Several speakers from the foreign language department discussed the importance of language and culture in international business as one of the many programs during Civility Day on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The program was held in Sykes Ballroom A at 9:30 Tuesday morning. The program was entitled “Language and Culture for Competitive Edge in Business” and was sponsored by the foreign language department.
Dr. Andrea Varricchio began the program by discussing international business in Spanish speaking countries. She discussed the importance of formality when speaking with strangers as well as differences in international marketing such as menus at international McDonalds. To bring a lighter side to the program, Varricchio told the audience that at McDonalds in Spain customers are able to order beer with their value meals.
Dr. Michel Sage next spoke about the French and their unique style of business. Sage said that personality traits appear in a culture’s attitudes and styles of management. He discussed the differences in meetings, decision-making and management styles between the U.S. and France.
Dr. Margarete Landwehr discussed language and cultural literacy in Germany. Landwehr emphasized that how a person uses words could have both positive and negative consequences. It is important when going to another country to be aware of how words are being used and the context in which they are used. Landwehr also discussed differences between Germany and the U.S. in meetings, workdays, clothing, holidays and in dealing with guests.
Lynette Cornog, a West Chester student, presented on “Latin revival.” Cornog discussed personal, professional, academic and traditional applications to many Latin phrases. Many of these phrases are common in the U.S and can be used for various things.
Gestures and nonverbal communication are important in international business, especially in Russia. Dr. Alice Speh discussed several differences in gestures and nonverbal communication between Russia and the U.S. including eye contact and pointing. Speh also commented on standards for relationships in Russia and even talked some Russian proverbial wisdom.
The final speaker was Professor Emilia Garofalo, who gave some insight on the “Made in Italy” design. Garofalo discussed the three F’s in the Italian marketplace, which are Ferraris, fashion, and food. Garofalo showed slides from a controversial fashion show and talked about a few Web sites for Italian food.
The program ended with a message for everyone, not just those looking to be involved in international business and affairs: when going to another country, learn the language, the culture and the customs and do not forget to learn to love the people.