Home » Full Transcript: Pellegrino Riccardi on Cross Cultural Communication at TEDxBergen

Full Transcript: Pellegrino Riccardi on Cross Cultural Communication at TEDxBergen

So I called the guy down at the Oslo Traffic, “Hello, this is Pellegrino …” by the way, I spoke English, of course, not Norwegian, because they take you more seriously. “Hello, this is Pellegrino… I’m referring to the case 78206.”

“Yes, I have it in front of me here.”

“Listen, I was just wondering if we could be a bit flexible on this, we’re only talking about 20 centimetres, I’m really sorry, I’ve learned my lesson, I won’t ever do it again.” Did it help? Not at all. To his credit, he was good, he was really good. I could hear him clicking in the background, he had all the rules, he was saying, “I’m very sorry, but the wheel must be inside the box. It says so here in the rule 5, paragraph D.” He had all the answers in front of him.

And then he said something I’ll never forget, he said to me, “Riccardi is your name, you may be Italian. You probably like football.”

I said, “I do like football.”

“Well, it’s like football, you know. The ball must be over the line, the wheel must be…” But it’s fantastic. It was great. He had all the answers, black and white, he had everything. Fine.

So I told my friend Yves this, my friend Yves, the French guy, who got really irritated. Remember Yves? “Is it?” But he is really good at asking questions and he said, “OK, the wheel must be inside the box. What if I take the wheel off the car? What would happen then?” I thought that was really interesting actually. I called back and asked, “What would happen if I took the wheel off the car?” He didn’t have an answer for me. He couldn’t answer that question. Why not? Because it’s not an accepted and familiar question, and he doesn’t have that approach.

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Then you need the help of an Italian because the time I parked my car in Italy. You see, I was looking for a parking place on a holiday, impossible. I see a traffic warden, and I go up to her. And I start talking in Italian, “Listen, I’m looking for a parking place.”

She says, “There is a parking house nearby but don’t park your car there.”

“Why not?”

She says, “It’s too expensive. 40 Euro!”

“Really? What should I do?”

And she says, “I like you. You seem like a nice fellow. I like the way you talk Italian, I’m going to help you today. Park your car over there.” And she points over to this sign and says, “Go and park car over there.”

“Come on, I can’t…”

“It’s OK, it’s not dangerous. Park your car there. Don’t pay 40 Euro in the parking house. Park your car over there. I give you a fine for 30 Euro, you save yourself 10 Euro.”

I’m not here to discuss whether it’s right or wrong, but what I can tell you is that I get it. I get it because I’ve got it inside me. I’ve seen this before, and I accept it, and I can see the positive elements. You see, these three cultures I have inside me.

Just to finish off, this is what I’m passionate about: I’ve got three cultures inside me, and they’re all very different, they are planets apart, they really are, in certain aspects. But you know what I try to do on a daily basis, especially with my kids? I try to take the best of all three – take the best of all three and try to merge them into one new culture where you take the best of all three.

Across borders isn’t about going to cross borders in my mind, it’s about extending your borders and creating new ones around us. And you know what if you can create a new culture where you take the best of all three, like I try to do, and it’s not easy, guess what? That’s when you create what we call a global mindset. And I believe this is what makes the world go around.

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Thank you very much.


Resources for Further Reading: 

The 110 Techniques of Communication & Public Speaking: David JP Phillips (Transcript)

Amy Scott: Build, Don’t Break Relationships With Communication – Connect The Dots at TEDxQueenstown (Transcript)

Louise Evans: Own Your Behaviours, Master Your Communication, Determine Your Success (Transcript)

Ten Meters of Thinking: The ABC of Communication by Paul Hughes (Full Transcript)


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