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Frank Garten (PhD)

travels from Netherlands

Intercultural Communcation and Cooperation Expert

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About Frank

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The keynote speaker Frank Garten is an expert on intercultural communication and management. As the author of several books and a popular speaker and trainer, he knows that the best communication starts with you.

Our speaker Frank Garten has worked in technical, commercial and general management positions in Philips and NXP, gaining practical insight into cooperation between people from different cultural backgrounds. He has traveled extensively in most business cultures of the world, and experienced what works and what doesn’t in phone conferences, meetings, change projects and negotiations.

Frank has been working for the last 8 years as an independent consultant, and gives lectures and workshops on topics such as cultural diversity, cross-cultural cooperation, communication & influencing and personal leadership. By combining his sound theoretical basis from his PhD with his own experience, Frank’s talks and lectures notably stand out for their focus on what to do practically. Should you copy your superiors on an email? Do you present conclusions first or last in a talk? Should you act confidently or with modesty in first interactions with colleagues, suppliers, clients and partners from across the world?

The distinguished speaker Frank Garten frequently speaks and runs seminars and workshops across the world. He has done intercultural training for companies such as NXP Semiconductors, Borealis, Flint, ABN-AMRO, Philips, KBC Bank, Schenker, TMC, Ernst & Young, Omron, Frames, Damco and many others. Frank is a lively speaker, and searches for interaction with his audience, not hesitating to let them look in the mirror and confront them with their own cultural preconceptions.


See keynotes with Frank Garten (PhD)

    Keynote by Speaker Frank Garten 

    Cultural differences in business

    An important and relevant topic to discuss. In this keynote Frank Garten presents an overview of cultural differences and how these play up in a business context. He includes lots of funny anecdotes and examples that will make you laugh but also learn and reflect.


    Keynote by Speaker Frank Garten 

    Diversity revisited

    The topic of diversity seems to be one of the most popular topics when speaking of culture. It can be hard to experience change, as our brains are unconsciously hard-wired against other ways-of-working. In this engaging keynote Frank provides plenty of examples, striking statistics and funny anecdotes, but also the message: Stop talking about diversity. We must learn to love the differences between people instead.


    Keynote by Speaker Frank Garten 

    The Mindset of a Leader

    This keynote is quite new, and Frank Garten is currently doing research as well as writing a book on the topics. What does is take to be a successful leader? And how does the brain even work? One thing is clear: Leadership is not learned through a book: It’s a complex discipline and a result of thinking fast and slow and understanding your brain.



Interview with Frank Garten

What types of results do clients experience after your programmes & keynotes?

There’s two types of results. First of all they have realised that working with other cultures is not about learning tips & tricks about another country. They have experienced it all starts with them: the effect of their own behaviour on others. A confronting insight for some. On top of that, people walk away with very practical tips, about how to write emails, host conference calls in an international environment etc.

What advice would you give to someone who has just started to work with/in another culture?

Listen with the aim to understand. Refrain from judgment, just listen and learn. More importantly though: behave like you would do in your own culture. But explain what you do, and show the other person you know you are culturally biased. “I’m Dutch, and in our culture we are quite direct and confrontational. In my culture, at this point I would just tell you your proposal will not work. You’re not meant to take this personal, but I want to be as clear as I can.

What are the most common barriers in intercultural interactions?

The assumption that my culture is better than yours. So when working with the back office in India, many of us work from the assumption that we know how to run projects, and that they are sloppy and chaotic. When you work from this assumption, you will only find evidence for other people being sloppy and chaotic. But who are we to tell 1.4 billion Indians they are wrong? Work from the assumption that you can learn from them. Then India is rich, fascinating and remarkably effective.

Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

I always search for the possibility to confront people in the audience with their own behaviour. In my talk I will point out how the dominant culture in the audience comes across to someone from another culture. Those moments are funny, and insightful. When you explain the Swedes how relaxed they come across. When you explain the Americans how ‘simple’ and ‘superficial’ they may come across. When you explain the British how hard it is for others to see what they mean.

What skills are needed to be a good negotiator?

The intuitive answer would be that you need to be articulate, don’t be afraid to confront, and speak convincingly. But that’s just a small part of it. You need to be a very good listener. And we all think we are, but we are not. You need to be a very good observer as well. See and hear everything. And then interpret what you see and hear from their perspective. Why do they do what they do? Why do they say what they say? If you’re able to think from their perspective rather than from your own, you’re a good negotiator.

Who or what inspires you most?

The new generation that comes into the workforce now. I often see so much hidden and unexpressed potential in companies. New generations more show their skills, and have an inner confidence to do what they think needs to be done. I find this very inspiring, and learn from them as much as I can.

See keynotes with Frank Garten (PhD)
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Keynote topics with Frank Garten (PhD)