Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working with Indians Revised Edition, Kindle Edition
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In general, I do agree with much of what has been written in the book, so if you are planing to do business with an Indian, read it. The one area that I do take some issue with, is the power distance one. While I agree that the power distance in India is higher than that of the Europeans, for instance, it is not that low in Europe as is seen to be. I have worked with the Dutch, and while they are vocal in sharing their opinions and their disagreements, the power distance is much more subtle than it appears from superficial appearances. They like to be 'the boss', as much as an Indian, and they like to be seen to be the boss as well.
Second, where I see a difference, is that the younger generation of Indians is much more expressive than my generation. India is in transition, and this is something that has not been factored into the book. This is understandable.
All in all, read the book, and you will learn something of urban India's professional class of people
Craig Storti comes to the rescue in a quick, yet comprehensive, read. I kept this book with in my laptop case to read a chapter whenever I had a free moment. I was able to absorb the content, even in short reading sessions. I found the introduction of the book helpful in expressing the crucial importance of cross-cultural communication in today's business world.
There are many features that set this book apart from others in its category. I really appreciated the scripted examples of conversations between an Indian and a Westerner that are included with the chapters. These examples really helped to make a connection in my mind between the lesson of the text and real world application. Storti points out the missteps in each of the example conversations, and how it could have been prevented. The extensive section of the book devoted singly to the "Indian Yes" and other agreements is especially invaluable and a must to any Western individual seeking to prevent the biggest road-block for Westerners in Indian communication. Non-verbal communication is also included, seasoned with rich content regarding cultural and familial backgrounds which create the foundation of differences in our communication styles, both of which give a comprehensive understanding.
The end of chapter summaries give you the necessary points for your own comprehension check and review.
I recommend this book specifically for Canadians, Americans, British, and Western Europeans working with East Indians in the business world. Although the book is written in a business context, teachers, volunteers, and vacation travelers would also benefit from the communication elements of this book, for a richer experience in India.
I shared this book with some Indian colleagues here in the US, who are quite Western. They found the book quite humorous, but said the accuracy and truth of it all is right on. Speaking of India has expanded my cultural understanding, and the effectiveness of my communicational understanding, with both East Indians here as "Westernized" long-time Americans, and Indians completely outside of my Western-centric experience.
As with any generalization, one must be careful as these guidelines may not absolutely be true for all the people you interact with in India. India is a large country with a great deal of diversity, so I would only use these guidelines to make yourself aware that there may be a different meaning to what is being said that what you intuitively think is being said.
The book was also helpful for me to understand how my communication and behavior might be interpreted by my colleagues in India, something I had not previously spent a lot of time thinking about. Some of the activities I was asking the team to undertake may have been particularly difficult for them given some of the cultural differences. At the least, there was probably more prep work I needed to do if I wanted them to contribute successfully to such activities.
This book was definitely worth the time I invested to read it. I believe it has helped me better communicate with my colleagues in India.