The myth of globalisation | Peter Alfandary | TEDxAixMay 01, 2020
Sometimes I describe myself as an Englishman with cultural conflicts. I am first generation born in the UK. I was educated at the French Lisa in London for 13 years. I spent much of my childhood in Italy and 30 years as an international lawyer and have always been fascinated by cultural differences, but I think it was when I came to New York as a 21-year-old student that I first tasted the oxymoron I would like to share. with you today. Global village, not a global village in the way Marshall McClellan brilliantly described when he predicted the Internet in the 1960s, but more like a word we use an expression we use a lot now.
My experience in New York was not momentous but it left a great impact on me. I spent my first day walking the streets or the word amazing hadn't caught on yet and at the end of the day I decided to take a taxi to dinner with some family friends. polite maybe apologize In a twitch I said to the taxi driver good afternoon do you think you could give me a ride and I read him the address on the paper he looked around his eyes had turned strange at this stage his brain was clearly working hours extras, his answer was unforgettable sunny joe do you want to go you don't want to go well of course at this stage I was confused because I didn't want to go because I was expected for dinner but I thought for many days and many hours in that rude meeting confused it was me I was him and It made me realize for the first time how different we all are and how differently we communicate that Sonny do you want to go or don't you want to go?
It was followed by many other examples during my career. as a young and not so young lawyer I remember as a very young lawyer negotiating with the Japanese and I came back to the office very proud they agreed with everything I said and my boss looked at me and said Peter are you sure? By saying yes and explaining myself, of course, that did mean that they had listened to me, not that they agreed. I noticed with my Dutch, my German, and some of my American clients. Candor doesn't necessarily mean rudeness. A bit like my taxi driver in New York and so do I.
Of course I learned that the English really do speak in a code that no one understands. I could cite many examples if we had time, but one of them always reminds me of the Italian being told by an Englishman, but the Englishman was a bit disappointed by something. The Italian said that the Italian said why he mentioned it. I explained that slightly disappointed in English meant extremely angry and they will probably never forgive you. even walking out of a room learned about time now i'm one of those people that if i have a conference call at half past eight because i'm what's called monochronous i'll dial at 8:26 just in case Password doesn't work the first time Some cultures don't do that Some sofas Weather is How do I put it?
A guideline The world won't end if the meeting starts twenty minutes late Relax Why are you so excited? I also learned about lunches and negotiations so that in some cultures a long lunch in the Middle East in France, for example, can be an integral part of a negotiation and I always remember a Frenchman once saying that when his colleagues in New York suggested having a working lunch with a sandwich really made him physically sick I learned about the use of silence in Finland I am still learning every day my belief is that the idea that there is a global village is a
myththere is not one village there are many villages on our globe we talk about global warming global economy global crisis global communication but the life of the people the culture of the people still rules I am not making any value judgments when I say that but I think we have to stop believing in the quasi
mythical powers of the globalization and we have to start remembering how very, very easy it is to misunderstand each other we live in paradoxical times and what I I call the 21st century paradox has two pillars, the first is the dominance of English in certainly in the world of commerce as the world's lingua franca the second is our relentless and total reliance on digital communication both lead to what is called a intercultural dilemma the belief that because English is so widely spoken and because it is so easy to communicate that we really understand each other but sit in board rooms British American Chinese Russian French after negotiating English but we always understand each other but often don't Interpret subjectively We arrive Jumping to conclusions We look at the world through eyes and lenses that are designed to correct our vision and not that of other people we stereotype We too think and react very quickly and the question we might want to ask ourselves is do we even talk enough We send one hundred billion one hundred billion commercial emails every day.
I am in my own isolated cultural space in X in London in Paris in New York and I write my email and within seconds a different space than mine arrives in someone else's cultural space one where the context is different but the email has no a reverse loop there is no visual or even oral clue that my words may have been misinterpreted my tone may have been misinterpreted I write that email in an unconscious vacuum of cultural variables so culturally we are not global you see it's all about the context it's about of the individual or of the cultural group to which he or she belongs my context your context his context we communicate or rather have contact but contact means communication you know it's a bit Like internet dating you can meet someone online but at some point you have to have dinner with them and I also ask myself a question that you may have asked me, did we forget that the phone s were off?
Originally designed for conversation and dialogue Are we relying too much on raw data? Originally, culture shock was a term we probably remember being used to describe that feeling of disorientation an expatriate felt when they first went to another country, he or she experienced it first-hand and on-site, but has now something different happened. Culture shock has become invisible, it has become virtual, it is hidden behind our technology and the learning experience we would have gained from a face-to-face conversation or communication is missing the psychologist Paul bats living once said that what is true it's not what i say but what you understand i can't see you so good but i bet if i ask the next question how many women in the room think men always understand them how many hands raise not many interesting and if i then change the question i say how many men in the room think that women sometimes don't understand us, are there any men?
If there's still hands up you'll see it's all about programming in this world of ours we're not all Mac's or all PC's and even the same computer may have a different keyboard we need to focus now on creating new software for those of you who are Macs in this room and those of you PCs in this room can communicate effectively and harmoniously and the key to that is cultural intelligence the key to that is understanding different cultures and learning techniques to adapt for the better not about taking away it is not about losing our own cultural identity cultural intelligence is simply about realizing that not all of us reason and think in the same way that we culturally look at a variety of important things very differently risk uncertainty leadership power hierarchy relationships trust but it is also about understanding our own culture within those parameters, there's a lovely saying: the last thing you notice the fish is the water you are swimming in in cultural intelligence.
Intelligence can be taught and I believe it is one of the key tools to help us navigate the paradox of the 21st century. My conviction is simple. We need to make cultural intelligence a part of our educational system at all levels. It must become a cornerstone. We need to teach. in our homes we have to teach it in our schools in our universities in our business schools in our places of worship in our community centers in each of our towns our children need it I need it you need it our colleagues need it and there I venture too an idea, maybe our politicians and our leaders need a strong dose of cultural intelligence too, yes, this is a call to arms, if you will, we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to each other, you know the sueño en mí believes that if we make the teaching of cultural intelligence at all levels a part of the educational system, we might go back a little bit more into intolerance and increase tolerance, who knows, but at least let's make it part of our daily interactions , the French writer or 20 sytheti c savetti said something beautiful if you de faire de moi more Flair my de Mulas e Tamaki her if you differ from me my brother instead of harming me you enrich me and so the next time you send an email or the next time you get in a taxi or an uber in New York remember that your town does not represent v-world and maybe if we all do that collectively every day we can create a better, richer world and hopefully a safer world
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