Working With Americans: A Workshop for Asians

Working With Americans: A Workshop for Asians

It’s often remarked that, in face-to-face and virtual meetings with Americans and others from the West, Asians seem hesitant to share their ideas, and especially to voice dissenting opinions. In other ways, too, Asian cultural practices have the potential to create hurdles for otherwise capable and ambitious Asians in global corporations. They need to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues from the United States and many other backgrounds.


Communicating effectively within the global marketplace requires many Asians to learn a complementary set of skills. For example, they need to be able to make a convincing argument or presentation, deal with misunderstandings or disagreements, and give and receive feedback. Of course, these skills must be applicable when they’re doing business virtually, too.

GROVEWELL’s workshop explores barriers to communication within global virtual teams, and offers strategies, techniques, and skills for building relationships, trust, and productivity. The workshop especially addresses the hurdles often faced by Asian businesspeople, especially their tendency to withhold comments during meetings, and it provides opportunities for participants to practice effective complementary behaviors.

Participants leave with a greater understanding of American and other non-Asian colleagues’ styles of thinking and communicating, as well as how they can utilize their new understanding to improve relationships, increase effectiveness, reduce frustration, and have their ideas heard and considered by non-Asian colleagues. Via focused practice, participants are empowered with specific skills to improve their cross-cultural communication face-to-face, via e-mail, and by means of the telephone as well as Skype and other teleconferencing platforms.

The Learn More button to the right will bring you a timely response from GROVEWELL partner Cornelius Grove.


  • Challenges of communicating across cultures and time zones
  • Skills for maximizing the effectiveness of communication across cultures
  • Assertiveness skills: Succeeding in difficult conversations with non-Asians
  • Getting your voice heard: Speaking up at meetings and on conference calls
  • Building trusting, productive relationships among members of global virtual teams
  • Succeeding with challenging communications: dealing with mistakes, renegotiating time-lines, sharing bad news, handling disagreements, interacting with difficult people
  • Being persuasive and advancing convincing arguments across cultures
  • Seizing opportunities and advantages presented by virtual communication
  • Practicing global net-etiquette skills when using various media

Our Working with Americans workshop is filled with concrete, specific suggestions and practices for those who seek to be successful when communicating across cultures, especially Asians communicating with Americans. It can benefit…

  • those who interact regularly with foreign colleagues either face-to-face or virtually
  • those likely to be sent abroad for training, short-term assignments, or conferences


Joel Wallach & Gale Metcalf are GROVEWELL associates who have lived and worked in East and Southeast Asia for more than two decades. They have consulted with the U.S. government and more than 100 international companies on issues of preparing Americans and Asians to work effectively with each other and with others across the global workplace. During the 1990s, they co-authored Working with Americans: A Practical Guide to Business Success for Asian Managers, the first book ever to address intercultural business communication from the perspective of Asian businesspeople. Working with Americans was revised in 2008 and republished in Asia. Joel & Gale currently reside in Penang, Malaysia, where they consult regionally on cross-cultural management issues. For a much more extensive joint biography of this husband-wife team, click here.