This week we had the chance to hear from Frank Roby, a true global communications leader. Roby is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Concero Global, an advisory firm based in Dallas. Roby, an SMU alum, recently also took on the role of being the CEO of Empower African Children, an organization serving orphans and other vulnerable children in Uganda.
Roby started out by telling us about his background and how a “Public Communication” student from SMU went on to being the CEO of two international organizations, including his 35 year tenure at Homes Murphy. While we discussed various global concerns with Roby, including the Palestine-Israel conflict and the British Petroleum oil spill one year ago, the one thing that I took away from his lecture was that “it’s less about the message we can send and more about the message someone else can receive.
The point of that stance, according to Roby, was that communicators today tend to focus more on the message that is being sent instead of the receiver’s understanding of it. “It is an inherent problem in today’s communication sphere,” Roby said. “We care more about using fancy diction and looking at things as they would be accepted by us.”
Having lived in India for over nine years of my life, I couldn’t agree more with Roby. I can remember the culture shock I went through when I first moved here. Things that meant one thing back in India meant something completely different in the United States. I remember my teacher thanking me for something I did in fourth grade, just months after I had moved here. I responded with “mention not,” which is commonly used in India instead of “you’re welcome.” She was confused and pulled me aside after class to ask me why I didn’t want to talk about the incident. Needless to say, the cultural difference in this situation got the best of both of us.
I would like to leave you all, once again, with a cartoon which I find pretty relevant to the topic. Enjoy!