Corporate Culture Shock

‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’ – Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz.

Whether you’ve heard of it or not, culture shock is a thing that exists and can affect even the most travelled of travellers, yet Talking Heads likes to define exactly what we talk about around the office (we thought it was beneficial to our readers too) and show you that culture shock can have a much greater adverse effect than just missing mum.

At Talking Heads we are a bunch of people who love all things language. This often includes travelling various places around the world (have you seen our scratch map on Instagram?), picking up some of the idioms and immersing ourselves in the culture of others.

We’re not alone. The World Tourism Organisation reported that International Tourism has increased by 4.6% for the first half of 2014 exceeding 1.1 billion people in tourist numbers, showing increasing numbers of people are travelling abroad. Whether people are taking holidays, gap years or business trips, international tourism is growing year on year.

Sometimes, in travelling abroad, we can experience cultures that are so far beyond the norm that we undergo ‘culture shock’. Culture shock is a sense of the unexpected and un-familiar that can be overwhelming. So what exactly is ‘Culture Shock’? The Oxford Dictionarydefines it as ‘the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes’, this can be through people, methods or most often being in a different country.

Although culture shock is hard to deal with personally, imagine experiencing culture shock whilst trying to undertake business in other parts of the world. Not only are you overwhelmed by the differences of this unfamiliar place but you are also expected to conduct business in a less than usual setting, whilst representing your firm. For companies looking to trade internationally this can be daunting.

A lot of common guidelines are within the sphere of business on how to approach firms in other countries; from bowing and giving gifts to the Japanese to realising that men only shake hands with men and not women in India. Talking Heads provides cultural half day or full day workshops to help ease your company into doing business in another country. Our cultural tuition can even be tailored to your specific industry, giving you insider knowledge of how best to tackle your specific industry in a foreign land.

We cover many areas in the cultural tuition sessions, here’s a list of what is available –

  • Greetings
  • Language
  • History (Political, Geographical, Neighbours)
  • Everyday Living
  • Family
  • Religion
  • Eating
  • Work
  • Humour
  • Ritual Behaviour
  • Sensitive Subjects
  • Specific Industry focussed requirements.

Contact us on 0114 257 2077 or at to find out more about our cultural tuition workshops.

Countries: Brazil, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and United Kingdom
Topics: Business Development, Export Planning, and Market Research
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