. They want results yesterday.
SUCCEED WITH THE GERMANS
Don't be surprised if the Germans start a meeting with all the difficult questions. They want to be convinced you are as efficient and quality-conscious as they are. They will be cautious about giving you too much business until you have proved yourself. They will demand prompt delivery and expect you to keep your competitive edge in the most price-sensitive market in Europe. Succeed and you will enjoy a long-term business relationship.
PRISONERS OF OUR CULTURE
Ask yourself whether meetings are opportunities to network or get results. Is it more important to stick to the agenda or generate new ideas? Is the main aim of a meeting to transmit or pool information? It all depends on where in the world you hold your meeting and whether you belong to an individual business culture like the French, Germans and Americans or to a collective one like the British, Japanese and Greeks. Indeed, who knows to what extent our views are our own and to what extent culturally conditioned? For in business, as in life, “all human beings are captives of their culture”.
2. The following business verbs are listed in the order in which they appeared in the article. Use these verbs to make up word combinations with nouns from the text, translate them and learn ten most useful by heart:
BUSINESS VERBS NOUNS