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Understanding 'Interculturally' as Speaker, Learner, and Listener

The Glavin Center's Office of International Programs held a seminar on international/intercultural communication that was open to the entire community during International Education Week recently.

Karen Zuffante Pabon, Manager of International Student & Scholar Services, made this happen because of her own belief in the importance of understanding the nuances of translation and cultural interpretations.

Karen, with the help of Amir Reza, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs, and Management Professor Sydel Sokuvitz whose expertise is communication (language, power and gender) led the interactive, hands-on seminar.  

Reynolds 241 was packed with a mix of Babson faculty, administration, and staff who shared experiences and learned new communication tools for intercultural understanding.

We learned to:

  • Keep communication simple; speak slowly, thoughtfully, and deliberately
  • Manage our tone of voice; watch volume; don't be defensive
  • Be an empathetic listener
  • Be patient; take time to truly understand the intended message or question
  • Understand the challenge of communicating in a non-native language
  • Watch facial expression and body language as both the speaker and the listener
  • Understand our own assumptions!

At a school with a 25+% population of international students and faculty, the importance of mutual understanding cannot be overstated.

If you have a chance to attend a future workshop like this, take it. You won't regret it! A better listener – with both ears and eyes – makes for a better communicator in any language.