Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working with Indians Paperback – Dec 12 2007
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<div>Storti’s cultural observations about Indians are spot on.” Ranjini Manian, CEO, Global Adjustments and Author of Doing Business in India for Dummies
Storti helps us understand that by finely tuning our eyes and ears to the differences, we can bridge the gaps and strengthen our business relationships.”-Chris Gilmore, Vendor Management Director, CNA Insurance Companies
</div> --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Craig Storti is founder and co-director of Communicating Across Cultures, a Washington, D.C.-based intercultural communication training and consulting firm specializing in seminars on cross-cultural adjustment and repatriation. With work appearing in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, he is the author of six books, including Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working with Indians and the bestselling Cross-Cultural Dialogues, The Art of Crossing Cultures, and The Art of Coming Home. Having lived nearly a quarter of his life abroad, he lives now in Maryland. For more information, please visit his website: www.craigstorti.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What I don't like is when he starts discussing the reasoning behind the behaviour. At one point, he says that the reasons why Indians don't speak up has something to do with the fact that they have been ruled for years so they developed that awe for westerners. That is so funny.
The true reason behind the behaviour is not what he describes. The fact is that most of the western people face Indians when they outsource their IT work. In India, customer is god. Thats what Gandhi told us and thats what we are told from childhood. And in most interactions western people are customers, so Indians tend to respect them. Also, in India, respect for older people is a given thing. And most westerns are old as comparison to young IT people working on their projects. These are two prime reasons that Indian people don't openly oppose western people. It is so unfortunate to see author's reasons behind this behavior.
I have lived and travelled to different countries and studied culture out of my passion and am amazed by the differences in the culture. I always check with local people about the reasons behind their behavior. I wish the author had done more research with the local people before he gave his reasons for different cultural traits. At times it appears he is writing reasons that he thinks his typical readers would like to hear. Can I ever tell you better than you can tell me why you behave like you do?
So readers, do read his book to understand different cultural and behavior traits. However, take his reasoning with a pinch of salt. My belief is that reasoning behind cultural traits can by hypothesized only after thorough research of history and culture of a place. It is difficult to get a credible hypothesis after a superficial interaction with a small sample size of people of that place.
Craig Storti comes to the rescue in a quick, yet comprehensive, read. I kept this book with in my laptop case to read a chapter whenever I had a free moment. I was able to absorb the content, even in short reading sessions. I found the introduction of the book helpful in expressing the crucial importance of cross-cultural communication in today's business world.
There are many features that set this book apart from others in its category. I really appreciated the scripted examples of conversations between an Indian and a Westerner that are included with the chapters. These examples really helped to make a connection in my mind between the lesson of the text and real world application. Storti points out the missteps in each of the example conversations, and how it could have been prevented. The extensive section of the book devoted singly to the "Indian Yes" and other agreements is especially invaluable and a must to any Western individual seeking to prevent the biggest road-block for Westerners in Indian communication. Non-verbal communication is also included, seasoned with rich content regarding cultural and familial backgrounds which create the foundation of differences in our communication styles, both of which give a comprehensive understanding.
The end of chapter summaries give you the necessary points for your own comprehension check and review.
I recommend this book specifically for Canadians, Americans, British, and Western Europeans working with East Indians in the business world. Although the book is written in a business context, teachers, volunteers, and vacation travelers would also benefit from the communication elements of this book, for a richer experience in India.
I shared this book with some Indian colleagues here in the US, who are quite Western. They found the book quite humorous, but said the accuracy and truth of it all is right on. Speaking of India has expanded my cultural understanding, and the effectiveness of my communicational understanding, with both East Indians here as "Westernized" long-time Americans, and Indians completely outside of my Western-centric experience.
As with any generalization, one must be careful as these guidelines may not absolutely be true for all the people you interact with in India. India is a large country with a great deal of diversity, so I would only use these guidelines to make yourself aware that there may be a different meaning to what is being said that what you intuitively think is being said.
The book was also helpful for me to understand how my communication and behavior might be interpreted by my colleagues in India, something I had not previously spent a lot of time thinking about. Some of the activities I was asking the team to undertake may have been particularly difficult for them given some of the cultural differences. At the least, there was probably more prep work I needed to do if I wanted them to contribute successfully to such activities.
This book was definitely worth the time I invested to read it. I believe it has helped me better communicate with my colleagues in India.
Storti has written a number of books about cross cultural communication and this will certainly be of benefit to business people travelling to India.
Storti very nicely identifies the issues that will arise when Westerners first try to do business in India. The book's real-life practical examples are helpful and realistic. The author's end-of-chapter summaries are especially helpful for anxious learners.
We share a willingness to express a sense of humor when detailing India's shortcomings as well as her greatness. I started and finished this book on a recent trip to Chennai, India and found it an easy and helpful read.
By Gunjan Bagla
Author of Doing Business in 21st Century India
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