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San Francisco Chronicle
PCBC at Moscone Center
Money talks, so builders listen to the experts
They learn that Chinese and Asian Indian home buyers prize harmony over hard sell.

Shake hands gently. Make minimal eye contact. And never, ever say, "No." What could entice the average American to do business this way?

Money, of course. And so a group of cultural experts from Pleasanton adeptly wielded that weapon at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco this week at "Embracing the Buying Power of Ethnic Homebuyers," a seminar about building homes and business with the Chinese and with Asian Indians...
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You Say Tomato

In dealing with foreigners, Americans sometimes come across as intrusive, manipulative and garrulous. This can get partnerships off to a bad start.

In negotiating with foreign business people, small things matter. During seemingly endless negotiations with the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI), Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing's (nyse: MMM - news - people) (3M) Harry Heltzer and a few of his colleagues...
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Intel's Internal Approach

Unlike other large corporations such as Procter & Gamble and IBM that are sending willing employees to foreign language training programs at outside schools on a one-by-one basis, Intel is testing the waters of developing a more comprehensive course in-house. Despite the popular thinking that foreign-language training for Americans is expensive and unnecessary because...
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Mountain View Masala

High-tech firms are turning to Indian cultural training to boost performance.

Last August, Intel software manager Connie Martin arrived for work and received a new identity. She was handed some fake rupees and a nametag that read "Rekha Gupta," and was told that she now hailed from a northern Indian trading family. For the next eight hours, she hit the books, studying the subtle dietary differences between Jainism and Hinduism, Indian political history, and Bollywood movies. At the end of the day, she was given a test on it all, which she aced. "I can even tell you how things changed under British rule in the 1800s," she says...
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San Francisco Chronicle
The culture of home sales
Builders and real estate agents get lessons in diversity

Manoj Mathai's hunt for his first house could be a lesson to Silicon Valley real estate professionals.A home must have certain qualities to make the native of India happy:

The front door must face east, because good fortune comes from a rising sun. The master bedroom should be in the southeast corner of the home, because many Indians believe that's where wealth resides. The kitchen needs to be spacious and well-ventilated to accommodate many family gatherings featuring homemade masala, a pungent blend of spices...
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Charis is a Pioneer in Globalization of Business

When the Tri-Valley's ground-breaking businesses are discussed, it's usually the area's high-tech firms that are mentioned. There's another industry which has a pioneer in the park, however, and that industry is intercultural consulting.|

"I started in this business 20 years ago and people would ask me, 'What do you do? Translations?,'" explains Marian Stetson-Rodriguez, founder and president of Charis Intercultural Training Corp. "Now there are master's degree programs in intercultural communication at a number of universities, but it's still an emerging field."

The idea behind intercultural communication is to recognize behaviors, instilled by living in a particular culture, that can be misinterpreted when communicating to someone outside that...
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