Twitter Interview I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Cindy King a cross-cultural marketing expert living in France.  As Twitter was our interview medium, I haved blogged our conversation for those who missed the ‘live’ performance. 

‘Tweets’ are limited to 120 characters per post, so sometimes it’s a challenge to articulate what you think in so few words!  In part one of the interview Cindy asked me about my background and this can be found on her site. Part two, as blogged below, is all about cross-cultural things.

 CKCindyKing  This is a Twitter interview with @DeborahSwallow – I’ll be tweeting with her for about 15-30 minutes #CKinterview

Please join in if you have any questions or comments for @DeborahSwallow #CKinterview

CindyKing Welcome to the second part of the Cross-Cultural Interview with @DeborahSwallow #ckinterview

CindyKing Hi Deborah, for those who don’t know you, can you please tell us something about yourself #ckinterview


 Hi Cindy – great to talk to you and ‘Hello’ to everyone else out there joining in. I’m a professional business speaker and consultant on topic of cross-cultural communication in widest sense.


CindyKing After the 1st part of your interview I wonder if you’d share some tips & golden nuggets #ckinterview

DeborahSwallowYes, I’d be happy to #ckinterview

CindyKing First… What is your definition of culture in 120 characters? So… “Culture is…” #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow Culture is the HEARTWARE of the Soul and the SOFTWARE of the Mind

CindyKing Ohhh, I love that one!!!  Now just for fun, let’s make it harder –  “Culture is…”  in one word only #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow a CODE

CindyKing Code! As a cross-cultural marketer I know this means you’ve folllowed Clotaire Rapaille’s work on the Culture Code 🙂

DeborahSwallow That’s right. But I think most people who work with languages realise its a code as well. #ckinterview

DeborahSwallow You often can’t translate concepts into different languages #ckinterview

CindyKing Along the same lines… Can you finish the sentence “International business is…”  #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow much more complex than people realize. Trouble is, people ‘do’ it the way they do it at home! #ckinterview

CindyKing  Do you have any cross-cultural tips on what to avoid in body language? #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow Avoid fiddling with your hair, nose, face in public – some cultures really find it very off-putting. All they see is how dirty your hands must be

CindyKing What is the one tip you would give people to improve their cross-cultural skills? #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow Understand that EVERYTHING in life is culturally coded from when we were very young. So we all think differently about things:

DeborahSwallow our meanings for things are deeply buried in our unconscious mind

DeborahSwallow what is a business for? how we think about our boss; what is luxury; quality; love; etc. Individualism in Far East seen as immaturity

CindyKingSome GREAT bits of advice! …And what one bit of advice would you give people interested in international business? #ckinterview

DeborahSwallow Do your market and cross-cultural research!

DeborahSwallow You have to find the cultural code for your product, service or business. You have to be ON CODE in your relationships.

CindyKingUnderstanding the “culture code” does seem to be the key, doesn’t it? #ckinterview

CindyKing With your experience as a cross-cultural speaker what other tip would you like to share? #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow As a speaker you have to learn how to ‘shape’ your message so your audience can assimilate, understand and accept it.

DeborahSwallow Examples: people have different reasoning styles, different listening patterns and want a different mix of fact and emotion

CindyKing I can really relate to “shaping” your message, even with the cross-cultural negotiations I’ve been in… #ckinterview

DeborahSwallowYes – cross-cultural negotiation skills are a whole different ball game – as the Yanks would say #ckinterview

CindyKingWhen it seems impossible to get your message across, you can usually find the solution in “shaping” it differently #ckinterview

CindyKing 3 more questions before I let you go… #CKinterview

CindyKing What is your favorite website for international or cross-cultural inspiration? This can be anything at all. #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow  Anne Fox at  and Centre for Intercultural Learning in Canada

Good for research at least: Geert Hofstede and then compare with other info on the internet

DeborahSwallow  Fons Trompenaars very influential thinker on the subject. But not much free resource on the internet unlike Hofstede.

CindyKingThanks for sharing several! I know they are all great cross-cultural resources #ckinterview

CindyKing Can you suggest one other cross-cultural person to follow on Twitter? #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow if you’re interested in China: @ leslieforman

DeborahSwallow Anne Fox is an interesting lady so I’ve suggested she starts Tweeting about what she knows etc @foxdenuk

CindyKing Thanks – those are new to me, and I’m looking forward to hooking up with them 🙂 #ckinterview

CindyKing Can you suggest one other international person to follow on Twitter? #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow  @CCTheLowdown it’s a publishing company that Tweets all sorts of interesting things – sometimes international. I assume it Tweets things about all its different authors

CindyKing Thanks so much for your time Deborah and… #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow My pleasure – thank you!

CindyKing I hope you will join the conversations on #CKinterview

DeborahSwallow Hope your followers will find our session useful. Bye for now and it’s been great hooking up #ckinterview

CindyKing You’re most welcome 🙂 It is great to be in touch on Twitter with cross-cultural experts like yourself #ckinterview

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 9:05 pm and is filed under about cross-culture, General, other interesting stuff . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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