Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our Own New York Taxi Driver!

All people are looking for, is a little respect and recognition; 4 steps to getting more from life.

Our Los Angeles shuttle driver looked bemused, after we had greeted and thanked our hotel porter, in Mexican.

“I thought you guys were from South Africa. Where did you learn Mexican?” He asked.
“Right here, in LA.” I answered.
“How long have you been here”, he asked.
“Two days”, I answered.
“Well, that is incredible! I’ve been here 45 years, and you know more than I do.” He shook his head in amazement, as we set off towards Hollywood Boulevard.

As we traveled down the road, we spoke of our journey through the USA, and how a little respect had built some great friendships. When we arrived in New York, we were guided to Pennsylvania station by a lady - suitcases loaded with South African wine. She was incredibly gracious and kind.

At Penn. station we boarded our first unmarked taxi, to our first rather scary Manhattan hotel. We asked the taxi driver where he was from and what his name was. “Hamid” - he responded, “and I am from Morocco. Where you from?”

“As salaamu alaikum Hamid.”
“Wailakum as salaamu.” he responded.

We greeted and found out how each other were, as we travelled through the busy New York traffic. We found out how long he had been in New York, where his family was and lots of other really human info. We told him that we ran team-building in South Africa. As we chatted, we asked if we could get his phone number, so that we could call him when we needed him. At the end of our journey, he gave us his number and we paid him for the trip.

The next morning, Arthie phoned him. “Ah, the South Africans, he said. And he was perfectly on time, outside our hotel. Off we went to Macy’s. Upon our arrival, we asked what the fee was.
“Twenty dullah,” he said, “You are on vacation.”

Hamid became our friend, our guide and on every occasion - bar the trip to the airport - charged us $20. He would be there at night and in the morning. He was our saviour. We respected him and he respected us. We learnt so much about this very private man from our conversations, and he about us. How many other people have had their own private New York Taxi driver?

Pat, our Irish American, taxi driver nodded and shook his head. He had never heard of that before - “New York taxi drivers are renowned for their focus on money, not on people. That is amazing!”

“And there is more ,” I told Pat. “When we were in Las Vegas, we had a taxi driver as our witness at our wedding!” We looked at each other and laughed, at the wonderful memory.

“No way!” said Pat, “tell me about it,” laughed the big, jovial 3rd generation American. (His grandfather had emigrated to the USA from Ireland, as a young man.)

Arthie took up the story, “As we left Flamingo Casino, we decided to find a chapel and get married again. (This is our 6th wedding to each other.)”
“Never divorced?”
“No, we just love to celebrate our love for each other through weddings and re-affirming our vows.” She continued, “As we stepped out of the hotel, the Concierge stepped up, and asked if we needed a taxi, and where we were going to. He was quite shocked when we told him that we needed to find a chapel, to get married. He asked the taxi driver, if he could do it. The taxi driver nodded, and we climbed in.”

Pat laughed, “And then you asked all about him, didn’t you?

Arthie laughed, “How’d ya know? How’d ya know?” He laughed and settled back to listen to her.

“So, Jahed - who was from Iraq - called his controller on the radio. “You know that chapel downtown, you told me about? I need the address.” After a little time and some strong words, with the controller, Jahed said. “I got it.”

A short while later, we arrived at the Stained Glass Wedding Chapel. Jahed switched off the taxi meter, for the duration of the wedding. Within about 15minutes - we were set and ready for our wedding - dressed in our denims and sneakers. The organisers tried to hire a wedding dress and tuxedo - for about $200 dollars each - but we wanted a quick wedding, without finery!

A short while later a little old lady, in a wig arrived. She was the minister. 5 minutes later, and with some very beautiful words, that we had repeated to each other - we were wed! And Jahed was our witness.”

Pat laughed, his deep Irish laugh and shook his head!

I carried on, “And we got his phone number too. But never needed to use his services again. We had tried another taxi driver - from Ethiopia, but he was really rude. He got the standard tip, and complained bitterly about it. A little respect goes a long way! And disrespect takes you nowhere.”

Pat looked at us in the mirror, and said, “You guys are a true example to us all. You will never want for anything.” We thanked him.

