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Interconnected conversations 2A society without the dreams of children stops having a future.

We are more interconnected than ever. We are on social media, connected through data and artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, podcasts, 24-hour news, trade agreements (regardless of how they’re changing), global travel opportunities.

We are more connected across the world but also more polarized than ever. We have different views on data privacy, regulation, nationalism, trade, corruption and even family relationships.

Needless for me to say is I find value in incorporating a global mindset and quantum negotiation not only in our professional but also personal lives. The critical questions are why and how.

It may be best to start as simple as possible. Does something matter to you at a very deep level? So much that it feels almost paralyzing not to be in touch with the matter? Why does this matter to you so much? Do you need others to help you explore this matter?

Something that matters to me very much is the need not to have active shooter drills in schools anymore. A rather local matter but one that sadly has globalizing applicability and can benefit from the experiences of diverse societies and communities. So, I share this here on this global platform.

I do not only want to see students, teachers, school administrators not get killed. I want our children to live in a world where they feel safe in a school environment again. Why? The school is the place where our children’s dreams get their wings, where they gain confidence, where their dreams are born. A society without the dreams of children stops having a future. Our children deserve better, our society deserves better.

How am I however going to ever resolve my matter? I can’t make it happen on my own. “We need to eliminate the guns or we need to improve the mental health of our society” are two thoughts our society articulates. Both thoughts make sense. What can I personally do to improve the situation? My matter needs attention. Twenty years have passed since the Columbine shooting. Almost a dozen deadly mass school shootings since then and hundreds of others we haven’t heard about because of fewer casualties or events that derailed even my attention from my important matter. The guns are still here. Reports on increased insomnia, depression, loneliness, violent behavior and suicide rates are frequent topics in the news and routine medical surveys.

My question remains unresolved. How can I have a peace of mind again? Well…I don’t know if I am asking the right question here. Who would not want to have a peace of mind again? Who would not want their children to go to a school where there is absolutely no need for active shooter drills? Doesn’t it seem like we have more in common than not? Data shows. Most Americans support some sort of enhanced gun control reform. Many don’t see the need for weapons of war in civil use. As a matter of fact, this is frightening.

We still cannot stop the need for active shooter drills in our schools. Why? Could it be because we wait? We wait for the conversations to take place. We wait because we feel powerless without a political answer to this question. We wait. Another tragedy. And we wait. My matter is not only critical.   Researchers say it is an epidemic. It is an epidemic. It needs an urgent resolution. Why do we wait?

There is no reason why we should not have some crucial conversations more often. Is there? We are the people. We are affected. Our children need to endure the active shooter drills because we hope that they will be safe in a tragedy or we are told that this will reduce risk. Our children are affected. They endure the active shooter drills thinking this is the way it needs to be, hoping that they are ready for the moment, or that the moment may never come. They adapt. They have hope. They are children. Do they adapt? Do they have hope? We are affected. Data shows. Mental health challenges are not confined to the world of adults anymore. I am deeply saddened, puzzled and honestly, ashamed when my children report about their active shooter drill. How do you feel when your children or grandchildren tell you about their experience? Do they tell? And…will they grow up thinking violence is acceptable…at least in some cases/situations?

Why not start more crucial conversations “now”? Why not start to make a personal difference every month, every week, every day? I realize I’m getting emotional about this. I need to be aware. There is the question about who is right. There is the issue of trust. I need to take a deep breath. I need to go for a walk. I need to connect with the universe. Who can I start a conversation with? Who will not be offended? Whom can I ask for forgiveness?

Who would not want to have a peace of mind? Can we start by just breathing together? Can we mention our needs to each other? Can we look eye to eye and realize how difficult it is to talk about our peace of mind about this matter or any other matter? Can we go for a walk or to a movie together to start talking? Can we overcome any sense of fear together? Why not?

We are affected together, and we are more connected than we think. Data shows. Here we are reflecting together. Yet we need to remember that we need to make a small effort to start conversations.

Let the year of 2020 be the year of more conversations with our fellow people and our children.  Happy New Year.  Let’s start working on some crucial conversations “now” in our families, apartment buildings, cafes, communities, over Skype, Zoom or other means, on our way towards our common goal – a peace of mind, a shared peace of mind.

Note: Contact us to talk more about the Global Mindset® and Quantum Negotiation™ or discuss another matter.

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Progression of man mankind from ancient to modern

Better late than not was our motto for the first Culture Curious Global Minds article of 2019, and we wish health, happiness and peace in the new year. 

Before you continue reading, here are the two reasons for this delay: we’re late in writing because one, 2018 left us with some new cultural awareness. We counted at least seven different ways to ask “why” in German: warum, weshalb, wieso, weswegen, wofür, wozu and aus welchem Grund. Two, we were able to dive into exploring this further with Bruce Burnside, a PhD candidate in Anthropology and Education, Columbia University with much research in Germany and Turkey.

Bruce said it’s only fitting for a word with such potential. And I say please read on because in our interconnected (shared) day-an-age which will go into history as the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, anthropological curiosity is the one key (must-do) citizen and business activity that will lead to not only exponential innovation but to exponential shared prosperity, health, competitive (free) thinking and peace.

While we only have the one “why” in English, we would do well if we remembered that our one word can be nuanced in many ways and produce many diferent kinds of results. 

“Why” is a powerful word. As parents we know it can be a key tool for our children to learn about the world around them. They learn that there is a reason to wait at a stoplight, give a hug or to eat spinach. And slowly, they stop asking this question for learned reasoning and utilize it for new learning.

Adults also realize the limits of “why”. We come to know that there are many, many things without obvious reasons. So, we utilize the question to understand and clarify. Sometimes, we ask “why” as an attack and prod for answers with force. We also know that there are times when we cannot ask why or only in certain ways. In front of a stern boss, we may feel we have no place to question a command. Pulled over by a police officer, we may only timidly question the reason.

