This is the the second of a two-part Business English Pod series on working in multicultural teams.
These days, working with people from different cultures is quite common. You might be meeting with colleagues in another country or on another continent. Business practices vary all over the world. Some cultures are more formal than others. Some have distinct customs regarding greetings, gender roles, and food. So it’s helpful to know as much as possible about other business cultures before you meet your team.
But even if you’ve done your research carefully, problems can still arise, especially in face-to-face meetings. There can be miscommunications, points that need clarification, and different ideas of what’s acceptable in a business environment.
Today, we’ll look at issues like slang and idioms, concepts of time, forms of address, and misunderstandings due to culture. We’ll also discuss opening interactions and explaining different business customs.
In the last episode, we met Cao Ming a U.S.-based manager at a multinational company. Originally from China, Ming has worked in New York for many years and is now headed to Brazil where he’ll lead a research team. He did some background reading and discussed Brazilian culture with a colleague before he left. Now, he’s heading his first meeting with his new Brazilian team.
1. What are two idioms Ming needs to explain?
2. What suggestion does Carla make at the beginning of the meeting?
3. Why does Felipe mispronounce Ming’s name?
Download: Podcast MP3