Networking and Cultural Intelligence – Necessary or Fluff?

29 Nov

Madrid, SpainIt’s been said that “walking into a room full of strangers” is today’s #1 networking fear, outranking the fear of death and the fear of public speaking which were formerly number 2 and 1. (According to Susan RoAne, networking maven and author of several networking books including Secrets of Savvy Networking and How to Work a Room.)Compounding the situation is the reduction in in-person communication caused by the increased use of internet and e-mails. (It is sometimes amazing what and how people will craft their words and send missives out into cyberspace when they are not face to face with their recipient.) The overall result from less person-to-person discussion is increased shyness and a decrease in ability to network with strangers in a social setting.

What do you think?
Has the internet caused us to atrophy in our social, face-to-face communication skills? Has it made any difference in your own social networking to be able to craft a difficult response to someone using email rather than speaking directly to the person(s) involved? Has the increase in multiculturalism in the workplace had any effect on our ability to communicate and connect with one another?  Where can we find the answers to the most important multicultural team questions?

As the world becomes flatter and flatter through outsourcing, offshoring, and the increased migration of professionals between countries, how are our project teams dealing with the many diversities and soft skills that are critical to success? Is there an appreciation that networking and cultural intelligence skills can be gained through knowledge transfer and practice – or is this all considered fluff?

Would you be interested in attending a 2 day networking and cultural intelligence workshop for technical professionals in January 2009 in Tampa, FL? If so, please send me an email to

Have a good week!
Carol Dekkers

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker.  Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event?  Email Ms. Dekkers at or or visit for details.

Read Carol Dekkers’ second blog (about Software Development) at

——Copyright 2008 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ————————————

3 Responses to “Networking and Cultural Intelligence – Necessary or Fluff?”

  1. caroldekkers Monday, December 22, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

    My friend, Hollis Wagenstein, alerted me to this excellent article: The Global Workforce: Communication Across Cultures. It talks about how English as the language of business – and why learning English is gaining importance worldwide.

    See the following link:

    Happy Holidays all!



  2. Susan RoAne Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    What a nice surprise to be google “alerted” that you had included me in your post! You posed many interesting questions that are substantial food for thought. To add, we spend an inordinate amount of time constructing emails… often that say things we would never say face-to-face. Some of those emails involve issues that could be resolved by a phone call which I further explored in Face to Face: How To Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World.
    Bottom line: We need to be communicate both digitally and in various analog ways embracing our “personal touch” to be memorable.


  3. Hi Carol:

    The workshop sounds great…

    We do a lot of work helping people with all kinds of fears and phobias – especially Fear of Public Speaking – and the truth is that fear of “walking into a room full of strangers” is exactly the same fear.

    Its the same fear – just a different ‘trigger’. Technically both are ‘social phobias’ – but we’re not really concerned with categorization, just helping people get over them quickly.



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