“Why”, despite being part of our everyday lives, is a word that is worth getting reacquainted with, for it can open new worlds to us, including a reopening of our own.

A cultural anthropologist uses the word in a similar way to a child when studying a society different from her own. After all, the anthropologist may be learning the local language for the first time, as well as the customs, mores and rites of that society. Things that are so common and everyday, and which seem obvious to its members, become key ways to understand a culture. The anthropologist will ask “why” about the simplest things from why people eat this food but not that one, to why they sit at a family gathering in one order and not another or why they call upon divine help in this instance but not that one. She also knows that people often have never had the need to articulate these reasons, and may not always know/remember them. This “why” is not the demanding why of an inquisitor, but is instead asked in an open and curious manner, and commonly followed up with “Tell me more about that.”

This open-ended questioning can lead to an exploration by both parties into reasons or (or lack of reasons) that shape our everyday lives. There is also a curious effect for the anthropologist. Confronted with different ways of doing and being human, she may for the first time turn the questions on her own culture. Why do we do this and not that? There are things that may have seemed like universal truths, but are suddenly challenged by her new observations. The anthropologist Margaret Mead, in her first fieldwork in Samoa in the 1920s learned that this South Sea Pacific society did not have a concept of the angsty, rebellious teenager. There, teenagers were calm, relaxed and contented. Mead was forced to ask herself if the “typical” teenagers at home and their problems were not just the result of passage through a “natural” phase, but instead, a product of American society. New “whys” emerged: Why do we assume some things are “just the way they are”? What if new skeptical evidence allows us to learn that things do not have to be one way. What might we do differently?

Anthropology is the science of human beings.  As technology becomes a much bigger part of the human life and the business world, and as a not only welcome but also forced collaboration/sharing of information/goods/services/equity increase we see the value proposition of the anthropologist re-emerge. Stay tuned for more thoughts and expertise from Bruce Burnside and anthropologist colleagues.  Thank you, Bruce for your first contribution on the Culture Curious Global Minds Blog and we look forward to hearing much more from you.  “Please tell us more about that!”

Bruce BurnsideBruce Burnside can be reached at

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StockPhoto 1 - Sugar and CoffeeAn executive expressed her discomfort during a lunch hour with a colleague from a different culture recently. This is the moment that can make you hold your breath, describe your experience vividly to colleagues, friends and family, and think if you could go through a similar experience again.





Here are other experiences that get mentioned:

  • I really need to get used to this food if I am to have more dinner meetings like this.
  • She was waiving around with the knife (in her right hand) when she got excited during the meal.
  • One must dress rather formal to these events.
  • There was not enough time to eat and get to know each other.
  • He kept putting his shoe right at my face.
  • He talks so loud that the entire room can hear.
  • They share their personal lives on the company social media site.
  • Traffic was awful.
  • The buildings feel so tall.
  • I don’t know if I can work in this open work space environment.
  • How can I get used to this kissing in business encounters.
  • They don’t use deodorant here.


Can you think of similar experiences from your life and how do you manage these situations?

Last week we mentioned the importance of strategic networking. These situations are experiences that can present themselves during networking. They don’t sound very fun. Yet with a shift in your mindset, they can turn into very enriching experiences:

Let yourself be surprised. Are you possibly limiting yourself by judging situations according to your own culture? You may be missing out on the surprise effect of international networking. Make sure to have a very open mind about international/multicultural encounters. These encounters actually help develop a rich repertoire of expressions and behavior. We can let ourselves be surprised by novelty. There is a chance you will enjoy adopting the unfamiliar behavior to your global business repertoire once you get to know the person or understand the situation more.

Identify the fun. Dive into the awareness world. What don’t you like in the situation and why does the situation present itself? Is there anything positive you can focus on such as the enthusiasm of the other person?

Communicate effectively. Let’s assume that trust exists but there is something that bothers you in a situation. You may choose to say this very clearly as in “Could you please speak quietly” or you may like to deliver your message via a story as in “ When I was in this country the custom was to kiss on the cheeks multiple times. I tend to greet with a hand shake. What are the different ways you like to greet?” The right type of approach will depend on your analysis of the situation, if a cultural adaptation is needed and your level of comfort.

“Recognize, Respect and Reconcile”, the approach recommended by Fons Trompenaars goes a long way in international/multicultural interactions. Reconciliation can also be seen as a negotiation process to resolve a conflict.

How do you find joy in unexpected business encounters and turning them into productive experiences? Please share.

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For ATC Webinar Series_5A key component of networking strategically when networking internationally is cultural awareness. Cultural awareness impacts “with whom” and “how” business professionals need to network to succeed in their international endeavors. According to the Global Mindset® research, building networks across cultures and with influential individuals is a key global leadership attribute that helps build trust across cultures.





Below are tips for four strategic areas that will help you enjoy building your productive international relationships.

Self-awareness: Ask yourself if you feel good at networking in your home country. How do you measure success? What would you recommend others if they needed advice about how to build strong networks in your country? Then, notice how some key shared beliefs and values, in other words the culture, in your country influence this advice. Let this then trigger your curiosity about how networks are built in other countries.

The role of culture in building trust: Considering some measurable outcomes of networking are gaining critical information and new relationships, understanding the role of culture in building trust will help you increase the effectiveness of your networking.

Culture impacts the process in multiple ways. One, it impacts “whom to network with.” Studying the work of thought leaders like Geert Hofstede or utilizing tools like GlobeSmart give great insight into the key aspects of cultures that affect business practices including relationship building. Why for instance may it be possible to build immediate relationships at a networking event in one country and why introductions are crucial in another? Two, it impacts “how to network.” While the information above will also shed light on how to network across cultures another great resource is The Culture Map, a book authored by Erin Meyer, where she differentiates between cognitive Vs. affective trust building.

Networking with cultural awareness will help you connect emotionally and develop productive relationships when the networking activity takes place.

