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* Cultural awareness key to global business, says Brown University lecturer

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Brown University Prof. Barrett Hazeltine responds to an audience member Saturday, April 27, 2013 during a lecture on Google and China. More photos

For more than 50 years, Prof. Barrett Hazeltine has been engaging students at Brown University and around the world.

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Members of the Washington China Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle branch of the Brown University Alumni Club and others were drawn into Hazeltine’s world Saturday, April 27 at Shoreline Community College. Hazeltine, Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Brown, was there to speak about his case study, “Google and the Government of China: A Case Study in Cross-Cultural Negotiation.”

As he took off his jacket, grabbed a felt marker and strode to a flip chart, it was evident that class was in session.

“Am I getting to you? Am I making sense?” he asked the audience after literally illustrating a fundamental point about the balance of power in a business negotiation.

As the lecture focused on the particulars of the ongoing dance between Google and China, Hazeltine began asking more specific questions. Often, he got specific answers from Brown alums and Chamber members whose careers gave them a close perspective on the Google/China issue. When a student, rather, audience member got it right, Hazeltine walked over and offered a passing grade in the form of a handshake.

Hazeltine’s underlying message was that cultural awareness and sensitivity are critical to being successful in the globalized markets.

During a question-and-answer period after the presentation Chamber President Mark Wen reinforced Hazeltine’s premise. “Relationship building comes first in China,” said Wen, who was born in China, but now lives and works in Washington. “By the time you get to the negotiating table, the deal is already done.”

Shoreline President Lee Lambert and  International Education Director Diana Sampson are Chamber members.

SCC/Jim Hills

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