Communicators face of their diciest challenges when communicating to audiences from multiple cultures. Whether trying to convey a common message to employees in different countries who each speak their local language or addressing a product issue to customers from the varied regions of the U.S., communicators face local interpretations of words and phrases, sensitivity among cultural groups to certain issues, and cultural norms that could lead organizations intentionally to offend an entire group of people.
As The Conference Board put it, “All human beings conform to a culturally determined reality. Our culture shapes the way we ‘see’ reality. Often we are unaware of our cultural assumptions until we come into contact with people whose cultural biases different from ours.”
In organizational communication, we cannot be unaware of our own assumptions or those of the people with whom we seek to communicate. The test for communicators is in trying to reach not just one culture, but several. Communicators also have an obligation to understand cultural issues that could arise from their employer or client’s plans and counsel the company in order to avoid a crisis.
At noon EDT on Thursday, June 15, four IABC Fellows will spend an hour exploring the ways to prepare for multi-culture communication, when discrete communication to each culture is advisable, how to get up to speed on what is acceptable (and what is not) among cultures in your audiences, and how to address issues that arise among members of cultural groups. The panel will be broadcast live; panelists will respond to questions shared on Twitter using the hashtag #COF22.
You can watch the panel on this page or on YouTube. If you can’t make it for the live broadcast, the video replay will be available shortly afterward. You can also subscribe to the Circle of Fellows podcast to get the audio for listening later (and never miss a future episode). Past episodes are also available on the Circle of Fellows podcast page.
Panelists for “Communicating Across Cultures” joining host Shel Holtz include…
Dr. Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, accredited by both IABC and PRSA. She is managing Director of Business DNA, based on South Africa, which provides strategic research and consulting, including communication audits, customer service and other focused research and training in communication skills. Her career has also included a 15-year stint as a research manager for the National Productivity Institute.
Edward “Ned” Lundquist, a retired U.S. Navy captain with 33 years of professional public affairs and strategic communications experience. He is a principal science writer at MCR Federal in McLean, Virginia, supporting government clients; and has his own company, Echo Bridge LLC, which provides outreach and advocacy support to commercial clients. He served on active duty for 24 years in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer and public affairs specialist. Captain Lundquist was a Pentagon spokesman with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Director of the Fleet Home Town News Center, and director of public affairs and corporate communications for the Navy Exchange Service Command. His last tour of duty was commanding the 450 men and women of the Naval Media Center. He is an accredited business communicator and award-winning communicator who served as president of IABC/Hampton Roads and IABC/Washington, director of U.S. district 3 and chair of the International Accreditation Council. He was named an IABC Fellow in 2016. Captain Lundquist is a member of the executive committee of the Surface Navy Association and chair of the SNA communications committee. He writes for numerous naval, maritime and defense publications and chairs and presents at communications, naval and maritime security conferences around the world.
Brenda C. Siler, a public relations, marketing, and branding professional. She currently manages a consultancy offering short-term public relations, communications, and writing solutions for a variety of clients. Siler has lead communications teams at national associations and nonprofits including AARP, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and UNCF, the United Negro College Fund. At UNCF, she managed the rebranding of this scholarship fund retaining its iconic tagline “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” At the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, she managed a national public awareness campaign featuring actor James Earl Jones. From 1998-99, Siler was Executive Board Chairwoman for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), She is on the Board of Advisors for PRNews. Siler is a graduate of Spelman College.
Angela Sinickas, founder of Sinickas Communications, which has worked with companies, organizations, and governments in 32 countries on six continents. Her clients include 25% of the Forbes Top 100 largest global companies. Before starting her own consulting firm, she held positions from editor to vice president in for-profit and government organizations and worked as a senior consultant and practice leader at Hewitt and Mercer. She is the author of a manual, How to Measure Your Communication Programs (now in its third edition), and chapters in several books. Her 50+ articles in professional journals can be found on her website,www.sinicom.com. Her work has been recognized with 20 international-level Gold Quill Awards from IABC, plus her firm was named IABC Boutique Agency of the Year in 2015. She holds a BS degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MS in Leadership from Northeastern University.