The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Six Solid and Simple Tips for Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas When Working Abroad

Six Solid and Simple Tips for Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas When Working Abroad

Are you new to working abroad? Travelling to a foreign country for the first time for business?

Getting it right when working overseas is critical; but what do you do if you have little or no international exposure? You run the danger of too much exposure Borat-style!

Working internationally requires a very different skill-set to working domestically.  What works well for you in your home country may count against you when working abroad.  

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What is Your Favourite Quote Defining Culture?

What is Your Favourite Quote Defining Culture?

How would you describe or define culture?

What imagery would you use? How could you help someone understand the basic mechanics of culture and the impact this has on the world?

Not an easy one!

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The Apprentice – Horrendous Racism or Cultural Ignorance?

The Apprentice – Horrendous Racism or Cultural Ignorance?

For those that follow The Apprentice, you can’t have missed the recent outburst by contestant Dillon St Paul in Episode 6, entitled ‘Discount Buying’.

Sticking to the traditional programme format, contestants were required to spend the night identifying the whereabouts of 9 items in and around London and then negotiate the best possible price for their purchase.

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How Lack of Cultural Awareness Can Cost A Business Big

How Lack of Cultural Awareness Can Cost A Business Big

Has globalisation led to a homogenity of culture when it comes to product, marketing, sales and service?

Or have our cultural differences actually become more acute?

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Dear President-elect of the United States

Dear President-elect of the United States

What is clear from your election campaign is that if you are truly going to be a President for "All Americans", then you need some help.

Let's talk straight Mr. T - you've alienated people. Mexicans and Muslims are probably hiding under pillows while Chancellor Merkel and President Xi Jinping are already worried about you embarrasing them.

Some of your campaign messages and sentiments displayed immense bias, premised on stereotypes, informed by a myopic interpretation of our world. What you need is some training, some coaching and some loving.

You have "Great" ambitions - but these can never be realised without embracing the positivity of cultural diversity at home and abroad.

So, Mr, President-elect of the USA, we are offering you access to our consultancy, our courses, our training - anything you need.

We could design a course about Islam for you, a training session on doing business with Mexicans, a workshop on self-awareness and unconscious bias or how about some diplomatic etiquette training to prepare you for global summits? Whatever you need - we will help.

So give us a call and let's get to work!

#mytip4trump

Knowing you are a big fan of Twitter, we have also started a hashtag #mytip4trump for people to send you tips on working across cultural lines.

This is going to become an amazing resource for you - people will have tips for you on your foriegn diplomatic visits, how to address certain ethnic minorities at home, how your communiation style may need tempering or simly some tips on how to become more aware of cultural differences.

You're welcome!
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5 Essential Skills Every International Business Person Needs

5 Essential Skills Every International Business Person Needs

Working internationally comes with certain challenges - navigating cultural differences is just one.

Being able to work, communicate, sell to or buy from people in different countries, working in different times zones, with different ways of doing things is essential.

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Cultural Differences in the Way we Listen

Cultural Differences in the Way we Listen

In our previous blogs we examined how cultural differences impact body language and the way we speak - we now turn our attention to a little-known skill we all have yet many forget to utilise! Listening.

Just as cultures differ in how we hold ourselves, use our eyes or communicate, cultures also differ in the way they respond to what is being said.

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Cultural Differences in the Way We Speak

Cultural Differences in the Way We Speak

Carrying on from our blog about cultural differences in body language, we now look at one of the most important areas of cross-cultural understanding - that of communication.

Communication covers many areas such as verbal and non-verbal. One of the most obvious and apparent ways in which cultures differ is in the way we speak.

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Cultural Differences in Body Language

Cultural Differences in Body Language

Cultures differ in the way we use our bodies to communicate.

Sometimes it is very obvious, many times very subtle.

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Ta'rof - Understanding Iranian Culture

Ta'rof - Understanding Iranian Culture

Despite current tensions with Iran, the demand for Iran cultural awareness training continues to surge and, as the senior Iran cultural trainer, I spend a lot of time helping businesses understand the nuances of Iranian culture. 

One topic that attendees always struggle with, is the cultural concept 'ta’rof'.  It's essential that anyone travelling to Iran understands this principle in detail - as not to do so will risk potential offence.