Networking goals across cultures: There is much overlap between setting goals in a homogeneous culture and heterogeneous culture situations. However, it is important to keep in mind that networking across cultures can take more or less time than in networking situations you may be used to. There may also be long standing or temporary adverse outlooks on your business topic or country of origin. Mutual understanding and respect go a long way. Discuss networking in a specific culture with other more experienced professionals. Experience exchange is a great way of learning and a great practice for future networking.

Influential contacts and organizations: Start with people you already know. Put your cultural awareness into action, and decide whom or which organizations you need to network with, and how. Keep in mind that organizations that may be recommended for networking can include national and local governments you are not used to liaising with in your home country. Last but not least, mutually helpful discussions are best for productive relationships.

Once you have prepared yourself mentally and emotionally for communicating across cultures, “practiced” different communication approaches (yes, especially in-person networking can benefit greatly from practice), set your networking goals, identified your key networks and set aside networking time on your schedule start networking away and enjoy networking across cultures. This is one of the activities that will move you closer to your business goals.

Stay tuned for more networking insights from experts and professionals working in the international/global field in the near future.

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03A38153In my graduate classes and in and my private practice, students and clients often remark on how confident their colleagues or fellow students appear when they are participating in group discussions. They feel a ‘confidence gap’ in their own speaking and many fear they will never aspire to the same level as their U.S. counterparts.

Participating in a group discussion in your target language, especially one that is dominated by native speakers, is an extremely complex and often challenging task. However, if you are only listening and refraining from contributing to the discussion out of fear of making mistakes or having people judge your speaking ability, the others who are present will never benefit from your experience, insight, perspective or ideas. How can you close the ‘confidence gap’?

Non-native English speakers can feel insecure about speaking for many reasons, but regardless of individual challenges, there is one technical skill everyone can master to boost their command over any conversation and raise their confidence in the process. The “secret sauce” for effectively and confidently participating in group conversations in English is the use of discourse markers. Discourse markers are the signposts in any conversation. They send signals to the others speakers such as “I am about to interrupt”, “I want to add to an idea already presented”, “I do indeed understand what you just said”, “Get ready because I am going to respectfully disagree with you”, and “I don’t believe it!”, among many other functions. They are function words and phrases that do not necessarily contain meaning on their own, so looking them up in a bilingual dictionary or typing them into Google translate probably won’t help you understand how to use them. This is one of the reasons why many highly advanced speakers of English still lack appropriate command of discourse markers. As a result, their interruptions and signals in group discussions can sound awkward or unsophisticated — for example, using “please” to interrupt in all circumstances, or saying a plain “No” or “I don’t agree”, which can sound too direct or rude when something like “Perhaps we should consider . . .” would be more likely to win people over to your idea. Intuitive knowledge and use of these phrases give native English speakers an advantage in any conversation, so you should commit to learning and using them if you wish to be a full participant.

If you want to introduce these phrases into your vocabulary and strengthen your command while speaking, you should learn at least two or three phrases for common functions such as organizing your speech, responding, changing the topic, rephrasing, and interrupting. Then put them into practice in all your conversations. At first this may feel unnatural, like you are an actor performing lines, but experiencing how they contribute to the flow of natural conversation should encourage you to keep trying until they feel more natural and you feel more confident using them. For an example of discourse markers in action, see this BBC Masterclass YouTube series. Good luck!

Blog by Julie Yoder, Founder/Lead Instructor, The English Teacher Collective

Julie Yoder PhotoThe English Teacher Collective is an English language instruction company that identifies the individual challenges of international professionals and their families and creates customized courses and programs to meet them in Washington, DC and online.


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Kahve Arası – Nestlé’nin Damak Çikolatası

Merhaba. Haftalık “Kahve Arası” buluşmamıza hoşgeldiniz. Bu hafta 2015/2016 Noel döneminde yaşadığım güzel bir anıdan bahsetmek istiyorum.

Yorucu bir gün sonrası bir akşam alışverişi için kendimi Harris Teeter mağazasına attığımı hatırlıyorum.  Artık son kalan enerjimle kasayı da geçtikten sonra arabama yönelirken güzel bir sürpriz beni bekliyormuş meğer.  Göz ucuyla gördüğüm çocukluğumuzun en değerli çikolatalarından biri olan Damak çikolatası mavi paketiyle bütün diğer Noel şekerlemelerinin arasından bir anda beni Türkiye’ye götürdü.  Gözlerime inanamadım.  İlk iş arkadaşlarla ve de American Turkish Council (ATC)’in enerjik başkanı Howard Beasey ile bir mesaj trafiğine dalarak sakinleştim.  Bu yılbaşında en çok verdiğim hediyeyi tahmin edebilirsiniz artık…

Damak Çikolatası birçok yayında dünyanın ilk Antep fıstıklı çikolatası olarak geçiyor ki başka fıstıklı çikolataya nadir rastlıyoruz.  Damak ilk Türkiye’de üretildi ve de Amerikan pazarına bir yenilik, bir çeşni sunmuş oldu.

Bugün yayınladığım bir diğer yazıda yeni pazarlara girişin bir inovasyon olarak düşünüldüğünde pazara giren firmaya başarı şansı yüksek olan bir yaklaşım sunduğunu yazdım: “Market Entry, a Global Innovation”. Bu yaklaşım iyi bir stratejik müşteri analizi gerektiriyor.  Stratejik müşteriyi ürünü veya hizmeti tekrar tekrar kullanacak müşteri olarak tanımlayabiliriz.   Bu müşteri Türkiye’deki müşterilerden çok farklı özelliklere sahip olabilir.  Dolayısıyla örneğin Amerikan pazarına Türkiye’deki müşteri varsayımlarınızla girerseniz başarılı olamayabilirsiniz.  Herşeyden önce kültürel farklar müşterilerin karar verme mekanizmalarını etkileyecektir.  Fakat bir iki aylık bir çalışmayla buradaki müşterilerinizi ve işinizi destekleyecek stratejik ortakları tanımanız mümkün olacaktır.

