Intercultural Communication


The “Con” in Consent and Other Agreements!

The “Con” in Consent and Other Agreements!

“con” as found in consent – is also known as to deceive, bamboozle (love that), swindle, cheat, fool, mislead, sweet-talk, trick, double-cross and rip-off. It dates back to the 1500’s which was frequently used in establishing the “pros and cons” of something which, going back to its roots, means that “con” is against, in opposition to and opposed to.

“con-sent” comes from the Latin “comsentire” – “com” = with and “sentire” = to feel in other words to feel together, agree or give permission.

The weakness in “con-sent” is that the content of the “con” can be stronger than, or even work against, the feeling of together-ness and mutual agreement. “Con” can be you giving someone, albeit unwittingly (unintentionally), the permission to “con” you. Or someone can allow you to do something but work against you and hold you in contempt (mock, scorn or be disrespectful).

And then, more often than not, the agreement becomes a “dis”. Con-sent ends in dis-agreement, dis-con-tent, dis-approval, dis-sent, dis-pute, an eventual dis-allowance filled with regret and dis-appointment that leads to dis-integration of all that was meant and intended well. Ouch!

Think about this when negotiating or trying to reach consensus with individuals and also with close friends or family members. A lot of agree-ing might be happening only because the need to be liked or accepted is greater than the possible dis-satisfaction later.

Consider the amount of “con” you communicate and con-tribute in your interactions and activities. If there is more dis-appointment and dis-sent than you care to deal with, you can change the way you say “yes” to things.

Want to know more? Contact me here. Remember: words have power and the right words empower! 



Holy Cow(s)!, trumpery and Holi-days! A msg of Peace.

2016? Holy cow! It’s been a ride of “deestings”, unabashed trumpery, distractions and Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

Remember me telling you at the beginning of this year that sex and taking drugs, eating sleeping and doing good deeds had this “gimme more” effect. That you should get addicted to good deeds and the more you do it the more you want it? Do you remember my 3 to do’s and 5 reminders to help get you what you want? No? Then go here before you go making any new resolutions. Yes? Good. I’ll be adding a few more life hacks to those. Read on.

This 2482 word reflection is a no bullshit message of peace containing

– colorful cows, female distractions and other fun and sexy life lessons

– idiotic idiomatic and old English expressions

– a pre-view of a good book to read

– 4 tips on how to get others to start a sparkly collaboration revolution with you

– a peace mantra

all from an expat-in-India perspective.

You know what it’s like. Come the end of anything you start looking back, taking stock and perhaps, reflecting. Read more


“Being Nice Isn’t Enough!” gets invited to the UNWG


Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

How to cut the niceties and get to real collaboration!

It’s official. It’s been announced!

I have been invited to do a keynote on why “Being Nice Isn’t Enough” (my new in the “sending-to-publishers-phase” book) when wanting to cultivate real cross-cultural competence, conversation and collaboration at…
wait for it…
the United Nations Women’s Group in Vienna, on the 21st of September 2016!

That’s BIG and (even if I say so myself) awesomely EXCITING!

OK, I must also admit that I am having a whole lot of fun today! Fun Friday!

I have been in the process of uncluttering my website and putting in the key message of all messages. The Being Nice Isn’t Enough! book/keynote/seminar/coaching message.
I have also been having fun with rewording my “about” page and found the words “rebel” and “sparkplug” and I want to “SALT” sparkplug everywhere to describe myself and what I do. A sparkly sparkplug!

More about my current work and writing…
“Being Nice Is Not Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration.” is aimed at the business reader who is working with culturally diverse teams or across borders “Being Nice Is Not Enough!” is going to change the way you communicate and connect with people – simply by mirroring and undoing some of your habits, bias’, patterns and language that no longer serves you! The unconscious internal glitches – that contribute to conflict rather than collaboration – that should get dumped in the ditches. (Thank you to my coach and mentor Kate Emmerson)

“Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration”, an international personal/leadership skills and (non-generic) business communication book is also written for non-academic readers including non-native English speakers involved in international interactions. Without “dumb-ing” it down too much “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration” is written in a narrative and witty tongue-in-cheek style. It is a merging of my real-time “put-my-foot-in-it” trip-ups and intercultural feaux pas’ over the past 25+ years (yes I’m that experienced) of personal and international business experiences with my later studies and research on the fascinating albeit, at times, painfully embarrassing topic. The fact that I (and my son) were born into a post-apartheid culturally and politically changing South Africa also provides me with an experientially packed classroom! A wanderlust and attraction for the unknown fuelled by opportunities to work and live in foreign countries fill the chapters of “Being Nice Isn’t Enough!” This book provides humanly erring insights, reflections and practical answers to some of your cross-cultural questions – by undoing unhelpful habits and replacing them with good old guiding principles. An absolute must read when it hits the shelves!
I host “no-buts-kick-butt” authentically sparkplug keynote talks, seminars, team workshops and personal coaching on “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration.” Get me, get us!

