By Arnout Nuijt
Many, many years ago, he was “my first Mexican”, the diplomat who came to visit us at our office. He never knew it, but he taught me the risks of cultural profiling, the generalisations and assumptions we make of the world’s different cultures and their ways of doing business, aka intercultural communication.
Back to the Mexican diplomat. We knew beforehand he wanted something from us we could not give him, simply because it was not in our power. While knowing nothing about Mexicans, I advised my colleagues (to whom his demand was directed) to start the meeting calmly, drinking some coffee and talking about anything but the subject in question, until the diplomat himself would smoothly raise the issue. We would then refrain from reacting directly and bluntly (the way we Dutchmen usually do), but withhold our answer, while explaining our position. I would then contact him several days later to deliver the “final verdict”.
That was the plan. Continue reading