Once again, I’ve enjoyed a very warm welcome here in Dubai. My workshop included 16 communicators from the region, with varying degrees of experience and capability. All were very participatory, had great stories to share and are experiencing the very same challenges communicators in other parts of the world experience.

It was interesting to hear from several participants that communicators from the U.S. are considered more capable, yet companies in the area tend to hire those from the UK because of proximity. This definitely seems to be the preference in consultants as well. The time difference and travel are considered barriers to getting U.S. communicators engaged in supporting the community.

Most, however, are very interested in networking. They want to reach out to each other and communicators outside the region to learn and improve. This bodes well for organizations such as IABC getting a foot in the door.

Final comment for now was an interesting revelation about highlighting differences in nationality. In the U.S., we tend to be very sensitive to nationality or ethnicity and will go out of our way to not gather the data nor draw attention to such differences. Here, they view the differences as key to how they communicate. Not just from a language perspective, but also a cultural perspective. So, different segments of employees may be reached in different ways depending upon their nationality. It was an important learning for me – another example of how Americans need to let go of even the smallest assumptions.