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Six Key Aspects of
International Business Contact
EricLynn,LCTConsultants
Nürnberg,Germany
Purposeandlearningobjectives
Listed below are six key aspects of this activity
1. trust
2. commitment
3. success
4. working together
5. decision-making
6. time (punctuality, efficiency, getting down to business, etc.)
The way we as individuals and as cultures perceive these key aspects defines what we think
is the “right” way to do things. Furthermore, it defines what we perceive as reality.
A team of six people from six countries creates six realities from the same situation. Because
they have formed a “team,” they are in the process of creating a new reality. If they are not
aware of this process, the potential for collapse is great. This activity develops the
participants’ understanding of these different “realities,” enabling them to move away from
thinking that there is a “right” or “wrong” way of doing things. It helps them create a process
that incorporates everyone’s perspective concerning these six aspects.
At the end of the activity, participants will see that these six terms are relative rather than
absolute and will be able to use their knowledge to better understand and assess the
“realities” that influence the actions of their counterparts.
Targetaudience
People who represent different cultures and who must work together or who are members of
the same team. Up to 16 participants is possible, but the exercise works better with groups of
8 to 12 in which there are at least two people from each culture represented.
Time
130 minutes
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306
Materialsandequipment
Six flipcharts, or large boards or walls that can be written on. MetaPlan
pin boards,
standard training equipment in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, are ideal.
Handout 1, “Six Key Aspects,” for each participant
Board markers of at least 4 different colors
A large open space; everything happens in the same room
Procedure
1. Position the flipcharts or pin boards in “gallery” format around the room. There should be
sufficient space between each of the six stations to permit the groups to work undisturbed.
Pin or tape six sheets of colored paper with the six aspects on the pin boards or flipcharts.
2. Introduce the activity, explaining its purpose and objectives. Take the participants around
the room and explain each of the six aspects and one or two examples of how different
cultures perceive them differently. Use the handout to prepare your examples. (5 minutes)
3. Divide the participants into monocultural pairs or threesomes. Tell them each to begin at a
different station (the order is unimportant) and note on the boards in bullet or key-point
format how they understand each concept and what is important to them in each. When
they have finished with one station, they should automatically move to the next until each
group has visited all stations. (40 minutes)
4. Bring all the participants together into one group. Examine each of the six aspects one at a
time. Highlight the key points that they have noted asking: “Why do you understand this
in this way? Why is this important for your culture?” Note the answers on a flipchart,
perhaps using the format below.

Success
KeyPoint
Whyisthisimportantforus?
Note: MetaPlan materials are available from distributors around the world. Company headquarters are located at
Neuland GmbH, Am Kreuzacker 7,36124 Eichenzell, Germany, Tel: +49 6659 880, Fax: +49 6659 88188,
www.neuland.eu/index.htm
SixKeyAspectsofInternationalBusinessContact
307
Record the perspectives of each culture with which the participants work in the same
way, creating a table for each.
Success
Keypoint Whyisthis
importantfor
us?
Keypoint
(CultureA)
Whyisthis
importantfor
(CultureA)?
Keypoint
(CultureB)
Whyisthis
importantfor
(CultureB)?
(12 to 15 minutes per aspect, total 75 minutes)
Debrief
Round up (key learning points) and assist the participants in consolidating how they can use
this information. Distribute the handout as an aid to reinforce the learning. (5 to 10 minutes)

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