Araştırmalar inovasyonun artık global kaynaklardan gelmekte olduğunu gösteriyor. ‘Leading across Borders’ isimli kitap inosvasyon konusunda şu dört gözlemi yapmış:

  • Ürünlere yapılan müşteri odaklı küçük çapta yenilikler ileride çok etkin sonuçlara yol açabilirler. Bu yeniliğin sadece ürün geliştirilmesinde yapılmış olması da gerekli değildir. İş modelinde yapılan bir yenilik de başarıyı getirebilir. Türkiye’nin dünyaya açtığı üstün sağlık hizmetlerini ihtiyacı olan kişilere kültürel bir tecrübe çerçevesinde sunuyor olması Türkiye’ye ve de dünyaya yeni bir avantaj sağlamış bulunmaktadır.
  • Gelişen ülkelerde yapılan yenilikler gelişmiş/olgunlaşmış pazarlara yenilik getirebilirler. Teknoparklarda kurulmuş dinamik düşünceli firmaların ürün ve markalarını ABD pazarına bekliyoruz.
  • Global firmaların yerel kuruluşları yerel müşterilere göre yaptıkları yeniliklerle global bir yeniliği yaratabilirler. Damak çikolatasını aramızda görmek çok güzel oldu.
  • Etkin ürün ve hizmet yeniliği genelde sosyal yenilikle alakalı olmaktadır. Mavi Jeans’in Mısır’da uyguladığı eski jeansin bağışlanmasına karşın %30 indirim kuponu vermesi dikkat çekmektedir.


Amerikan gıda sektöründe Damak çikolatası yanısıra kayısılar ve de incirler Türkiye’yi sık sık hatırlatıyorlar.  Darısı zeytinyağ, kahve, çay ve birçok başka gıda ürününe diyorum.  Yorumlarınızı bekliyor gelecek hafta yine keyifli bir ‘Kahve Arası’nda buluşmak üzere diyorum.

Coffee Break – Damak Chocolate by Nestlé

Great to reconnect via “Coffee Break”.  This week I’m going to tell you about a fun memory from this past holiday season.

Following a long and tedious day I had ended up at our Harris Teeter store.  I was feeling particularly tired that day and finally started walking to the parking validation machine. Just then a familiar blue package invited me to the holiday goodies booth the store tends to have right at the entrance.  My spirit transformed from fair weather to blue skies. The favorite chocolate of many kids in Turkey for probably more than half a century was right in front of me.  Nestlé is a global brand but Damak is the first chocolate with pistachios that was created by Nestlé in Turkey. You can imagine the rest of my day and ….  Messages to friends and Howard Beasey, the tirelessly hard working president of the American Turkish Council (ATC), a great holiday shopping season and many of my friends thanking me for a delicious gift.

I published another post today on “market entry as a form of global innovation”: “Market Entry, a Global Innovation”. and described how authors point out that innovation can originate from anywhere in today’s globalized/globalizing world.  The success of the innovation however depends on a good analysis of the strategic customer or user and a global mindset.  Local cultures affect judgment and decision making. Today there are many opportunities to bring innovative American products and services to the Turkish market as there are many incentives and opportunities to create great ideas and innovation in Turkey, and bring these back to the U.S. or markets surrounding Turkey.

Looking forward to thoughts and experiences…

More about culture and communication in the bilateral space next week.

Holidays in bilateral space:  Continuation of Ramadan

Note: The content of this Turkish/English bilingual blogs are similar but not exact same.


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The theme of a number of upcoming global trade and investment conferences is innovation. Quoting from the book titled “Leading Across New Borders”, “Michael Porter once said that innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity”.  The innovation theme is definitely hot topic these days.  How could it not be…successful innovation results in unique value for customers, new jobs and a positive impact on the society.

Similarly, companies that enter new foreign markets successfully can bring unique solutions they created in their home country, new jobs and a deep interest in the local society.  Great success happens when this market entry act is viewed as innovation by the market entrants and their audiences. Market entrants then focus on the strategic customer (user) and try to understand the local market nuances to possibly pursue product localization or localization in their business model (e.g. marketing and communications). The product or service being offered helps solve a problem, finds traction in the market and can be marketed with a scalable business model. Customers can focus on how this new product or service will serve them and improve their lives in unique ways.

However, this “market entry as a form of global innovation” thought requires a change in mindset.  As business people we need to understand that our products and services will make sense if we can introduce an innovative idea or business model nuance and communicate it effectively.  As consumers or business partners we need to be open to new sources of innovation.

Again, “Leading Across New Borders” lays out four global trends in innovation:

  • Incremental modifications to existing technologies in can produce disruptive outcomes.
  • Innovation in fast-growth markets can have disruptive impacts even in developed markets.
  • Subsidiaries and companies based in fast-growth markets with limited resources are often strong innovators.
  • Product innovation and social innovation are often linked.

Globalization surrounds us with its opportunities as well as challenges.  Strategic thinking and a global mindset can help seize opportunities while addressing any challenges.

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Kahve Arası  – Ç,Ğ,I,Ö,Ş,Ü Harflerinin Güzellikleri

Merhaba. Haftalık “Kahve Arası” buluşmamıza hoşgeldiniz. Bu hafta Türkçe isim ve markalarımızla uluslararası ilişkilerde sık sık karşılaştığımız durum hakkında sohbet etmeyi teklif ediyorum.  Bu durumun bir nedeni çoğu uluslararası ilişkimizde ve tabii Amerika’da İngilizce dilini konuşuyor olmamız ve de bu dilin alfabesinde ç, ğ, ı, ö, ş  ve ü harflerinin olmaması. Sonuç olarak İngilizce konuşan kişiler özellikle başka bir dil de öğrenmemişlerse kendi alfabelerinde olmayan bu harfleri okumakta ve telaffuz etmekte zorlanabiliyorlar.  Kendimizi tanıtırken ve Türkçe markaları yabancı pazarlara sunarken bir engelle karşılaşmış oluyoruz.

