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Hey Eric, you've been vindicated! :mrgreen:

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Hey Eric, you've been vindicated! :mrgreen:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 2:39 pm

Sydney Morning Herald

A quiet word to loud Americans
By Philip Sherwell
April 17, 2006

LOUD and brash, in gawdy garb and baseball caps, shuffling between tourist sites or preparing to negotiate a business deal, they bemoan the failings of the world outside the United States.

The reputation of the ugly American abroad is not just some cruel stereotype. Rather, says the United States Government, it is worryingly accurate.

Now the State Department in Washington has joined forces with US industry to plan an image makeover by issuing guides on how to behave for Americans travelling overseas.

Under a program starting next month, several big US companies will give employees going abroad a "world citizen's guide" featuring 16 etiquette tips on how they can help improve their country's battered international image.

Business for Diplomatic Action, a non-profit group funded by large US companies, has met State Department officials to discuss issuing the guide with every newly issued American passport. The guide offers a series of "simple suggestions" under the slogan, "Help your country while you travel for your company".

The guide advises Americans to not just talk but to listen; to discuss and argue but not to be didactic, and not to foist a US world view on others.

The head of Business for Diplomatic Action, Keith Reinhard, said: "Surveys consistently show that Americans are viewed as arrogant, insensitive, over-materialistic and ignorant about local values. That, in short, is the image of the ugly American abroad and we want to change it."

The guide also offers tips on the dangers of dressing too casually, and the pluses of learning a few words of the local language, using hand gestures and even map reading. Business for Diplomatic Action has distributed 200,000 passport-sized guides tailored to students.

Telegraph, London

RED ALERTS FOR TRAVEL

From the guidelines:
Think as big as you like but talk and act smaller In many countries, any form of boasting is considered very rude. Talking about wealth, power or status - corporate or personal - can create resentment.

Listen at least as much as you talk By all means, talk about America and your life in our country. But also ask people you're visiting about themselves and their way of life.

Save the lectures for your kids Whatever your subject of discussion, let it be a discussion not a lecture. Justified or not, the US is seen as imposing its will on the world.

Think a little locally Try to find a few topics that are important in the local popular culture. Remember, most people in the world have little or no interest in the World Series or the Super Bowl. What we call "soccer" is football everywhere else. And it's the most popular sport on the planet.

Slow down We talk fast, eat fast, move fast, live fast. Many cultures do not.

Speak lower and slower A loud voice is often perceived as bragging. A fast talker can be seen as aggressive.

Your religion is your religion and not necessarily theirs Religion is usually considered deeply personal, not a subject for public discussions.

If you talk politics, talk - don't argue Steer clear of arguments about American politics, even if someone is attacking US politicians or policies. Agree to disagree.


I notice a shorted version was also in the morning's ST as well.

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Postby tiki » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 2:46 pm

I had breakfast at a diner in Orlando. Told the waitress I prefer non-smoking section, she led me to a nice spot...

only thing, the smoking section was two tables away with no partition separating.

I told the waitress, it should've been 'passive' or 'active'.

But the eggs were good! ( I meant the ones on my plate ).
'If you feel alive
in a darkened room
Do you know the name
of your solitude..'

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Postby CardZeus » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 2:51 pm

Sweet, dude!
The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:13 pm

tiki wrote:I

But the eggs were good! ( I meant the ones on my plate ).


Diner breakfast's are the best, usually grease laden and great for hangovers or to help stave off one at 3:30 in the morning! Doesn't make much sense but I guess that's why all of us are obese in the US now! :mrgreen:

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Postby Kats_ » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:20 pm

I heard it too on the BBC yesterday in the morning or was it evening...

Anyways, I think they should also have a set of guidelines (not just when they are overseas but also, when at home) for them to go through, before they pick up their phones and make a call for techincal assistance while the call gets diverted to Asian countries..

I recently heard about the verbal abuse the Indian call center employees face. I can imagine one could get frustrated when the person on the other end speaks with another accent and you cant understand him/her but flaming them isnt the way to go.