As we drove Pat spoke of his life, the recent death of his father - and how he was handling that. As we drew near Hollywood, he asked us where we wanted to be dropped off. We told him that we had just attended an amazing conference, on building our team-building company, and internet businesses.

“Wherever the red tourist buses are based”, said Arthie. “Oh look, there is one now.”

Our new friend, swung into action and chased the bus. When it came to a halt, he bounded out and asked the driver how we could get on! He was helping his new friends out and was going to do everything that it took to get us on that bus.

And indeed, that is what happened. We wished Pat well, “The top of the morning to you, Pat!” And he hung his head a little, and said, “You speak more Irish than I do.”

Arthie and I have built friendships and relationships, around the World, simply by respecting other people.

4 simple tips to get more from your life.

1) Care More - Life is not only about you. Start to greet people, and treat people, in the way that they want to be greeted and treated. Learn their languages - do not demand to hear yours. Ask about them, talk far less of your self.

2) Give More - Don’t be afraid to help others, be it by listening, caring and even sharing. Don’t always go with the “standard tip.” Look for ways that you can give, rather than seek ways to get. And you shall receive!

3) Love More - You are perfect as you are, however Life rewards action and not thought. When you really begin to like and accept who you are, in every way, then you are able to be more loving. When you love more - you are loved more.

4) Thank More - Live in a permanent state of gratitude. Be thankful for each breath that you take. Be grateful for your family and your friends - AND tell them. Thank people for every thing that they do. Humbly thank people for their compliments. Develop an “attitude of gratitude”, and the world will reward your thankfulness.

Arthie Moore and Brian V Moore
“At the level of respect, all people are equal.”
Durban, South Africa.
30th April 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Opening Hearts and building friendhsips.

“Bonjour”, I greeted the salesperson in Paris. Next to me the voice of the little man spoke clearly, “Bonjour! Ça va?” I smiled as the lady beamed at him and said Ça va bien! Et vous?”

As we moved through Italy, Switzerland and Austria he perfectly copied the words that he heard! “Buongiurno! Buonasera! Arrivederci! Guten morgen. Guten abend! Ciao,” echoed by my side. The local people were always delighted and excited and showered him with friendship and love.

In London, we were walking towards the underground train platform. I heard what I thought could be Zulu being spoken by two men. I excitedly moved up alongside them to hear if it was true. Suddenly a loud voice boomed out next to me, “Sanibonani! Dumela! (Zulu and Sesotho/ Setswana greetings.”)

The men stopped and looked at him, in disbelief. I then greeted them in Zulu and they beamed. Contact had been made. South Africans together in London. We spent the entire tube trip chatting, in Zulu, about home and their lives in London. The little man had opened the way again!

And little he is. Just a month away from his 4th birthday our son Lliam can greet in about 20 languages! Including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, Tsonga, French, Italian, German, Xhosa, Chichewa, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Gujerati, Arabic, Hebrew, Chibemba and Township slang!

And if you know Lliam you will also know that he will greet people in any of the World’s languages. He only has to hear the greeting once!

Yes, he has learnt the power of greeting people in their own language to the extent where he asks people, “How must I speak to you?” A simple question indeed. “How should I greet you?” It is the starting point of all across language/ culture friendships and the beginning of a lifetime of language learning.

He has also learnt to greet respectfully in many local languages. People who are older are called uncle or aunt, mother or father in their own languages. When he meets our local car guard, he says in Afrikaans, “Hallo Oom.” And to his uncles and aunts he greets in Hindi, “Namaste Maamah/ Maamee.”

He has yet to get his tone and his volume right and as he grows up he will learn the importance of both in respect. Nevertheless he is already on a path towards great friendships and relationships. Arthie and I know this well.

When we go to a new country, we always learn the basics of greetings, thanks and goodbyes. This opens up opportunities for us to learn more and to spend more time developing friendships and understanding.

The next step is to take the time to learn how to pronounce people’s names properly. Arthie and I met a Nigerian man in London. The name he gave us was very western. “What do people call you at home we asked? “Olatunde.” he responded. With a little practice we began to use his name.

Upon our return to South Africa we found an e-mail from Olatunde inviting us to work in his country. We were delighted to have become his friend in such a short time.