Bu engel nasıl aşılabilir? En güzel çözümün sizlerden geleceğini düşünüyorum.  Pazarda gördüğüm çözümleri burada özetleyeyim:

Brinci çözüm: en sık gördüğüm uygulamalardan bir tanesi özellikle özel isimlerde ç, ğ, ı, ö, ş  ve ü harflerinin c, g, i, o, s ve u harflerine çevirerek yazılması.  Bu durumda örneğin benim ismim Sirin Koprucu haline geliyor.  Bilgisayar kullanırken de kolaylık sağlayan bir çözüm.  Fakat bu çözüm engeli ortadan kaldırıyor mu?  Benim için pek uygun olmadığını söylemeliyim.  Bu durumda c harfinin İngilizcede telaffuz şekillerinden dolayı ismim ‘Sirin Kopruku’ diye okunuyor. Anlamı kayboluyor. Ayrıca kartımı eline alan kişilerin ilk sorduğu soru şu oluyordu: ‘Romanyalı mısınız?’.  Bu çözümle bir değil birçok engelle karşılaşmaya başladım diyebilirim.

İkinci çözüm: diğer bir uygulama ismi fonetik olarak İngilizce yazmak.  O zaman örneğin benim ismim Shirin olarak yazılıyor.  Köprücü de Koepruejue olabilir.  Fakat belki soyismimdeki kelime uzunluğunun getirdiği zorlukları tahmin edebilirsiniz.  Ayrıca birçok insan için nasıl okunacağı da net olmuyor.

Üçüncü çözüm: diğer bir uygulama kişilerin kendi isimlerine benzer bir İngilizce isim kullanmaya başlamaları. Bu çözüm ile ismimi Şirin’den Sharon’a çevirebilirdim örneğin.  Sizce nasıl olurdu?  Bence hayatım bayağı bir kolaylaşabilirdi.  İsmimizin kendi markamızın önemli bir parçası olduğunu düşünecek olursak ürün özellikle global ürün markalarının bu çözümden çok faydalanabileceklerini söyleyebiliriz.  Rahat okunan, değindikleri ürün ve hizmetle ilgili, kolay hatırlanan markalar. Dolayısıyla bu enteresan bir çözüm gözlemi oldu benim için.

Dördüncü çözüm: son rastladığım uygulamalardan bir tanesi de kendi tercih ettiğim bir uygulama.  İsmimi Türkçe harfleriyle yazmak. Bu çözüm beni tabiiki ilk engelle karşılaştırıyor. İsmimi gören isminiz nasıl telaffuz ediliyor diye soruyor.  Fakat bu zaten birinci ve de ikinci çözümlerle de karşılaştığım bir engel olmuştu.  Hemen açıklıyorum.  Telaffuz edecek kişi ilk önce biraz zorlanıyor.  Fakat ben telaffuz etmek için gayret etmeniz bile yeterli diyorum, takdir ve teşekkür ediyorum.  Karşılıklı mutlu oluyoruz.  Sonra ya bir anlamı var mı diye ya harflerin nereden geldiklerini soruyorlar.  Tabii bu özellikle kültürler arası farklılıkları tartıştığımız, kültürler arası köprüler kurmaya çalıştığımız eğitimlerde faydalı oluyor. ‘Sweet Bridge Builder’. Şirin isminin kökeni İran ama bana bu isim Türk tiyatro sanatçısı Şirin Devrim’den esinlenerek verilmiş. Gerekiyorsa anlatmaya devam edebiliyorum.  Türkiye Cumhuriyeti 1923 yılında kuruldu ve alfabe devrimi 1928 yılında yapıldı. Bu benim jenerasyonuma okumayı öğreten öğretmenlere göre okuma öğrenme hızını kat kat arttırdı. Bugün Türkiye’de okuma yazma oranı %95. Dolayısıyla yine ismimizin kendi markamızın bir parçası olarak düşünürsek zengin bir marka hikayesi anlatma fırsatı yakalıyorum.

Sonuç olarak belki konuyla ilgili daha çok çözümler üretilecek.  Ne dersiniz?

Bugün de kendi söyleyeceklerimi üç hoş anım ile tamamlayayım.  Bir tanesi iki sene boyunca üç Amerikalı öğrenciye Türkçe öğretmem ile ilgili.  Bu üç öğrenci de Türkiye’de iş yapmak isteyen global firmalar için çalışıyorlardı.  Türkçenin uzun birleşik kelimeleri ile birlikte cebelleştik ve bol bol yüksek sesle okumanın olumlu sonuçlarını birlikte gördük.  Diğeri yine global bir firmada eğitim yaparken ve de temel Türkçe terimler öğretirken takım liderinin çıkıp Mary Poppins isimli film klasiğinden alıntı yaparak siz ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’u telaffuz edebiliyor musunuz demesi oldu.  O zaman telaffuz edememiştim ama gururla söylemeliyim ki bur sene çocuklarım okul müzikalleri için evde prova yaparken kelimeyi o kadar çok duymuşum ki bir sabah kalktığımda telaffuz edebilir hale geldiğimi farkettim. Son bir anı da global liderlik eğitimlerini verdiğim bir derneğin konferanslarında konuşacak Türk bir konuşmacının ismini nasıl telaffuz edecekleri hakkında aramaları olmuştur.  İsmi telefonumla hemen kaydettim ve de ses kaydımı email ile gönderdim.  Çok memnun oldular.

Gelecek hafta keyifli bir ‘Kahve Arasi’nda tekrar görüşmek üzere.

