Cultural Competency with Authentic Dialogue – an Impossible Task?

Let me start looking at this broad subject from one small angle. As member of a core group of multinational pioneers for NACAD, I experience occasionally an uncomfortable feeling, when I simply do not get what we were just talking about. Not that I don’t understand the words. I don’t get the gist, or deeper meaning, the cultural nuance in the words just spoken.

With some previous education in mindfulness and a deep appreciation of my dialogue partners, in general I do feel at ease in these moments, yet my body still gives me clues: I am frowning, moving nervously on my chair, taking a deep breath.  I hear an inner voice talking to me, something along the lines of “So, you thought you were fluent in English, huh?!”. My breath gets shallow, I fiddle with my hair, I sigh.

Beoming aware of those signs, I learned to use them to get out of these uncomfortable situations. For example when ‘the Pleaser’ in me tries to convince me not to say anything and instead pretend to have understood, while ignoring the feeling of losing connection and becoming fragmented, I have learned to notice the bugger (“Here she is again!”).  Self-referencing these signals gives me tools to step back into the conversation.

I allow vulnerability while opening my heart and express what needs to be expressed. Why? Because our group has a mutual and intentional commitment of non-judgment and being in an exploratory, open, co-creative relationship. And this with two very individual Canadian men, and me as a German-born woman who has moved for the past 20 years all over the globe, and among the three of us, seemingly different religious affiliations.

We have agreed to be in a dynamic learning relationship, practicing inclusiveness and resilience based on the art of listening.  Sounds good, right?  Too good to be true?  The reality is pretty “normal”, we are still learning. Though challenging, it provides time and space to practice all these wonderful attributes of Authentic Dialogue (AD) – at least for me. As we are continuously networking, sharing our experiences and vision, there is a work in progress – learning by doing – and great potential to create more and more ripples in our community. We are learning and evolving AD as we go!

Perhaps you have some experiences in this field!  Is there a great story or perspective you want to share regarding some aspect of AD ?   This blog is an ideal platform to explore and write about it. We are interested in how Authentic Dialogue can improve:

• understanding of behaviours in a cultural context

• active listening with a global mindset and enhanced perception

• developing a broader social intelligence leading to mutual commitment

• practicing inclusiveness despite disagreements

Looking forward to reading your contribution to this exciting project.

   – Bettina      

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Cultural Competency with Authentic Dialogue – an Impossible Task?

  1. bbcasimir says:

    Though as author, I am commenting today with the intention to invite you, our friends of NACAD, and those who are interested in authentic dialogue, to contribute with your blog article or comments. Exploring authenticity in dialogue can be a creative process – and inspires meaningful processes and new contacts amongst like minded people all over the world. Thank you and have fun!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s