Unit 2.3: Video – Transcending Culture

VIDEO: THEMES & IMAGES TRANSCENDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES The following video considers international communication tactics, using themes and images that transcend cultural differences. English may connect us in the business place with a common language, but we still need to be sensitive to cultural differences.


What Doesn’t Work Across Cultures:

  • Humor (cultural references don’t translate well)
  • Sex (our comfort level with it varies)
  • Religion (hot-button topic – wars get fought over religion)
  • Nationalism (a turn-off)

What Does Work Across Cultures:

  • Babies: If there is one most universally uniting cultural commonality, it’s our love and appeal for babies. Every culture loves its young.
  • Relationships: Love, marriage, man-woman rift. More than any other cultural dimension, the two greatest cultural differences are between men and women, in all cultures.
  • Dogs and Furry Animals: Just about everybody loves them.
  • Sports: Unifying in our love of the sport, such as the World Cup; nationalities and rivalries, for sure, but unified in their love of the game.
  • Self-Image: We all see ourselves as something. We all have a self-image, and appreciate that others have a self-image. We may not understand or relate to that image, but we have a transcultural interest in the self-image of others.
  • Life Cycles: We’re all born, live and die. We have that in common, our fundamental humanity and mortality. We deal with it in different ways, theories of death and the beyond, and how we live our lives in between, what’s important to us and not.
  • Water: Water is a universal experience. Are bodies have the same salt concentration as the sea, we have that in common. All cultures like to swim. A great transcultural exercise would be to take all nationalities to a swimming pool, toss them in and say “no talking, only play.”