Coffee Break- Ç,Ğ,I,Ö,Ş,Ü in Turkish Alphabet

Great to reconnect via “Coffee Break”.  This week I suggest talking about the difficulty English speakers often have with Turkish names and brand names. This is mainly due to six letters that don’t exist in English and these are: ç, ğ, ı, ö, ş and ü.  Another important reason is agglutination related to the derivation and length of words.  But the differences in the alphabet can be confusing at first sight.

I want to give some insight into the pronunciation of Turkish words and ask non-Turkish speaking readers about how their experiences with Turkish names and brand names and how they were able to relate to these names.

Here’s how you can pronounce these six letters phonetically:

ç: “ch”

ğ: not pronounced but makes the letter before slightly longer

ı: the sound is as the sound between c and r when you say “cranberry” or the y in “Cyril”

ö: as ea in “early”

ş: sh

ü: as Germans would read “Über” or Swiss “Zürich”

Two other important details about the Turkish alphabet and language are that each letter has one sound and that these letters may be attributed with different sounds than in English. So, the “i” can be pronounced “eye” or “e” in English.  In Turkish, “i” has only one sound and that’s “e”.  Turkey adopted the Latin alphabet in 1928 after the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923, and this change greatly accelerated the speed to reading.  The literacy rate is 95% in Turkey today.

To help English speakers pronounce or remember Turkish names Turkish people apply different approaches: many drop the accents in their names so that these six different letters become the letters that exist in the English alphabet.  For instance, my name could be written Sirin Koprucu instead of Şirin Köprücü.  However, as you can imagine, due to the characteristics of the Turkish and English alphabets, the pronunciation of the name changes completely in both languages. If I followed this approach my name would become Shirin Koepruejue. Few use English first names that sound similar to their Turkish first names.  My first name could be Sharon for instance.  And others (as I do) write out their names with the Turkish letters, sound them out to interested readers, and are grateful for the effort people make to pronounce their names correctly. Especially because all Turkish names have meanings and the name owners have grown up with pride in the meaning of their names. As for brand names, some may be the family names of the business owners and others related to the product or service, and even sometimes a witty name as the Turkish culture appreciate a strong sense of humor very much.

I’m very curious to hear what kind of experiences you have with Turkish names and look forward to comments.

I would like to share three related experiences from my training world: one is my experience with three American students who were professionals in global firms wanting to do business in Turkey and whom I taught Turkish.  They struggled with the length and pronunciation of the words and we overcame these together reading repeatedly and having a few laughs. The second experience is with a global firm that had invested significantly in Turkey and wanted to train their global team on Turkey and Turkish culture.  To get really practical we started learning a few basic phrases in Turkish as well.  The participants did great and then their team leader gave me a challenge.  He asked if I was able to pronounce supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. I was not able then and did not think that I could ever but this year the school of my children staged Mary Poppins.  After hearing the song many times for a few weeks, one morning I woke up being able to pronounce.  I must say that this was a very proud moment of my life and something that enhanced my professional convictions. The third experience is when a global association emailed me to ask how to pronounce the name of a Turkish speaker at their annual conference and I recorded the name, and sent the voice file to them.  Their speaker was impressed by the splendid pronunciation of the host.

More about bilateral cultural nuances next week.

Holidays in bilateral space: Beginning of Ramadan

Note: The content of this Turkish/English bilingual blogs are similar but not exact same.


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“Kahve Arası” – ABD Pazarında Yatırım ve Büyüme Stratejileri

Merhaba! Haftalık “Kahve Arası” buluşmamıza hoşgeldiniz. Bu hafta işlerini Amerika pazarında büyütmek isteyen firmaların ABD’ye yabancı yatırım çekmekten sorumlu SelectUSA isimli kuruluşun üçüncü kongresine kayıt olabilmeleri için son haftalara girmiş bulunmaktayız. İlgili bilgiye bu linkten ulaşabilirsiniz:

ABD pazarında işiniz için potansiyel görüyorsanız veya işinizin global ofisini buraya taşımayı düşünüyorsanız burada sizin gibi birçok başka Türk işletmecinin de çalışmakta olduğunu bilmelisiniz. Fikir alışverişi yapabileceğiniz destek alabileceğiniz çok kişi olacaktır. Avrupa pazarına göre her ne kadar uzak olsa da burada kuracağınız ilişkiler ile ABD pazarı da size yakınlaşabilecektir.

Örneğin Assembly of American Turkish Associations (ATAA)’ın verdiği bilgiye göre Amerika’da yaklaşık yarım milyon Türk yaşamakta ve de ATA-DC gibi Türk Amerikalı vatandaşların biraraya geldikleri Türkiye’yi ve Türk kültürünü Amerika’ya tanıtan son derece aktif yerel dernekler bulunmaktadır. İşinize kaynak sağlayabileceğiniz “Turkish Business Directory” isimli profesyonel bir network vardır. TUSIAD, TOBB, TABA gibi değerli kuruluşların Amerika ofisleri bulunmaktadır. Türkiye’nin Amerika elçilik ve konsoloslukları Amerika’nın yedi farklı eyaletinde hizmet vermektedir. Dünyanın en çok destinasyona uçan havayolu olan THY Türkiye’yi Amerika’da 10 havaalanı ile bu pazara bağlamaktadır. Türkiye Amerika arası ticari ilişkileri kolaylaştırmakta uzmanlaşan American Turkish Council (ATC)’in bu sene yayınlanan “$50 billion by 2025” başlıklı raporuna göre birçok Türk firmasının Amerikan pazarında ciddi anlamda yatırım yapmaya başlamış olduğunu görmekteyiz. Borusan, Kordsa, Kermit şirketlerini başarılı yatırımlar yapmış olan şirketler arasında sayabiliriz. Türk hükümetinin Turquality programı kapsamında markasını Amerika pazarına taşımış Mavi Jeans, Sarar, Eti, Tamek, Kalebodur, Aksa ve Temsa gibi 20den fazla şirket bulunmaktadır. Türk kültürünün sembollerinden Türk kahvesi ve simit ve de Simit and Smith gibi organizasyon ve şirketlerle de Amerikan halkının gönlünü fethetmeye başladı.

