Communicating powerfully cross-culture without sounding tone-deaf

Tayo Rockson talks Sustainability on Green Dreamer Podcast with Kaméa Chayne

To inspire change in the world, we have to understand how to communicate respectfully and effectively cross-culture - especially in this day and age where everything we put out onto the internet can be accessed by people around the globe with differing worldviews, cultures, life experiences, etc. In this episode, 3-time TEDx Speaker whose mission is to help you "use your difference to make a difference" talks about the roots of a lot of the hatred and division in our world; how to disagree deeply but with positive, collaborative energy; what we need to reduce conflict so we can come together more powerfully to create positive change, and more. Let's dive in. 

This is a conversation on Green Dreamer Podcast with Kaméa Chayne, a show exploring environmental and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app and let’s learn what it takes to thrive in every sense of the word!


[02:05] What got Tayo to focus on elevating cross-cultural communication.

[2:10] Tayo: "By the time I was 17, I had lived in 5 countries in 4 continents." 

[06:40] Kaméa: "If there's one thing you learned about humankind from all your travels, what would it be?" 

[06:50] Tayo: "A lot of humans don't like things that are different from them. My work is as much about celebration of your personal worth and beauty as it is about celebrating diversity." 

[07:40] Tayo: "Even though hate and intolerance are easier emotions to tap into, I think we need to go into the love and open-mindedness aspects of that." 

[07:55] Tayo: "Instead of seeing things as equally good options, people see things as - my way is better than your way." 

[08:05] Tayo: "Europeans came over [to Africa], carved up the continent not based on tribes or anything. People were all of a sudden dislocated. Even though you were not supposed to be a country, they said 'this fits my resource needs, so we're going to put this year. England will take this, France will take that.' 

[08:25] Tayo: "A lot of people don't tap into the empathetic emotions we can have. We dehumanize more than we should humanize.

[08:40] Kaméa: How did you come to be a 3x TEDx Speaker and "Influencer to Watch"? 

[10:30] Tayo's near-death experience.

[11:40] Tayo: "I was the kid that wanted to change the world... I realized in the moment I hadn't done anything." 

[13:10] Tayo: "I wanted to answer the question: Why do we live in a globalized world, and still people don't know how to connect across cultures? It seemed like an interesting paradox I wanted to fix." 

[17:20] Tayo: "I was fired twice and broke multiple times. I needed to understand how I could attach my passion to a world problem." 

[18:20] Kaméa: What's the biggest mistake you see leaders make in terms of communication that detracts from the message they're trying to get across? 

[18:27] Tayo: "Some leaders operate only on good intentions, but they forget the inclusiveness in that… It's the lack of listening." 

[21:30] Tayo: "It's not that we're saying - don't connect with like-minded people. It's that we want you to get used to the idea of equally as good alternatives.

[22:30] Kaméa: "Even among change-makers all with good intentions, people disagree on the approach. How can we disagree deeply without having negative feelings bubble?" 

[26:10] Kaméa: "What does our world need most today for there to be less conflict and more collaboration?" 

[26:20] Tayo: "Educate, not perpetuate, instead communicate."

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Tayo Rockson

Final Tips

To follow: Will Smith and The Rock

Words of Inspiration: "If I don't do this, who doesn't get to hear my message?" 

Self-care action: Mind, body, spirituality. 

Green tip: Put a smile on five people's faces. 

Element of hope: Social media galvanizing people.   

Two Takeaways