Politeness the Cologne way

The past few days I had the opportunity to teach a group of 13 assistants for Management Circle in Cologne. After a long trip there – floods turned the 4 hour train ride into an 8 hour odyssee – it was lovely to see the majestic Dom. It was late in the evening, and I […]

Our brain on an intercultural challenge

This excellent animation looks at the way our brain is involved in intercultural incidents. Instinctively, the brain causes us these feelings: The early evolutionary reptilian part of our brain that rules gut feeling has 4 strategies when meeting something new, the 4fs: feeding, fighting, fleeing or f*cking. Our stone age brain is keen on cooperation, […]

Intercultural incident? A kiss on the cheek

A Ukrainian reporter caused a scene in Moscow when, as one of a crowd, he asked Will Smith for a hug. WS obliged and gave him a “man hug” (patting him on the back). The reporter responded by trying to give him kisses on both cheeks, almost kissing him on the mouth. Will Smith reacted […]

Guido Westerwelle

Guido Westerwelle made the news recently as a result of the way he responded to a reporter of the BBC. Refusing to answer the question placed in English, he insisted that questions be asked in German, as this is the language spoken here. When the question was then translated, his response added insult to injury, […]