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Could Cultural Awareness Training Get Any Better?

Could Cultural Awareness Training Get Any Better?

As a cultural awareness training consultant, I spend most of my time arranging cultural awareness training sessions for relocating expatriates, existing global companies and companies who plan to go global.

The training is delivered either face to face or remotely via professional trainers, with great feedback from our delegates.

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Erasmus is Key for Developing Cultural Awareness in UK

Erasmus is Key for Developing Cultural Awareness in UK

If UK loses out on Erasmus, we lose the next generation

One of the OMG moments I had during my post-Brexit bewilderment was what would happen to funding for the Erasmus programme; an EU initiative to support students to study abroad for one year. I was, and still am, genuinelly concerned about the impact it would have on us should we leave it. Why? Because I saw first hand the impact it has on improving young people's confidence, characters, employability and cultural awareness.

So it was with glee that I came across an article with my morning coffee on the Guardian which highlights calls for the government to protect British participation in the programme.

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Online Training – A Democratic Solution?

Online Training – A Democratic Solution?

Access for All

As cultural trainers, we oversee the delivery of high level cultural training to large multinationals. The benefits of the training extend beyond the company and help individuals to build skills and awareness which help in the long term.

Since we are proud of what we do, we are presented with an ethical dilemma when NGOs, small businesses and private individuals approach us with their training needs as they typically lack the budget to pay our fees.  

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Who on Earth Needs Cultural Training?

Who on Earth Needs Cultural Training?

Why UK Universities Invest in Cultural Awareness

I was recently at a dinner party in London for notable vultures and found myself speaking to a lovely vulture based in Wales who had flown down for the evening. Conversation led to work and what I do here at Commisceo, and what we do as a company, i.e cultural training.

“That’s different”, he said, "...but who on earth needs that?".

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Awesome Online Database of Cultural Differences

Awesome Online Database of Cultural Differences

Culture-Geeks Will Love This!

I’ve recently come across a totally awesome database – it’s a treasure trove of statistical information about cultures, societies, language, places and environments; something I thought I had to share with my fellow culture vultures.

What am I talking about?

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Cultural Differences and Export Marketing

Cultural Differences and Export Marketing

Weak Pound Signals Export Opportunities

If one thing is certain in this time of post-Brexit uncertainty, it’s that the Great British Pound is down the pan and looks like it might stay there for a while.

Although this isn’t great news if you’re taking your family of 4 on holiday abroad, it is great news if you have something to sell overseas. With the Pound so weak, now is the time to try and entice foreign customers through export.

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Brexit and our Cross Cultural Future

Brexit and our Cross Cultural Future

As bridge-builders, interculturalists have a lot of work to do

I’m going to be honest with you. I have written this blog once already – I fully expressed my views and vented my frustrations as to the recent events in the UK. I am now taking all those words back and starting again.

Why? I can pick holes and point to the lies all day but nothing is going to change. The only thing that will change is the future.

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Mindfulness and Cultural Awareness

Mindfulness and Cultural Awareness

‘Mindfulness’ is an increasingly common term. We hear it bandied around by ‘celebs’ who have discovered mindfulness meditation as the means to a stress free life and we have heard the term used by people who try to practice ‘living in the moment’ whilst shrugging off stresses of the past or unrealised anxieties of the future.


Mindfulness also has its own unique meaning in the cultural training world.

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Cross Cultural Communication & PR

Cross Cultural Communication & PR

The Public Relations (PR) industry is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships between clients and customers. Through areas such as brand management, advertising, media relations and crisis management, PR practitioners seek to foster interest, trust and belief in a product or company.

PR practitioners are aware of how best to carry this out when dealing within their own nations and cultures, however, when dealing with a foreign audience it is critical that cross cultural differences are recognised.

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International Retail and Cross Cultural Issues

International Retail and Cross Cultural Issues

Looking for case studies of cross-cultural issues in the retail business?

In this article, we look at some examples from the retail industry where cultural differences or cultural issues have resulted in business success and failure.

This article will attempt to show the significance of cross-cultural factors in international retail success. Through understanding the cultural reasons behind success or failure, it is then easy to apply the same principles to any business sector.

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