Lliam has been our greatest teacher from birth and he carries that on every day in the way that he is. Is he naughty? Is he cheeky? Yes, of course, he is a child after all! And his life is one of testing and breaking physical, societal communication boundaries and barriers.

In his purity and total lack of teenage and adult fears he crosses many perceived borders and achieves many amazing things. He has danced with the Zulus, to the bagpipes and to Hindi music. He has sung his way through the streets of Venice, Paris, London and Edinburgh. And he never stops learning!

And that is perhaps his greatest lesson to “bigger” people.

On an overnight train from Paris to Firenze (Florence) I overheard a young lady say to the Italian bar person, “Just speak to me in English. I don’t speak your language.” All she needed to know was the price of the goods. It was clearly displayed on the till!

I watched as she battled to get service later. The young lady met frustration with frustration and eventually returned to her sleeper car. We found the bar person to be very friendly and open. All we did was greet and thank her in Italian. And we read the till for the cost of service!

We live in a multi-lingual country and a multi-lingual world. To live in the hope that we will only build strong and lasting relationships in our birth languages is to live in denial. And to believe that “my language is the only language”, is to deny ourselves the experiences of a wonderfully diverse world.

As tiny children we all learnt thousands of words in a language which was foreign to us. Even the concept of language was not yet in our understanding. Look how swiftly we learnt our mother tongue and how easily the language came to be a part of our being. Why then are so many of us are scared to learn a new greeting or language?

And getting the greeting right is one of the easiest ways to touch another soul and open another heart.

Take a lesson from Lliam and begin the process of learning to greet correctly and learning to pronounce peoples’ names and you too will find a new warmth in the world. A warmth that started with you.

Brian V Moore - January 30, 2005 for more please visit

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Talk straight, talk clearly and talk with respect.

Building teams and reducing social and workplace conflict.

In our International and South African teambuilding, we create an environment of respect. The following stories show just how important it is to be clear and open when communicating.

As the lift descended the two Zulu ladies made their observations of my well-rounded figure...

"Hawu! We sisi! Uwubonile umkhaba? (Gee Sister have you noticed the stomach.)

"Yebo, ngiwubonile. Yinkinsela yempela - sengathi inemali eningi!" (Yes, I have noticed it. Clearly a wealthy person - I'd imagine he has plenty of money)

All this gossip happened in front of me, as they innocently watched the floor indicator panel. I bided my time and as the two ladies prepared to leave the lift, I spoke to them in Zulu. "Sobuye sibonane bomama." (I will see you ladies around some time.)

"Hawu! Hawu!" They squealed in shock. "We didn’t know that you could speak Zulu!"
The event reminded me of similar events where people use their "superior" use of language to make negative observations of people.

Many years ago I used the services of a UK born dentist. I had an afternoon session with him. I had earlier washed my mouth out at a supermarket rest-room after eating a sandwich for lunch. It was not enough. He peered into my mouth and pronounced to his assistant, "It is a foggy day in Liverpool."

In his English way he had said that I had not brushed my teeth. I was very embarrassed and he lost me as a client and a number of others who I spoke to about the event.

In a recent training course my beautiful Hindu wife and I were subjected to abuse from a small group of England born delegates. In loud and profane tones they proceeded to malign the "Indians" and their "ability to speak the truth". This in the round about and sarcastic manner of certain English people. Very little is said directly. We are however well travelled and understood perfectly. As facilitators we have to be fair, pleasant and respectful to all of our delegates. Any mention of their meanness would reduce the programme to a series of personal attacks. It took us both a lot of internal and interpersonal talk to get close to our normal warm level of communication.

At an earlier course three of the many Afrikaners, on a Celebrating Humanity© course, walked into the conference venue and made similar attacks on Arthie and the programme itself. This time it was in Afrikaans. They too never believed that we could understand and speak their language. Their embarrassment was very visible as the programme unfolded with both of us speaking English, Zulu and Afrikaans.

Numerous African people from our many language groups speak of the way certain English speaking South Africans "Shaya ‘ma angles." (To speak indirectly and in a round about way.)

It is an old English habit to lighten the criticism and talk around a challenge, so as not to hurt feelings. Often the hurt is greater because no-one besides the speaker understands the true message until much later.

