Expert Spotlight: David Sanford

During the past several years, David C. Sanford has answered the demand by global companies to provide insights into how to successfully understand and communicate effectively with Indian nationals. Having spent more than thirteen years living and working abroad including assignments in the UK, Taiwan, India, Iran, Italy, and Japan, he has an intimate understanding and insight into the challenges faced by those living and/or working in multicultural environments.

1. What’s your favorite topic(s) to present on? Why?

The challenge of communicating with someone from a different culture. As the world has become flatter we are now all interacting more than ever with people who view things such as punctuality, the word “YES,” and building trust radically differently than we do. Whether it is the Help Desk person that we contact, the grocery store clerk or co-worker, my skill is creating communication bridges so that all can communicate more effectively.

2. Why did you become a speaker/trainer?

My mother, bless her heart, often said that I had the “gift of gab.”  Having been raised outside of the USA in Taipei, London, and New Delhi, I have always been fascinated by travel and learning about new cultures and perspectives. My passion to share this curiosity and “wider world view” with others led me quite naturally into speaking with others about my experiences and insights.

3. What are some things that surprise you or inspire you about your interactions with clients/participants?

Participants’ willingness to look at their own assumptions and be open to communicating and in some cases behaving differently than they generally do.

4. Three words that describe your presentation style:

Interactive, Engaging, Enthusiastic

5. Do you have a favorite quote? What/why?

“Culture hides more than it reveals, and strangely enough, what it hides it hides most effectively from its own participants.”
–Edward Hall, world-renowned anthropologist, lecturer and consultant

When someone asks us what are the main values of our culture, we often find it difficult to list and describe them as they are so close; we don’t usually think much about them; rather we discuss topics such as politics (or we avoid this one), news, weather, or how our favorite sports team just did. It’s only when we are faced with trying to understand someone’s behavior from a different culture that we must reflect on our own.

6.Tell us a recent book you’ve read and would recommend:

Sky Burial by Xinran: An epic story of a Chinese woman who searches for her husband, spending 30 years living with the nomads of Tibet. This is a short, fascinating read that captivates.