SALT logo_n


C#3 – Cross-cultural consciousness


consciousness vs. disregard

Consciousness vs. disregard describes one person who is aware and mindful that others from different backgrounds share the same values and have different ways of doing things, and disregard describes another person who demonstrates disinterest and detachment in their dealings or interactions with others from different countries.

This “disregard” only gives others the perception that you are (maybe) inconsiderate, biased and narrow minded when, in fact, you are not? Or are you? Is that how you want others to “see” you?

Or, do you get others? “Getting” others – is the ability to demonstrate a conscious “listening for” (not to), a consciously empathetic understanding for and good basic knowledge of other cultures. Can you?

Talking at, telling, instructing and using imperatives does not invite anyone into dialogue and shows a disregard for their involvement, worth and values. Are you doing this?

Are you showing consciousness? If yes, fantastic – you are a born cross-cultural collaborator! If not, don’t go into hiding!

Get me to help you become a cross-cultural collaborator with consciousness, courage and curiosity!


Cross-Cultural Collaboration & Communication

Cross-Cultural Collaboration & Communication

Good manners, sharing a common language and Being Nice (simply) Isn’t Enough to ensure success in your cross-cultural collaboration.

Cross-cultural Collaboration 

  • goes deeper than a “when in Rome do as the Romans do” attitude
  • can only happen through connection and clarity in conversation
  • starts with looking at your own mindset, beliefs, fears and attitude.
  • means having a deeper understanding your own culture and values

This is easier said than done. Many well intended “universal” applications like being nice, treating everyone the same, sharing a common language and expert technical know-how – that worked out well in one setting – turn out badly or fail completely in another.

Expensive business suits, corporate smiles and fancy titles don’t guarantee collaboration. Success in your own domestic market doesn’t guarantee it in another. Breakdowns in communication and collaboration happen and well planned business dealings go wrong. Why?

Get your Intercultural Communication Competence brochure!

Cross-Cultural Savvy means you…

  • have core competencies in profiling people and cultures
  • strive for clarity in your communication
  • can focus on goals but are flexible on approaches
  • are able to balance transparency with harmony
  • are open to learn from others and appreciate diversity
  • inclusive in your dealings – no “us” vs. “them”
  • eager to co-create new ideas and solutions, and
  • can prevent, resolve  and create trust in conflict

What happens?

  • We activate the Connect. Communicate. Co-create. action by delivering content designed with passion!
  • We make your knowledge acquisition experiential and therefore memorable!
  • We create bespoke illustrated company relevant handbooks containing expert solutions for your unique requirements.

Who is this for?

You. Your team or company.Especially if you are an international project manager or business leader in charge of culturally diverse teams.

What you get

If you are interested in getting personal C-CS coaching contact Hester.

If you are interested in getting C-CS for your team or company you will get our:

  • Passion Planning Program. This includes bespoke solutions designed specifically for your company/team such as survey analysis, consultation, seminars/workshops and follow-up coaching sessions.
  • Storytelling – the Training Program which includes

    keynote talks, seminars/workshops boosted with real time graphic recording and visualisation of content if you want.

  • Visual Wording – the Handout Program which is a company relevant handbook containing your very own intercultural encounters, with practical how to’s and explanations, as well as illustrations.


About Hester


30 years (or nearly 60 000hrs) international business experience in sales and marketing (cosmetic and pharmaceutical); tertiary education, the financial and construction sectors with:

  • 60% of my activities dedicated to training (corporate, colleges and universities; SA, SEA and EU);
  • 30% dedicated to coaching, consulting and mediation;
  • 10% dedicated to doing keynote talks and presentations.


Hester is a speaker and story strategist, communication craftsperson, cross-cultural connector, and change activist. She possesses a uniquely fresh “street-kid” savvy which allows her to share her bold yet refreshing coaching approach with her corporate clients all over the world.

She has vast experience in training, coaching, consulting, mediation and more recently key note speaking on the subject of cross cultural communication and co-working.  She was also commissioned to write a book, The Flying Rhino’s Guide to Intercultural Communication by a leading international cardboard and paper manufacturer in 2015.

Born South African, she has lived and worked in South East Asia, the EU, and CEE. Her current address is in India on a “writing sabbatical”. By the age of ten she had logged more than 10 000 unaccompanied flying miles and as a young person spoke on a local radio shows telling about her solo travels to far off destinations and, she remains an inspiring and uplifting storyteller.

Here the long and the short of her story. You can also get more of her insights and musings on fb.

Her black on white qualifications: Neuro-Science and Neuro-Leadership; Systemic Coaching; Conflict Mediator; Social and Life Counsellor; Business English Trainer (CELTA/LCCI London Chamber of Commerce ARELS-CERT TEB); Dipl. in Marketing Management; Dipl. in Management And Sales Training.


