Stanford-Uppsala Video Conference on Leadership

Today students from Stanford University, U.S.A. and Uppsala University, Sweden, connected via video conferencing to discuss a series of speeches on different topics:

  • Leadership and Cultural Identity
  • Religious Worldviews
  • Gender and Politics
  • Climate Change

As a response to this post, students please comment on the outcomes of your video exchange, including what you learned about rhetoric and global leadership as well as perhaps a memorable moment that your globally distributed team shared.  Finally, please also reflect on what you learned that you might apply to your own future speaking and leadership activities.

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8 Responses to Stanford-Uppsala Video Conference on Leadership

  1. Obama and Reinfeldt says:

    Hi, our names are Johan, Madeleine and Sven.

    Obama could be more natural and conversational when he addresses the American people or the international community. He also plays on the
    religious values of the American people by saying “God Bless America” which is more common in America than in Sweden. It would be strange
    for other cultures such as Sweden to hear their prime minister say “God Bless Sweden.” It is important for Obama to address people on an
    international level and change his rhetoric appeal accordingly to fit a broader audience. Also, the American flag in the background is a
    patriotic symbol for Americans, however in Sweden, the national flag is not commonly used in politics. Obama also plays on his campiagn
    persona by using slogans such as , “I know we can” and “The change will come” in his speech to relay the idea that we are making progress
    through his reforms and to not lose faith in him as a leader. He repeats these slogans to keep his message consistent and to reassure
    people that a change will come eventually.

    In prime minister’s Reinfeldt’s interview, Reinfeldt’s rhetoric did not get the chance to get through to the audience mainly because the
    interviewer was trying to lead him in a certain direction. Reinfeldt had to be assertive in his answers to the interviewer because the
    interviewer appeared to have had an attacking tone. Reinfeldt wants to influence the UK to include the smaller countries in the EU through
    his rhetoric. In addition, Reinfeldt set himself apart from other countries by taking the initiative to stand out and lend a helping hand
    to the smaller countries. This rhetoric of leadership worked to his benefit during the interview.

    It is difficult to compare the two rhetorical situations because the two speakers were in two completely different scenarios. Obama was in
    a scenario where he was able to speak freely, whereas Reinfeldt was in an interview setting where his rhetoric was under pressure and was
    bounded by the questions that were being asked of him.

  2. Stanford Group D says:

    We learned a lot about how political rhetoric in Sweden. We thoguht it was particularly interesting in finding the difference between America’s “overloaded pathos” with Sweden’s fatherly and traditional approach to politics.

  3. Stanford Group D says:

    Memorable Moment – Connecting over South Park and SNL

    What we learned – Don’t be over the top with pathos, but don’t abandon pathos either (i.e. David Keith).

  4. Group D, Uppsala says:

    Inspiring and developing activity. Great with a real-time conversation to develop arguments, a lot more fun than corresponding by e-mails. Nice to breifly discuss gender issues/ethnicity issues by referring to certain lines in the Al Gore speech. Very nice Stanford students.

    Looking forward to the next time.

  5. Alyssa, Sal, Marianne says:

    We really enjoyed our cross-cultural communication experience. It was interesting learning not only about the perspective of the Swedish students on Obama. It was interesting to discuss the cultural differences, and how this impacts rhetorical strategies. Perhaps the most memorable discussion was when we talked about religion, and the way in which the United States emphasizes religious values while Sweden does not. It was also interesting to hear about the role of the flag in both cultures. In the United States, the flag is viewed as a patriotic political symbol, whereas the flag in Sweden is patriotic but is rarely used in politics.

  6. We learned about the lack of passion in Swedish politics, and their politics, generally, seem to be more reserved. Swedish female politicians don’t need to prove themselves during their speeches like American female politicians do. A memorable moment was when we discovered that we engage in common college practices. When speaking to an international audience, we won’t have religious connotations.

  7. Group B Thursday says:

    This video conference session was an interesting experience because we got to learn a different perspective on a rhetorical strategy that we had already discussed. There were some common themes that applied to any audiance, but the devices used to convey the message could have been changed. One audiance could be more open to hearing “x” message from their leader, while another needs a “y” message. In discussions with our sweedish colleagues, we were able to figure out what rhetorical strageries work for thier countrymen vs. what works, here, in the United States. Our favorite realizations came when we discussed the rhetoric of China and differing perceptions across the globe.

  8. Group C, Uppsala says:

    It was very intersting to discover that we could discuss rhetorics using the same basics. It was a fun experience and a good way of practicing our English. It was a bit surprising that we had been focusing on the same details in the speeches, since our countries has quite different rhetorical traditions.

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