Finesse Cross Cultural Communication is a Tel Aviv firm helping Israeli companies compete in the global market. Debrah Marcus worked as the Chief Knowledge Officer at Ernst & Young Israel before founding Finesse Cross Cultural Communication in 2008. Joseph Joel Sherman is the Editor and Content Manager of Embrace Israel.
Joseph Joel Sherman: Why is cultural awareness important in business?
Debrah Marcus: Cultural awareness is important when we have to interact with people from other cultures and vital in the business world. What may be seen as appropriate in one culture may be seen as inappropriate in another. Understanding the other’s culture is key to successful business interaction and to becoming part of the Global Village.
I spent many years in the Israeli corporate world and became very aware of the lack of finesse and cultural savvy with regard to cross cultural interaction. Today the Israeli business world has become more aware of the need to be part of the global village not only in the technological sense, and people are beginning to understand the importance of being culturally adept.
Joseph Joel Sherman: What services do you offer?
Finesse offers cross cultural communication training, as well as professional interpreting and translation services. The synergy between language and culture are harnessed by Finesse, to offer the client a deep and unique understanding of English speaking cultures and their norms of communication, as well as of the Israeli culture.
Finesse embodies accumulated professional experience within the business world, combined with extensive cross cultural knowledge and experience. We offer workshops, and lectures on cross cultural communication, along with interpreting services for business meetings and translation of business and translation of business documents.
Joseph Joel Sherman: How is being in Israel impacting your business?
Debrah Marcus: There are many challenges when doing business in Israel, and this field is no different. Many Israelis speak English, so interpreting for business meetings can give rise to amusing instances of Heblish versus English and other culture dependant issues.
One of my favourite stories is about a young guy who was sent by his company to a conference in the UK. It was the first time the company had sent him abroad and he was delighted. On his return he was asked about his experiences. He replied that the conference had been interesting and that he had indeed learnt a lot, but that his interaction with the English had not been great – as he found the English to be simply rude.
When asked to explain, he recounted an experience he had at lunch one day: He found himself seated between two English conference attendees who were more or less his age. The conversation revolved pleasantly around the morning’s lectures, until one of the English guys asked him to please pass the salt and pepper. Now our Israeli took this as being rude. When asked why, he replied nonchalantly “does he think I work for him?” “Why couldn’t he simply stretch across and take the salt and pepper himself… why involve me? I’m not his errand boy!” Fortunately this did not give rise to an international incident, but the entire situation could most certainly have been avoided… A little knowledge would have gone a long way in this instance…
Joseph Joel Sherman: Who do you offer training to?
Debrah Marcus: We offer our services to Israeli businesspeople with the aim of bridging the cultural gap and assisting them in becoming part of the Global Village. A similar service is offered to businesspeople from abroad who plan on doing business in Israel, and who need to understand our culture. Understanding the local business culture is always a savvy business move which can save you time and money.
Debrah Marcus, Founder of Finesse Cross Cultural Communication firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Joel Sherman, Editor at Embrace Israel email@example.com