ABD pazarı büyük ve kompleks bir pazar. Bu pazarda nasıl herhangi bir başarısızlıkla karşılaşmaktan kaçınabilir, uzun vadeli başarıyı yakalayabilirsiniz? İşletmecilik ve pazarlama alanlarındaki son gelişmeler sayesinde yeni pazara girişi bir inovasyon projesi olarak düşünebilirsiniz. Bu yaklaşım Amerika pazarındaki kullanıcı için benzersiz bir değeri yani özel ürün ve hizmetleri sunmanızı ve de önemli analizleri yapmanız gerektirir. Bu analizler sonucunda da sizin için uygun bir finansal model dahilinde doğru müşteri kitlesini, sunmak istediğiniz ürün ve hizmeti, fiyatınızı, gerekli kaynakları, stratejik partnerlerinizi, iletişim strateji ve taktiklerinizi belirleyebilir, bu pazarda güven yaratacak marka hikayenizi yazabilir ve de  sürekli inovasyon için pazardan öğrenme mekanizmalarınızı kurabilirsiniz.  Bu pazara yüksek bir güven ortamı içinde girebilirsiniz.

Gelecek hafta keyifli bir “Kahve Arası”nda tekrar görüşmek üzere… adresinden her zaman bize ulaşabilirsiniz.

“Coffee Break” – Turkish Investment and Growth in the U.S.

Great to reconnect via “Coffee Break”. This week is an important international business week in the U.S. as the 4-week count-down for the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit has started. Visit the following link for registration information:

Nearly 20 Turkish firms had attended the Summit last year and more than 35 attendees are expected this year. According to “$50 billion by 2025”, a report published by the American Turkish Council (ATC), Turkey’s investment in the U.S. totaled $655 million as of 2012. Larger Turkish firms like Borusan with offices in Texas invested in iron and steel industries supporting the U.S. energy and shipbuilding markets. Kordsa, a subsidiary of the Fortune 500 Sabancı Holding is a leading manufacturer of industrial nylon and polyester yarn, tire cord fabric and single end cord with offices in Tennessee and North Carolina. Another success story is Kermit, a roof systems company, with headquarters in Indiana.

Turkish firms conducting business in textiles, fashion, food, kitchenware and other manufacturing industries in the U.S. are well established brands like Mavi Jeans, Sarar, Eti, Tamek, Kalebodur, Aksa ve Temsa. These brands were supported by a government program called Turquality which exists to create awareness about the importance of branding among Turkish businesses and offer financial help in initial international growth stages. And Turquality can actually be seen as a symbol of Turkish culture.  Turks tend to be quality and brand aware. Turkish businesses have created brands that are now centuries old in some cases.  For instance, a baklava business named Güllüoğlu with new franchise locations in New York was started in 1871, and a Turkish consumer may be able to differentiate the taste of a Güllüoğlu baklava in a blind test. The taste is that distinct and the quality consistent. Pretty much every city and province in Turkey from Gaziantep and Diyarbakır to İzmir and İstanbul, and from Samsun to Antalya has unique products and services that could turn into unique international celebrities connecting cultures and creating jobs. Turkish coffee and a bagel type of food item named “Simit” have also started entering the American delicatessen market with organizations like and Simit & Smith.

Innovation via existing products is only one way of how Turkish can contribute to bilateral and global economic output. Turkish business people are known for their entrepreneurial spirit.  Many new ideas are due to make it to domestic and international markets. The Turkish government has recently launched new R&D and innovation incentives.  Turkey welcomes foreign firms wanting to build international R&D centers and offers many incentives.  GE has recently established an R&D center in Istanbul.  Many American businesses like Pepsi, Amgen, Unilever and Microsoft have their regional headquarters in this country.

The bilateral commercial space is supported by historic organizations like the Washington, DC based American Turkish Council – ATC ( Professional Turkish business associations and organizations like TUSIAD (, TOBB ( and TABA – AmCham ( also have offices in the U.S. and are great resources.  According to the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) half a million American citizens of Turkish heritage live in the U.S.. As in the case of Turks in Europe, many of them are entrepreneurs and job providers.  There is even a “Turkish Business Directory” for Turkish American – owned businesses in the DC area.  And the festival organized by ATA-DC, the American Turkish Association of DC has been getting selected as the best cultural heritage festival three years in a row.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! More about Turkey and Turkish language next week. For questions please contact

Holidays in bilateral space: May 30, Memorial Day

Note: The content of this Turkish/English bilingual blogs are similar but not exact same.

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“Kahve Arası”

Haftalık “Kahve Arası” blog köşeme hoşgeldiniz. Son senelerde Türkiye – Amerika arası iş yapmak isteyen firmalarla görüşmelerim arttıktan sonra hep birlikte fikir ve tecrübe alışverişi yapabileceğimiz bir platform hazırlamaya karar verdim.

Thunderbird School of Global Management’in Global Mindset araştırması farklı kültürlerde güven yaratmayı ve de bunu anlamlı şekilde etkileyen dinleme ve de farklı perspektifleri entegre edebilme becerilerini uluslarası işletmecilikte başarının anahtarları olarak belirlemiş. Nitekim birçok kültürü yani değer ve inanç sistemlerimizi biraraya getiren global dünyamızda birbirimizi dinleyebilecek ve sohbet ortamı sağlayacak kahve arasının önemi kat kat artmış durumda. Teknoloji bir yandan şu anda olduğu gibi insanları biraraya getirken diğer yandan birbirimiz için ayırabileceğimiz anlamlı diyalog zamanlarını daraltıyor. Kırk yıllık hatırı olan kahveye hem zaman kalmıyor hem de zaman olsa da verimli sanal bir buluşma mekanı belirlemek gerekiyor. “Kahve Arası” nın hem sanal bir mekan sunacağını hem de öz sohbetlerle zaman yatırımınıza yüksek geridönüşüm sağlayacağını umuyorum.