As per a questionnaire that went around on fb not too long ago:

♥ Tattoo? No Piercings? Yes 3 – in earlobes Married/Divorced? Experience in both Children? Yes a beautiful son! Operations? Yes Prison? Not telling Weapons? Fired a rifle on my grand-daddy’s farm and now have a very unique thumb print on my left thumb. Left/walked out of a job? Yes Fired staff? Yes ♥ Been Fired? Yes, thank goodness! Awards/Distinctions? Not telling – I might put you off contacting me Have you seen the moon from the Equator? Almost, Kuala Lumpur is very close to it and I lived and worked in Malaysia for almost 6 years! Awesome! Flown in a helicopter? Yes, with my son and 2 spaniels! ♥ Converted? Many times – foolishly – keep converting back to myself, like this version best! Cried over somebody? Oh yes! Often! Been in love? Oh yes, with the ones I cried over! ♥ Skipped school? Sure! You? Been in an ambulance? Yes, after a diving accident Been to the Amazon? – no but Bornean jungles and climbed up the highest mountain in SEA – Mt Kinabalu. ♥ Been in a TV show? Not yet Been on a radio show? Yes, as a kid. Won something? Not the lottery but some very precious friends ♥ Caught snowflakes with your tongue? Yes ♥ Animals? let’s not go there – will take up the whole page – love rhinos! ♥ Ridden a motorbike? Yes Ridden a horse? Prefer motorbikes ♥ Do you donate blood? Yes because I am O-neg and once had to wait 24 hours for blood. ♥ Do you love what you do? What kind of a question is that?

♥ What do you do? Click here

♥ Want to know more? Get me here



cultivating competence = cultivating confidence = success!


“Competencia” (Latin) means  agreement and symmetry – a congruence.

Competence is having the ability to confidently bring your know-how, experience (savvy) and communication style – into congruence. Now that’s a skill!


When a stick gets stuck while floating down a river, it doesn’t need years of therapy. It simply needs a nudge to get back into the flow of the water. ~ Michael Neill.

This is what I do. I nudge. Through questions, reflections and feedback.

Sport champions have coaches to help them win. Managers have mentors to help them lead. Students have teachers to help them pass. Who do you have?

With skills coaching and training you will

  •  benefit from our exchange to extend your range of competencies by integrating and mastering specific skills
  •  get feedback and gain from flexible option based thinking that cultivates certainty in the things you want, say and do
  •  feel in flow – large and in charge, with clarity to turn your ideas and dreams into reality!

which you acquire through…

  • experiential learning which is the acquisition of new ideas that you relate to through visual wording, illustrated content and inspiring exchange!

  • attainability – which is the realistic do-able approach to adapt, integrate and apply your new skills immediately!

  • measurability – you can evaluate and tweak your success and personal performance on an ongoing basis.

These skills will equip you to live your life with a rebellious curiosity to recognise and get what makes you happy!

I am a reach-beyond-your-limits life and communication enthusiast. A success coach and idea generator who helps aspiring and adventurous people like you to transform your personal and professional lives. If money, time, place and privacy are preventing you from getting the coaching or training you need please contact me. I can offer you a PWYW – pay what you want program and Skype is my current method of coaching. If you send me an email put PWYW as subject.



Connect. Communicate. Co-create.


I support people in cultivating cross-cultural collaboration through clarity in conversation.

My work in

South Africa, South East Asia, India and the European Union

has shown me that

  – real interpersonal connection can only happen through open curiosity and clarity of intention –

   – intercultural savvy  goes beyond sharing a common language and “being nice” –

   – your cross-cultural success relies on how well you know yourself –    

   – competence creates confidence and credibility –

I Thoroughly Enjoy…

writing ♥ connecting ♥ co-creating ♥ business mentoring ♥ coaching & facilitating


Why I do what I do

To facilitate a change for the better people need to change their thinking and to change collective thinking demands a change in the conversations they are having. This leads to a “rewiring” of the brain (mindsets) and ultimately generates new (and better) behaviors.

What I do

In a nutshell? “cultura”(Latin) which comes from the verb “colo” or “colere” means to tend, care, look after and cultivate. Culture is the way things get done around “here” and the way things get done over “there”. I support people in bringing their ways of doing things, together – a.k.a team alignment. I tend to, look after and cultivate cross-cultural collaboration through clarity in intention and conversation.

What others say

They say you’ll get excited, inspired to “get moving” by my frank yet encouraging no-buts, kick-butt style!

Latest Newsletter:

Clarity for 2020 – Create Your Own Crazy Vision!  A paced series of thought provoking questions to create reflection and clarity on having, changing, doing and being anything you want to be in a new decade that promises plenty!