• When in Rome . . . .

    MANAGEMENT AND TRAINER BRIEF

    Well you know what they say. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ Rome is a city full of surprises. And the surprises can be both fascinating and frustrating.

    The car from Fiumicino (the international airport) to Via Nomentana, HQ of the university where I’m teaching needs to go through the centre of the city. Suddenly, you are in the Piazza Venezia in front of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele 11, the first king of a United Italy. Then out towards the North again.

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  • Rome Cuisine and Culture

    AUGURI e BUON ANO DI ROMA

    Happy New Year, everyone! We’re in Rome in the Hotel Locarno off the Piazza del Popolo. It’s a retro hotel. Everything is intentionally old-fashioned , especially the lift!

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  • English Teachers In France Turn Out For Paris Tesol

    TRAINER BRIEF

    There’s a certain douceur in Paris on an early Sunday morning. It’s November and it’s not warm but there’s a soft light in the square and just a few people going about early morning business – church, baguettes from the bakery or coffee in the local café. Nice!

    About 350 teachers turned up from all over France and beyond to listen to lectures and attend workshops on English language teaching. My session was on the key fears French managers have – dealing with us native speakers!

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  • Besig Prague - New ideas

    TRAINER AND MANAGEMENT BRIEFING

    Another great BESIG (Business English Special Interest Group) conference, this time in Prague, Czech Republic. 400 teachers and trainers from all over the world presenting and exchanging business training ideas and methods. It was great to meet old friends and make new ones . You can download my presentations by going to DOWNLOADS.

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  • Diplomatic Gifts - Triumphs and Disasters

    MANAGEMENT BRIEF

    Laaocoon, a priest of ancient Troy had it right when he warned King Priam, ‘I fear the Greeks even when bearing gifts.’, The gift in question was a huge wooden horse left outside the city by the ancient Greek besiegers, who then withdrew to a convenient distance. According to Homer’s Iliad, Priam saw the horse as tribute. After all, the horse was a symbol of Troy, wasn’t it? So he had the wooden horse pulled inside. Overnight the Greek soldiers hidden inside the horse climbed out, opened the gates to Odysseus and his warriors and the rest is archaeology. Troy was destroyed but the idea survived. A Trojan horse is a gift with a weapon hidden inside.

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  • Don’t Let Diplomacy Fail

    MANAGEMENT AND TRAINER BRIEF

    This week on behalf of the London Academy of Diplomacy at UEA I attended a seminar organised by the Global Diplomacy Forum at the House of Commons and addressed by a number of UK and international VIPs. Here’s the summary.

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  • 'Cross-Cultural Communication' Book Launch

    A new book 'Cross-Cultural Communication', written by Brian Hurn and Barry Tomalin, was formally launched at Kings College London on October 9th. This well attended event attracted business leaders and top academics from a range of disciplines.

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  • Tapping Into The Supply Chain

    MANAGEMENT AND TRAINER BRIEF

    Interesting conversation with a government agency last week. The key problem for SME’s (small and medium size enterprises) is how to tap into the supply chain of an overseas company. The supply chain, in case you are not familiar with the term, is the process by which a product or service makes its way from supplier to client. At home, it’s a difficult enough process but how do you do it at an international level? Here are a few pointers.

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  • Hard Power or Soft Power - Can The British Bulldog Still Bark?

    TRAINER AND TEACHER BRIEF

    The British parliament recently rejected a government proposal to explore military action in Syria. The action proposed was in response to a chemical weapons attack, allegedly carried out by the Syrian military against rebel soldiers and civilians. The reaction was partly due to the ‘dark shadow of Iraq’ when Britain went to war in 2003 on the basis of faulty intelligence.

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  • Breaking the Authority Barrier

    MANAGEMENT AND TRAINER BLOG

    Managers used to MBO (Management by objectives), with delegated levels of responsibility, and defined budgets often have difficulty dealing with top down authority markets. This is not a question of an individual autocratic manager imposing his or her will. We are all familiar with that. It’s a situation where the system itself demands loyalty and respect and obedience to senior figures in authority. Where you encounter this in international business success demands an international approach.

    What are the problems and how do you resolve them?

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