3 Entertaining TED talks on culture

Cross cultural communication

Pellegrino Riccardi

SMALL TALKGreat to listen to, Pellegrino (an Italian/Brit living in Norway) explores how culture is shaped by preconceived perceptions and people see what they want to see. He argues that successfully working across cultures means that you have to accept that your assumptions are not necessarily the assumptions of others. Each culture has different ideas of what is accepted and familiar – and Pellegrino brings this to life with entertaining anecdotes, some great photos and his ability to mimic accents. He finishes with an appeal for transcultural behaviour.

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Riding the waves of culture

Fons Trompenaars

As humorous as always, Fons Trompenaars explores how cultural misunderstanding can cause crisis. He start off with reminding us of the time when Americans were in America and the Chinese were in China and management theories worked – but now we have multicultural teams – so what does today’s manager do?

Fons argues that the challenge today is to reconcile cultures and create a paradigm that works across cultures. He then uses the “pedestrian dilemma” and the “peach and the coconut” analogy to remind us that regardless of where you’re from every culture faces the same dilemmas. The question is how can today’s organizations “crack the line” and build a transcultural organization?

Everything you always wanted to know about culture

Saba Safdar

Starting with a quick look at what is culture (“culture is like water to fish”) this video then looks at the specific cultural dimension of individualism and collectivism (aka communitarianism). Entertainingly, it then looks at how culture manifests itself in communication – with a smile-inducing focus on how individualism and collectivism manifests itself in insults and humour.

This is the first TED video I’ve seen where the speaker asks the audience to please shout out insults and then says thanks after hearing “moron”, and shows how insults changes across cultures based upon the importance of the individual versus the importance of the group. It then turns to humour and it does and does not cross cultures. The video clip at 14:55 where the Australian newscaster is telling a joke about the Dalai Lama to the Dalai Lama is cringe worthy.