Body-language and nonverbal communication

Rising dragon around the dome of Cologne, or: what is cultural integration Part II











Rising dragon around the dome of Cologne, or: what is cultural integration Part II

…..I realized the birth of this picturesque image I talked about earlier. This image reminded me of experiences which I had as consultant and coach in companies when they follow a fusion process. A fusion in business is based on an intercultural process. One company with its special culture joins, meets and unites with another company, with its typical culture. In contrast to official wording most of these processes are a non-equal-fusion.

Most of those fusions in business failed. They faile because of a wrong approach of understanding intercultural communication. Intercultural communication and integration in business often means: We put those two companies together, have a look, try to find out the most effective and efficient elements of structure and efficiency in order to build up the new company on these analytical results.

Intercultural communication and integration does not function like this. ……………….You can compare it with a marriage. Two people fall in love with each other and marry. So, being in love with each other functions as a putty or cement between the two very different backgrounds of living.

Maybe you remember when being invited at a wedding how exciting it is to meet the two families, the relatives of those two people who marry. Mostly each family clings to each other rather than being mixed up with members of the other family. Of course both families talk to each other, but regarded from an outside perspective you of course know who belongs to which family.

This very often can also be observed when the families meet again later at some birthday, some funeral or even at the silver wedding after 25 years. Again observed from a distance you still know who belongs to which family tree.

Meanwhile the couple I talk about, which married, when staying in love with each other honour cultural integration and intercultural communication. 

These two people finally succeed in being integrated. Integrated by this habit. By these feelings. By this long term experience.

This process can succeed when each of the two always rely on their family roots, when each of them is clearly aware of the other´s roots. This can finally succeed when the two at the same time create their own culture of marriage, a new culture, an integrated culture. By feeling for each other. By experience they have together. And by creating their own habit of living.

Fusions in business often fail because managers follow a concept of shaking a cocktail. The recepe will be putting the different liquors, juice and perhaps coconut milk into a cocktail shaker, shake it for a certain time and then hope that the cocktail will taste.

I love cocktails and I know this functions best when preparing a cocktail, but it does not function bringing together two companies, two cultures, two different habits of living, two different habits of exploring the world and being convinced about life.

I want to come back to the “ Rising Dragon”. This band, especially the lead singer, are a very convincing example of intercultural communication and cross-cultural integration: When listening to them on stage you clearly can be aware of the Chinese elements, the English (musical) elements and the German elements. They always can be clearly identified and yet performing the one or the other element in a respectively self-identified habit touches the audience emotionally.

And this is the effect you need in a process of intercultural communication and integration.

I remember the audience who listened to the “ Rising Dragon” in Cologne: Germans, Turkish, Chinese and whatever culture was represented there. Looking at their bodies, looking at their body language and the nonverbal communication elements in the audience one could easily be convinced that all this audience was emotionally touched. I take this as a good sign, a good proof of successful integration.  An integration in front of the stage near the dome of Cologne. An integration for a certain space of time. An integration which can survive even when people go home. The Chinese to their Chinese homes, the Germans to their German homes.

To come to an end and to put it into short words:

Intercultural communication and integration can succeed when both cultures have the same right to be there. And the right as well as the possibility to be like this on the long run. Each culture is accepted by the other and both cultures meet on an emotionally stage, in an emotional space which is created by both. In a specific space of experiencing one another.

This will not always succeed but this is the frame, the base where it can succeed. It is the space, it is the spirit which enriches the process.

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