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The Intersection of Culture and Communications

For F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby, the Empire State Building stood “inexplicable as the Sphinx” in the shadows that blanketed New York during the Great Depression. For me, this iconic building stands as an important lesson for carefully navigating through the intersections of different organizations around the world.
When I first came to the U.S., I began periodic field trips to the Empire State Building when it was lighted up with gold and red to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. Little did I realize that I would one day be more intimately involved with this amazing building by serving as the local liaison between the Empire State Building, a client of our sister office in China. Quickly I came to realize that cultural permutations exist not only across nations, but also across organizations. From my experience, I have learned that a good PR professional is not only one who meets their deadlines and helps clients to achieve their communications goals, but it is also one who can serve as a wise translator when there are cultural barriers or misperceptions. Having a global presence as an agency doesn’t just mean you are able to translate words on a page. Rather it requires recognizing that often there are cultural, as well as organizational differences in the workplace that need to be factored in. Navigating cross-cultural communications can be challenging, and approaching cultural differences with sensitivity, openness, and curiosity for all parties involved can help to put everyone at ease. Like the sphinx that Fitzgerald referred to – cross-cultural communications requires both intuition and intelligence.

Denise Cui / Assistant Account Executive
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