Çünkü Global Mindset araştırmasının da gösterdiği gibi uluslararası işletmecilikte kritik diyaloglar gerçekleşmeden yabancı pazarlarda güven yaratmak ve marka oluşturmak mümkün olmuyor. Güven yaratmak, marka ilişkisini kurabilmek farklı kültürlere karşı merak hissetmeyi, bilgi edinmeyi, duygusal bağlantı kurabilmeyi gerektiriyor. Bir de inovasyon konusu var.  İnovasyon imitasyon olabilir mi sohbetine de zaman kalmıyor…farklı kültürlerin buldukları çözümleri kendi kültürümüze uyarlayarak veya uygulayarak inovasyon…bazı kültürler bunu etik görmüyorlar; inovasyonun her zaman benzersiz değeri olan yeni bir fikirle başlaması gerektiğine inanıyorlar…başka kültürler için bu hayatın doğal bir parçası…hatta bu kültürler pratik düşüncenin en güzel örneklerinin böyle çıkabileceğini düşünüyorlar. Yasalar da ülkelerin kültürleriyle yoğruluyor, hazırlanıyor ve de benimseniyor.

Global dünyanın bu çokyönlülüğüne ek olarak hiçbir bireyin pasaport kültürünün tam bir ürünü olmadığını da hatırlayacak olursak konu konuyu açacak mı dersiniz…

Uluslararası değer yaratmaya çalışan iş dünyasına gelecek hafta keyifli bir “Kahve Arası”nda görüşmek üzere diliyorum…yorumlarınız bazen “Kuru Kahveci Mehmet Efendi” bazen “Starbucks”, “Nespresso”,“Illy”, Dunkin Donuts bazen de McDonalds kahve aralarımı zenginleştirecektir. Örneğin eminim çoğumuzun bir Türk tüketicisinin neden ve ne zaman Türk kahvesi içeceği hakkında iyi bir fikri vardır. Ama diyelim ki Türk kahvesini Amerikan tüketicisine satmak istiyoruz.  Sizce kim, ne zaman ve neden içmek isteyecektir?  Bu tarz pazar soruları bir seri sohbetten oluşan detaylı mentalite araştırmaları ile cevaplanabiliyor…dolayısıyla sohbete hemen burada başlamayı teklif ediyorum.

Şimdiden teşekkürlerimle ve de mutlu gururlu 19 Mayıs Spor ve Gençlik Bayramı dileklerimle.

 “Coffee Break”

Today is a great day. I’m recognizing once again that technology allows business people around the world to connect.

At the same time, I want to throw out the following question: how meaningful is our connection via technology?

Meaningful connections and trustful relations are instrumental for business success. Thunderbird School of Global Management identified “the ability to build trust across cultures” as a critical leadership domain for international business success, and “listening skills” and “the ability to integrate diverse perspectives” as key related leadership attributes. Consumers build trust towards global brands. Trustful diverse communities can become great source of innovation.Yet the challenge is that as technology brings us together it also speeds up our lives. We have less time to be curious about each other’s thoughts and feelings, listen, collect information, discuss and integrate.

I’m starting this weekly “Coffee Break” blog to offer a platform for productive dialogues here and beyond, within the business community working between the U.S. and Turkey. It is the bilateral version of my “Culture Curious Global Minds” blog that has a global interest. The inspiration about this blog came from my increased level of interactions between the American and Turkish business communities in the last couple of years and especially months. While there is significant familiarity at political and military level between the two countries due to having formed one of the longest NATO partnerships there is much more room for learning at societal and cultural levels for increased and productive collaborations. How similar is the love for competence and competition for instance…and how different the way people enjoy coffee…the information below will hopefully not take too much of your time here and prepare you for a useful cultural experience outside the world of technology.

Have you ever tasted Turkish coffee?

It’s a different coffee drinking experience that simply requires you to take time either for yourself or with your conversation partner. It’s an invaluable opportunity to learn and develop relationships. There are machines now that allow you to grab and go. Yet you will find that the unique flavor of the coffee will literally ask you to sit down and take a little break. And this is likely to serve you well when working internationally, and specifically, when working with business partners in Turkey.

Here’s how the full Turkish coffee adventure goes: firstly, be prepared to spend at least 20 minutes for your coffee break. This time includes the time needed to brew the coffee as it does need to be made fresh. Next, be prepared to answer the following question by your Turkish host: “how would you like your coffee?” This question is to find out how sweet you would like your (perfect) coffee.  Your choices are “with no added sugar, little sugar, some sugar, or sweet”. Why can’t you add sugar after it has been served?  Great question. Good quality Turkish coffee should come with a lacy layer of foam that forms when the coffee is being made. So, your evaluation of the coffee will have a visual aspect, too.  If you put sugar into your coffee after it’s been served you will need to stir, and stirring will dissolve the foam. So, be prepared to tell your host (including restaurants, coffee houses also in the U.S. if you’re not getting a chance to travel to Turkey yet) ahead of time how much sugar you would like in your coffee.

Then, last but not least, there is time needed to enjoy the scent of the fresh coffee, connecting with your conversation partner at a very sincere level, possibly even engaging in a fortune telling session, sipping and not drinking the coffee…being present in the moment and building trust.

Erin Meyer authored a great chapter on building trust across cultures in her book “The Culture Map”. Having a sincere long term vision for business relationships goes a long way in Turkey, too.

Looking forward to reconnecting at next week’s “Coffee Break”.


Holidays in bilateral space: May 19, Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day

Note: The content of this Turkish/English bilingual blogs are similar but not exact same.  Would be glad to answer all questions.

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