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mid-week Connect: 4/5/23 ~ Cross-cultural Appearances

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

And it’s April already, so let’s enjoy another Word Connect today. We do this once each month to remind ourselves that words totally connect us cross-culturally and in so many other ways. Our word this week is the slightly old-fashioned but interesting English word “mien” and it has to do with appearances. It fits right into both the Home and Host dimensions of our Global SKILLs 3D Dynamics Perspectives, since our own (Home) and our Host’s appearances are constantly communicating cross-culturally, either intentionally or ‘just’ naturally, and it behooves us to be aware of this!*

Today’s word “mien” is defined as ‘a person's look or manner, especially one of a particular kind indicating their character or mood’. The challenge when we look at ‘mien’ cross-culturally is that depending on the culture and who is observing someone’s ‘mien’, the resulting interpretations of that person’s character or mood can be very different!

An ‘angry’ glare in one culture might well communicate simple surprise or even joy in a different culture. For example, observing the speaker’s mien when they use the word “wow” in English might help interpret whether they are saying, “Wow! That’s great.” or “Wow! That’s awful.” Of course, many other factors play in (context, body language, etc), but I think we can agree that close observation is one key to properly managing cross-cultural appearances - and ‘mien’ in particular!

How about for you ~ what is an example of cultural mien you have properly interpreted…or otherwise?!

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on for more on mien!

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ and PS

let’s not get the English word mien confused with the Mien ethnic group of southeast Asia:


Related Connects - previous words we’ve had fun with (scroll down the posts to find these by date): 1/4/23 - tapestry; 2/1/23 - lizards; 3/8/23 - slang

* Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including: 3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST (both of which we explored this week); 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Learning Strategies:

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Application, Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming:

2023 ~ Celebrating 40+ years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

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