Knowing When to Shut Up 



Read the article and decide if the sentences below are true or false:




1. The author started the session without any preparation.


2. The author started the session without considering Chen’s input.


3. Chen showed clear body language signals during the presentation.


4. Chen unwillingly presented his prepared notes to the clients.


5. Bo Chen was well -spoken.


6. The cultural underpinnings of the misunderstanding remained unclear to the author.


7. The author is not willing to adapt to different cultural expectations.



Key: 1F; 2F; 3F; 4F; 5T; 6F; 7F



  • minefield – a situation in which there are a lot of dangers and difficulties, and it is difficult to make the right decision
  • to blow yourself up – to truly  understand the cultural differences, one may need to metaphorically “blow up” or dismantle their existing preconceptions, let go of one’s ingrained notions and undergo a paradigm shift in perspective
  • full-fledged – fully developed; total
  • pertinent – having a clear decisive relevance to the matter in hand
  • to engrain – (a variant spelling of ingrain) to establish something such as a belief so firmly that it is not likely to change
  • underpinning – the basic structure of something
  • glaringly – wrong, in a way that is very obvious



Practice makes perfect

Complete the gaps in the article with the words in bold below:


humility              crucial                     missteps                     reach out                   adapt

lead                    standstill                    accountable               genuinely                        come across


How to Successfully Manage Conflict Across Cultures

Ted and his team had reached a crisis point. Ted is a senior leader with a global company. His team had been collaborating cross-functionally on a project with another team, but the project had come to a 1. ……… . The relationship between both teams had broken down, to the point of non-communication, with a string of unanswered emails and phone calls.

The fact that the team is in Japan is not a trivial detail — in fact, the relationship had broken down precisely because Ted had been ignoring this 2. ………. fact.

Ted and his team had been approaching the conflict with an American lens, following the guidelines of their own cultural norms and standards. This had caused 3. ………. they were unaware of. 

Repairing the relationship would require Ted to 4. …… his behavior. I encouraged him to begin with an apology. In Japanese culture, saying “I’m sorry,” even in professional contexts, demonstrates 5. ……. and respect. It says, “I’m sorry this situation has caused you inconvenience and emotional distress.” (…)

I encouraged him to 6. ……. enter the other team’s world and tap into the empathy he needs to understand their challenges. He realized he would have to 7. ……… and, with humility, extend an apology and show appreciation for the other team’s work. (…)

Engaging in a new behavior can create inner conflict. You can reduce that conflict by personally customizing your reasons (…). By creating deeper, personal reasons for your behavior, you help make sure your words and actions 8. …….. as sincere and authentic. Focusing on the greater good can help, too. 9. ……… by example and demonstrate these new behaviors in your words and interactions with other teams, encourage team members to do the same, and hold each other 10. ………… .


Key: 1. standstill; 2. crucial; 3. missteps; 4. adapt; 5. humility; 6. genuinely; 7. reach out; 8. come across; 9.lead; 10. accountable

In order to read the whole article, go to: https://www.inc.com/maya-hu-chan/how-to-successfully-manage-conflict-across-cultures.html


Match antonyms:


1.     articulate


2.     knowledgeable

b) delight

3.     facilitate

c) dignified

4.     embarrass

f) doubtful

      5. dismay

e) unintelligible

      6. pertinent

f) comfort

      7. genuine

g) irrelevant

      8. humiliating

h) uninformed


Key: 1.e; 2h; 3a); 4f); 5b); 6g); 7f); 8c)



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