Then again, the whole idea is silly (guidelines and all) - a bit of a joke to me; Just since there are "a few bad apples". (the usual excuse) :P

No, but seriously, I have met some really amazing Americans who get along just fine.
Last edited by Kats_ on Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:30 pm

Kats_ wrote:I recently heard about the verbal abuse some of the Indian call center employees face. I can imagine one could get frustrated when the person on the other end speaks with another accent and you cant understand him/her but flaming them isnt the way to go.


It's easy to lose patience with call centres no matter where they are located. Especially if they were outsourced and caused a lot of lost jobs as has happened in recent years in the US. Especially if you have to push 23 buttons to get a real person on the phone after 35 minutes or so of inane music or advertising about how good their service is. "Your call is important to us, please hold on.........." #-o ](*,)

Interesting enough, a number of very large organizations (banks) are moving their call centres back to the US in the past couple of years. Seems customer service needed to improve.

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Postby Kats_ » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:39 pm

Totally agree with you SMS.

I recently spent 30 minutes on phone with a budget airlines' customer service and never got to speak to a single person.

I guess if the budget's tight...the service is tight too :P
Last edited by Kats_ on Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Baron Greenback » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 3:40 pm

AHHHGGGHGHH I hate button pushing when I am on the phone. I tried to phone the tax people to ask a question & after 20 mins of pushing various buttons I got "sorry no-one can talk to you now, please try later....brrrrrrrr"

b@stards! if no one can talk to me it would be quicker if when I dialed it was engaged :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x

sorry rant over
"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools."
Hemingway

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Postby Plavt » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 4:30 pm

BG,
I like many others have suffered the same experience, all too often there is umpteen choices in the menu except the one appropriate to the question I have! A few companies in the UK are like the Americans moving their operations back here owing to the volume of complaints being recieved.


Plavt.
Last edited by Plavt on Tue, 18 Apr 2006 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Plavt » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 4:36 pm

Kats_ wrote:
I recently heard about the verbal abuse the Indian call center employees face. I can imagine one could get frustrated when the person on the other end speaks with another accent and you cant understand him/her but flaming them isnt the way to go.



Unfortunately that could be called a sore point all too often when I call Dell computers I have had similar experiences. Having told the technician the problem three times he then decides to say he cannot hear because 'the line is bad' in which case why did he not say it in the beginning? I am not sure I can accept such an excuse anymore coupled with having to repeat myself several times when I am in my own country makes me glad I rarely need to call them. This is of course and issue that should have been looked at properly before Michael Dell amongst others jumped on the 'bandwagon' of cheap labour.

Plavt.

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Postby Kats_ » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 4:44 pm

Plavt wrote: This is of course and issue that should have been looked at properly before Michael Dell amongst others jumped on the 'bandwagon' of cheap labour.



Absolutely! What a waste of resources! They should rather keep the brains to stick to research and development and not have them for customer service!

Miscommunication is such a common thing between cultures, and it can be irritating especially if it is in the service line!

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Postby dot dot dot » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 5:42 pm

Well, about loud Americans....

The irony of this article to me is the fact it is written for the Australian Sydney paper....

I think we all know how Aussies are being experienced and how they'd be defined when travelling around Asia?

Yes, indeed: Very loud :D

I have nothing against Americans! :P

Eric

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Re: Hey Eric, you've been vindicated! :mrgreen:

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 18 Apr 2006 6:27 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Sydney Morning Herald

A quiet word to loud Americans
By Philip Sherwell
April 17, 2006

LOUD and brash, in gawdy garb and baseball caps, shuffling between tourist sites or preparing to negotiate a business deal, they bemoan the failings of the world outside the United States.

The reputation of the ugly American abroad is not just some cruel stereotype. Rather, says the United States Government, it is worryingly accurate.

Now the State Department in Washington has joined forces with US industry to plan an image makeover by issuing guides on how to behave for Americans travelling overseas.

Under a program starting next month, several big US companies will give employees going abroad a "world citizen's guide" featuring 16 etiquette tips on how they can help improve their country's battered international image.

Business for Diplomatic Action, a non-profit group funded by large US companies, has met State Department officials to discuss issuing the guide with every newly issued American passport. The guide offers a series of "simple suggestions" under the slogan, "Help your country while you travel for your company".

