Light Bulb

Last week I presented a half-day seminar for a magazine that is published in 51 languages and distributed around the world. The lead editor found out about my research and asked if I could give a presentation and conduct a brainstorming session regarding how they might better connect and resonate with their international audience. Toward the end of the meeting I had everyone write down two of their biggest “take-aways.” A few of the most common ones are as follows:

• Importance of increased awareness. Culture even influences what we see, not only just how we interpret it.
• Some cultural differences are significant in understanding magazine communications – they cannot be ignored or minimized.
• Even when we share a language it doesn’t mean we share the same way of understanding or using that language.
• Need to separate core message from American culture – get at the essence of the core message.
• Attitude is so important – we need to care. Avoid only asking “What would I like?”
• Keep learning, be open. There are many different stages of ethnocentrism/cultural sensitivity.
• Easy to feel overwhelmed, not knowing where to start.
• Need for more research and resources
• Desire to collaborate and share with other departments resources that can help
• Utilize international consultants and people from other cultures in the design, development, and evaluation of instructional materials.
• Create for developing world first.
• Understanding differences in logic/rhetoric – big implications for accepting, editing, etc of articles from around the world.
• Culture is always developing always changing, it is important to stay in touch with that to know how to better approach and reach our communication goals.
• Get feedback through international networks, testing, etc.
• Strive to find stories and symbols that unite.
• These things also help us in our personal lives.
• Create spaces where people can feel safer to discuss the differences and ways to move forward in dealing with differences in new ways.