Launched this month by a non-profit group concerned about mounting anti-Americanism worldwide, the "World Citizens Guide" has 16 [count'em, 16!] suggestions designed to change the behavior of corporate America overseas.
The tips in the booklet, to be distributed to executives at major companies such as McDonald's, the Loews hotel chain and the software firm Novell, include:
- "Be proud of the American way, but remember it's not the only way";
- "Listen at least as much as you talk";
- "Save the lecture for your kids";
- "Speak lower and slower";
- "Think as big as you like, but talk and act smaller"; and
- "Dress up -- you can always strip down."
Keith Reinhard, founder of Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), the non-profit group that created the pamphlet, said he hopes it will play a small part in reshaping the negative perception of Americans worldwide.
"While we are still admired for what people describe as our youthful enthusiasm, optimism and can-do spirit, we are seen as loud, arrogant and completely ignorant of cultures outside the US," Reinhard, who is chairman emeritus of the advertising firm DDB Worldwide, told AFP.
In any case, a visit to the WCG site is certainly rewarding. It includes a page where you may learn a fun fact about each of 118 countries you're likely to visit. These include such indispensible gems as:
- "If someone in Poland blinks both eyes at you, they may be expressing romantic interest."
- "In general, the rural homes in Namibia do not have telephones."
- "Most all of the young people wear eyeglasses in Taiwan."
- "When you want to greet someone in Tibet, simply stick out your tongue."
- "In Singapore, conforming to social norms is expected and often is legally enforced. On a lighter note, water sports are very popular."
— Larry, Attack Monkey, Light Reading