The guide advises Americans to not just talk but to listen; to discuss and argue but not to be didactic, and not to foist a US world view on others.

The head of Business for Diplomatic Action, Keith Reinhard, said: "Surveys consistently show that Americans are viewed as arrogant, insensitive, over-materialistic and ignorant about local values. That, in short, is the image of the ugly American abroad and we want to change it."

The guide also offers tips on the dangers of dressing too casually, and the pluses of learning a few words of the local language, using hand gestures and even map reading. Business for Diplomatic Action has distributed 200,000 passport-sized guides tailored to students.

Telegraph, London

RED ALERTS FOR TRAVEL

From the guidelines:
Think as big as you like but talk and act smaller In many countries, any form of boasting is considered very rude. Talking about wealth, power or status - corporate or personal - can create resentment.

Listen at least as much as you talk By all means, talk about America and your life in our country. But also ask people you're visiting about themselves and their way of life.

Save the lectures for your kids Whatever your subject of discussion, let it be a discussion not a lecture. Justified or not, the US is seen as imposing its will on the world.

Think a little locally Try to find a few topics that are important in the local popular culture. Remember, most people in the world have little or no interest in the World Series or the Super Bowl. What we call "soccer" is football everywhere else. And it's the most popular sport on the planet.

Slow down We talk fast, eat fast, move fast, live fast. Many cultures do not.

Speak lower and slower A loud voice is often perceived as bragging. A fast talker can be seen as aggressive.

Your religion is your religion and not necessarily theirs Religion is usually considered deeply personal, not a subject for public discussions.

If you talk politics, talk - don't argue Steer clear of arguments about American politics, even if someone is attacking US politicians or policies. Agree to disagree.


I notice a shorted version was also in the morning's ST as well.


Maybe George Bush ought to read this.

Better yet, there should be one more item added to the list.

Never elect yahoos into the white house who violate all of the above, the proceed to lie, cheat, steal, maim, and kill, all in the name of "God". Remember, who would Jesus bomb?

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Re: Hey Eric, you've been vindicated! :mrgreen:

Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 19 Apr 2006 3:04 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Sydney Morning Herald


Listen at least as much as you talk


I like how Americans use language. They have style and are more diplomatic than Europeans and especially more so than Chinese. I think it is good if you don't want so much drama in your life. Stay tactful. In fact, there is a chinese proverb "huo cong ko chu". Literally it means most disasters come out of the mouth. Words are powerful and it is easy to say the wrong thing resulting in human conflicts and worse, physical wars.

I find that Americans looooooooooooooooove to talk. And I am not kidding. Actually, I am very chatty and gossipy, but only to people that I know for a very long time. However, I find that many Americans can easily engage in conversation with any strangers. I do admire their ease and verbal skills. But then, I also find they talk too much, sometimes. I dread to be in the presence of some because of their non-stop talking (nst). I actually have a nst friend (that I have to meet regularly related to childcare committment) and relative. It is nice to engage in chit-chat but like many things in life, moderation is key. Too much nst gives me a headache. I tend to be quiet in nature and this seems to aggravate the situation for the nst friend/relative will take it upon herself to fill the silence gap created by me with their nst. There were so many times that I wanted to hint to them and say "silence is golden" but refrain out of politeness.

Sorry but I just got to gripe :D .

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Postby Wham » Fri, 21 Apr 2006 1:50 pm

SMS - good one!

Earthfriendly, you remind me of a flight i took not to long ago from Newark to Nashville. I was seated next to a 6 foot 6 heavy set man that looked like Andy Griffith. I made the mistiake of asking him where to find the best pork barbacue in Nashville. THe next thing i new i got the 2 hour lecture on Pork Barbacue that was so loud that 1/2 the plance could hear. During pauses the Beef Barbacue was better - and why - and where etc. The point being that these people DID NOT KNOW HOW TO STOP. It was like the scene in Forest Gump when the guy starts talking about the 1001 ways to cook shrimp...

Anyway - BARBACUTIE was his favorite place - and i tried it - and it was pretty good.
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." Samuel Johnson


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