Module 3: Audiences and Culture Exercises

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Exercise 3.12 – Identifying Sources of Miscommunication 

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·         Do #1 only and identify one or more ways that cultural differences have led to miscommunication. 

·         Next, suggest one or more solutions to the problem.  For this scenario, consider that Alan must conclude his business within one week or risk losing the sale.  What can he do to get this Mexican customer’s business? 

·         For full credit, answer fully, in complete sentences.

1.       1. Alan is a Canadian sales representative in Mexico.

He makes appointments and is careful to be on

time. But the person he’s calling on is frequently

late. To save time, Alan tries to get right to

business. But his hosts want to talk about

sightseeing and his family. Even worse, his

appointments are interrupted constantly, not only

by business phone calls, but also by long

conversations with other people and even the

customers’ children who come into the office.

Alan’s first progress report is very negative. He

hasn’t yet made a sale. Perhaps Mexico just isn’t

the right place to sell his company’s products.


2. Stan wants to negotiate a joint venture with a

Chinese company. He asks Tung-Sen Lee if the

Chinese people have enough discretionary income

to afford his product. Mr. Lee is silent for a time,

and then says, “Your product is good. People in

the West must like it.” Stan smiles, pleased that

Mr. Lee recognizes the quality of his product, and

he gives Mr. Lee a contract to sign. Weeks later,

Stan still hasn’t heard anything. If China is going

to be so inefficient, he wonders if he really should

try to do business there.


3. Elspeth is very proud of her participatory

management style. On assignment in India, she is

careful not to give orders but to ask for

suggestions. But people rarely suggest anything.

Even a formal suggestion system doesn’t work.

And to make matters worse, she doesn’t sense the

respect and camaraderie of the plant she managed

in Canada. Perhaps, she decides gloomily, people in

India just aren’t ready for a female boss.


Exercise 3.16 –  Revising Sexist Job Titles

  • suggest nonsexist alternatives.


– Barmaid         – deliveryman     – ombudsman    -chairwoman     -female soldier      -male model

– Lunch lady   – lady lawyer   – fireman   – policeman – postman    – stuntman


Exercise 3.17 (pg. 60) – 1,3,5,7,9 (odd numbers only)

State the type of bias and rewrite the sentence without bias. 

·         1) While he is a victim of muscular dystrophy, Salvatore is one of our top salesmen.

·         3) Though she was born and raised in the south, Terri is surprisingly open-minded about people of different races.

5) Sam Madigan
Ark Industries

5112 Grosvenor boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Dear Mr. Madigan:

7) Though Xian doesn’t look like he was born in this country, he speaks English better than anyone else that I know.

9) Make sure you seat the entire team, including the minorities Atik, Curtis, and Brianna, at the center table during this year’s “Celebration of Diversity” dinner




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