Global Sensitivity Training: FAIL

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My brother-in-law, MD, is a consultant, a global traveler, and one of the most culturally sensitive guys I know.

When MD travels to another country, he plans for his trip like a research assistant who attends a highly prestigious and competitive graduate program. MD performs his due diligence to ensure that his behaviors, his words, and his attire are appropriately tailored to his audience. During a trip to Thailand, last year, MD ate a tremendous amount of local cuisine (including bugs) and wore a pink tie to honor the king.

I think the pink tie is clever and awesome. Products & services are important in the business world, but I wholeheartedly support ‘cultural sensitivity’ as a means of breaking barriers and opening up new business opportunities. Let’s face it: no one wants to do business with an asshole. It’s the little things — recognizing a holiday, appreciating local cuisine — that demonstrate your humanity and decency to a prospective client or business partner.

In the spirit of global sensitivity, I am sharing a link to the nine most devastating insults from around the world (as featured on Digg). These insults are things you don’t want to say — unless you are a jerk and you want to further embarrass America and its citizens.

Some of my favorite insults from the article are not on the top nine, but they leave a lasting impression.

  • You’re as thick as manure and only half as useful. – Ireland
  • You’re as ugly as a salad. – Bulgaria
  • You’re a girl who drives a truck. – Iceland
  • It’s not pretty watching a jackass try to eat a pomegranate. – Armenia
  • May your house be live on CNN. – Serbia

The Top Nine list on a Digg is a little more bawdy and direct, but it’s worth a look.

Consider this your punk rock HR training session: you don’t want to accidentally call someone an unclef**ker in Iceland, yo.

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