Communications Over Seas

Along with the problem of just getting your self and equipment to a distant location, the communication problem can be most frustrating. Probably the best advice is to think very carefully before you ask for anything or make a point. Ask your self "What will they HEAR from what I say."

You shouldn't expect to find or be provided with everything that you hoped for. Deciding how much to compromise is more in line with reality. Look for substitutes more in line with local condition that can fulfill your needs. Rarely will you find things that are the same as you are used to using at home. The names for things will be different and sometimes standard American equipment is absolutely unknown. Going in with a "make do" attitude will help. Only push hard for the things you absolutely need. Don't waste your efforts on things not necessary. Being able to compromise or make substitutions will make you seem reasonable to them and ease getting things that may be extra trouble for them. Demanding too much puts you in a position of being the spoiled American who demands everything wherever he goes.

Interest and sympathy with local tradition, politics and affairs shows that you are not just interested in the things that you have to do. Unfortunately we have not been making friends around the world lately and a bit of humble on your part may go over better than a high handed attitude.

Always be humble when misunderstandings happen. "I'm sorry I didn't explain it correctly."" Forgive us for making you so crazy with changes, we are having problems with the people that we are working for." "Considering the short time left, could you possibly find a XXXXXX."

If you go in with a high handed approach, be prepared to pay and take time getting what you demand. Clearances take time. Clearing customs takes time. Doing things without clearances is often possible if you convince them that you are reasonable and won't get them into trouble and burn their bridges locally. They have to work in that town long after you are just a memory.

Interpreters can be a problem when they try to color things with what they think that each side wants to hear. If you are not hearing the right questions back, then you may not be communicating all that well. It is often best to make one point at a time. Then go on if you are convinced that it is understood. There is a big difference in interpreters that have dealt with tourists and those with the film business. Tourists accept almost any answer. Showing pictures of what you are trying to accomplish helps immensely.

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.