3 Reasons a Manila Folder is Like Intercultural Communications



I remember taking an improv class years ago, and we used to play a pantomime game called “What Are You Doing?”.  It involved acting something out so the class could guess, and whoever guessed would then go up and start a new action for the class to ask, “what are you doing.” 

At one point, we stalled on activities to imitate, and the instructor said, “that’s impossible…it’s impossible to run out of things to do.”  And she has a point.  In the world of possibility you never run out of things to do.

Intercultural Communications is comparable, in that in the world of looking to connect across cultures, be they ethnic, business or otherwise, there are always new pathways to explore to more forward.

To prove a point, I invite you to pick up the object nearest you, and tell me three things that liken that to cross-cultural communications.

For me, it’s a manila folder…

1.  Label or not, you never know the value of what’s inside, until you open it up and read it.

2.  All manila folders look the same.  Their appearance is irrelevent–it’s the content that carries meaning. (Although it is okay to specify if you are looking for the blue folder as opposed to the red folder.)

3.  If it’s your manila folder, you decide what will go inside.  You also decide how you will label it (or decorate it!) to present to the world.

Granted, this exercise is right up there with listing 100 uses for a lemon without lifting pen from paper.  But, if you are a writer, it never hurts to challenge your mental facility.  And, if you are an intercultural communicator, it’s about looking at things from different perspectives.

How about you?  Are you going to eat that apple, play catch with it, or cut it in half and make star prints?