MAINZ Complementary Skills Workshop: "Intercultural Awareness and Communication"

Skills transfer training for international project and conflict management

Intensive 2 day workshop
Exercise based learning
12 participants maximum
23rd /24th February of 2017
9.00 am until 6.30 pm
MAINZ seminar room

This very practical course is targeted at PhD students and aims at providing participants with not only the tools for dealing with intercultural communication issues in their present academic intercourse with supervisors and other students, but also a wider framework for their future professional tasks in leadership positions of project

What you will learn

  • Acquire a solid groundwork for understanding how very different “cultural values frameworking” shapes work behaviour
    Where are the typical conflict interfaces in cross-cultural work communication?
  • Acquire structural tools with which to translate cultural awareness into strategic action plans
    How can intellectual knowledge be translated into systems analytical steps for the analysis of prototypical cross-cultural work-related problems?
  • Work-based skills transfer learning
    How can an “integrated systems analysis” engineering approach be applied to cross-cultural situational analysis, problem-solving and action planning for engineering “systems building” work?
  • Learn to recognise the hidden conflicts in “international English”
    How does the silence/talk conflict play out on the language level (e.g emails)?
    How might “perfect” English play no role in the communication of accurate meaning?
  • Gain deeper insight into and sensitivity for non-scientific barriers to effective scientific performance
    Distinguish between corrective actions and preventive strategies; Appreciate that science may be neutral but scientists do not interact in a culture-free zone.

How you will be able to behave after the workshop

  • Recognise risks and potentials in international project work
  • Be better able to proactively and systematically manage or contain many predictable and preventable risks to project work
  • Have access to a different “cultural language” and “register” of communication
  • Identify, develop and harness more potential in international teams and cooperations

What makes it important?
Why is intercultural communication named a professional competence?

Cultural background and referencing shape every aspect of our communication and the tools and strategies we believe to be instrumental for successful co-operation. In particular, the highly technical nature of many international projects often misleadingly suggests that business, technical, and logistical issues are the predominant problems with which projects are faced during the negotiation, planning and implementation stages. Reality shows, however, that many projects are frequently at risk not for lack of know-how, good intentions, or even language skills, but due to underestimating the impact of cultural communication differences and a lack of interculural communication skills with which to react.

This will be major topics during the Workshop

  • Different “cultural values logic” applied to problem solving and solutions planning
  • Talk and silence communication behaviour as cultural communication and conflict management strategies
  • Decoding and responding to symbolic and elliptical communication
  • “Mapping” conflict interface and escalation to generate action planning
  • The hidden conflicts of “international English”

How you will be working during the Workshop - Workshop Framework

Awareness is essential for conscious action. But conceptual awareness must also be “operationalised” into diagnostic tools for reliable problem assessment and solving in order for it to be truly useful. Groundwork will be balanced with methods and tools which will be illustrated using examples. Participants will perform authentic case-study-based tasks to transfer knowledge and skills for culture-appropriate action strategies. A balanced mixture of trainer input with experiential-based group exercises and discussions will encourage participants to explore relevant issues and reassess their own experiences within a clear framework.

Who should attend - Workshop Participants

This workshop is targeted at all students who aspire to work and lead effectively and appropriately in a crosscultural environment. The training program is also especially design in its didactic methods to comply with the learning style of engineers and technology professionals in order to introduce a very new knowledge and skills domain that is traditionally overlooked or under-estimated in engineering and science education.

Your trainer – Profile + Experiences

Alexia Petersen studied comparative literature at University of Toronto, and then Queens University, in Canada before coming to Germany in 1987. Based in Aachen for the last 24 years, she has been working as a trainer, lecturer, and consultant in applied intercultural communication for almost 20 years. She conducts workshops for primarily doctoral students and postdocs working in the natural sciences, engineering, and medicine at universities and research institutions; and project leaders, task groups, and negotiators in high-technology companies in the commercial sector. Harnessing her extensive experience and originally developed skills transfer tools, she is currently working on a doctoral dissertation in response to bridging the considerable gap that remains between the research and practitioner communities.