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Where is my order?
FaridElashmawi,GlobalSuccess
SanJose,California,USA
Purpose
It is the purpose of this exercise to help participants evaluate their written communication
skills as they relate to several important international cultures. Specifically, participants will:
Test their multicultural written communication skills
Understand where they need improvement in their written communication skills
Explore the differences in multicultural written communication
Targetaudience
Business executives and managers who deal with managers, negotiators, salespersons,
trainers, etc., with diverse cultural backgrounds. An audience of 20 or less is ideal.
Time
30 minutes
Materials
Writing materials—paper and pens
Handout 1, “Where is my order?” for each participant
Procedure
1. Give a copy of the handout to each participant, and then ask that each person write a
memo to a partner from a different culture. Assign each individual a specific culture to
write to (American, French, Saudi Arabian, Chinese, etc.). You can also develop and
assign a different topic if the work of the group commonly involves memos that you are
familiar with.
2. When they have written the memo, ask participants to discuss their memos in small groups.
3. Ask the groups to share what they learned and their results.
4. Debrief by pointing out, as needed, how to start and end the memo and how to greet and
persuade others from the different cultures. Highlight key words in the memo.
50ActivitiesforAchievingCulturalCompetency
152
Debrief
The following points might be useful:
Ask participants to read from their memos two to three words that will really persuade that
culture to respond positively to their request.
Recommend that when they go back to work the next day, they re-read some letters, faxes,
or memos coming to them from different cultures and read between the lines and words of
Americans, Japanese, Saudi Arabian, Chinese, etc.
Remind them that next time they are sending a letter or memo to an individual from
another cultural background, they should stop for a moment and review what they have
written from a cultural perspective. Magic will happen!
Whereismyorder?
Reproducedfrom50ActivitiesforAchievingCulturalCompetence,byJonamayLambert,
SelmaMyers,andGeorgeSimons,editors.Amherst,MA:HRDPress,2000,2008
[Handout1]
Where is my order?
Scenario
Three months ago, you requested a design document from your partner in a joint venture. You
have yet to receive it. Develop and write a short memo to your partner inquiring about the delay
and persuading him or her to respond positively to your request. Be sensitive to your partner’s
background.
Write your partner’s assigned culture here: __________________________________________
Write your memo in the space below:

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