Some people find it necessary to joke in sexual manner. Their jokes are often below the belt and cause great embarrassment to their colleagues and friends who do not discuss these matters outside of their bedrooms. Most African and Eastern groups do not appreciate such jokes. Others try to get their laughs by bringing down "groups" of people. By race, by colour, by language, by religion and even by hair colour.

The message here is all about respect.

When we isolate ourselves into our common groups and use our cleverness to "secretly" or "publicly" attack others, we damage our ability to develop good working relationships. When we try not "to hurt others feelings", we often cause more pain than we would have by straight talk and without rancour. When we use our own "language" to communicate our jealousy or meanness towards those who communicate in other languages, we often isolate ourselves. When we joke in a manner that is sexual or which brings down other people, we bring ourselves, the listeners and our country down.

We live in a wonderful multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-spiritual land. All of our people have a right to respect and dignity. All of us have a duty to be respectful and dignified. One huge step of our journey, to a united land, will take place when begin to tell funny jokes that do not demean, or disrespect other people. And another gigantic step will take place when we talk straight, talk clearly and talk with respect.

And in this way we will ensure the success of organisations, International or South African and that teambuilding lasts. And workplace conflict is dramatically reduced.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How to remove workplace conflict, gossiping and backbiting in just 3 days; 7 easy steps to workplace harmony

How to remove workplace conflict, gossiping and backbiting in just 3 days; follow these 7 easy steps to workplace harmony, and your teams will manage their own challenges, allowing you to drastically improve production and the bottom line!

Teambuilding for Diverse teams, makes it easy to transform your team.
Are you a stressed-out Managing Director, Company Owner, Manager or Team Leader searching for a solution to interpersonal workplace conflict? Are you losing customers and money through:-

• Incessant Gossiping & Backbiting?
• Cross-cultural Clashes?
• Personality Conflicts?
• A lack of Professionalism and Accountability.

Create a safe stress-free work environment, in a teambuilding programme, by:-

Step 1.) Build respect
Set the ground rules. Keep the rules simple. Get a clear understanding of the rules. Enforce the rules. Reward respect, pro-activity and support.

Step 2.) Build understanding and communication
Team members come from different cultures, traditions, histories, genders and ages – these unique differences have the power to unite them. Get them sharing that which maakes them special. Create an environment of communication.

Step 3.) Build Teamwork
Develop the understanding and experience of teamwork, through interactive and exciting team processes. Let your team members experience their individual value, AND the value of their team mates.

Step 4.) Develop skills
Teach them basic communication skills through understanding learning and communications styles. Show them how to change their communication style for better results. take them through a team-based personality test and show them how to work with each other, differently, positively and more powerfully!

Step 5.) Guide your team to create their own peer-managed code of conduct
Remove these stresses from your workplace by getting your now-willing team, to manage workplace conflict for you! Get your team to create a interpersonal code of behavior and values to manage their own behavior!

Step 6.) Clearing all past conflicts
Set-up individual face-to-face private clearings to put past challenges behind them. And get them to sign a commitment to their team, the code of conduct AND agree to never mention their past challenges.

Step 7.)Get the team to manage their own professionalism, accountability and behavior.
Set-up brief and regular monthly meetings, based in the Code of Conduct.

Your team will praise & honor each other, build understanding, give support, bring guidance. AND send the defaulters to normal company discipline! help!

Your team can and will mutually decide and agree on acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Their “team-managed and ongoing relationship management program” will protect you, your team and your company/ organization from wasting time, managing and stressing out on inter-personal and inter-diversity challenges.

Place the challenges of workplace diversity management firmly in the hands of your team/s and let them manage interpersonal interactions, on an ongoing basis!

Remember, it can only take 7 steps and 3 days, to develop respect and united teamwork, within YOUR team!

Our multi-skilled, multi-lingual and multi-diverse International and South African Teambuilding facilitators , have successfully facilitated team-building and corporate training programs since 1989. And we have offered our services in the USA, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia!

Our clients include Namdeb Diamond Mining Corporation (2500 delegates) and have saved tens of thousands of dollars, through creating safe, respectful working environments with their teams. You can too.

Brian Moore
MD – Mthimkhulu International
“At the level of respect, all people are equal.”

Mobile: +27 82 5523352

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