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Cross cultural communications: How to understand and adapt your behaviours?

 

Businesses have gone multinational and there is a huge shift in the way of doing business across the globe with the advent of online and international business. The workplaces of today have rapidly grown and become vast. Expatriates and people doing business across borders should be proactive and well informed about the culture of the people they are interacting with. A clear understanding of the cultures and knowing some basic or frequently used words can help in communicating effectively.

 

Modern technology and internet have made international transactions simple and reduced international trade complications to a great extent. More people are promoting businesses regularly as new markets have opened up for business across all cultures and geographical locations. Technology has also made it possible to facilitate easy conversations between people through language translation software and language conversion dictionaries. Cross Cultural Communication Trainings available online gives clear insights to appropriate ways to behave and communicate among cross cultures.  Electronic communication has made communication and networking as easy as working with someone in the neighbourhood or next town.

 

Why would someone limit himself by working with a location that has lesser demand and workforce rather than a location that has greater demand and can have easy access to most knowledgeable people in the entire world or the highest quality resources?

 

A multicultural workplace brings a lot of communication challenges. There are some cultural differences between employees located in various regions or organizations speak the same language. For example: English speakers in the US have differences in accent, spelling and pronunciation. Communication can be optimized between such cultures if these cultural differences are considered. People should have a mutual understanding of communicating with cultures to reap the benefits of a diverse workplace. An organizational work culture that is common to people of all cultures is being adopted by a majority of companies across the globe. Effective cross-cultural communication starts with a basic understanding of cultural diversity.  This can start by knowing the basic differences between cultures that are totally from our culture.

 

Better communication with individuals and groups who totally differ from our culture should be analysed carefully by paying attention to every detail. Below mentioned are some of the aspects to be considered while communicating among cross cultures:

 

Greetings and physical contact: This can become critical if a basic study and understanding of cultures is not present. For example, kissing a business associate with one peck on each cheek is an acceptable greeting in Paris but the same will not be acceptable in gulf countries. A firm handshake that is widely accepted in the U.S which is not recognized in all other cultures.

 

Ambiguity: The ways of seeing, thinking and interpreting are different in different cultures. There is a possibility of misunderstanding where languages are different and similar words can have two different or sometimes opposite meanings in different languages and cultures.

 

Attitude of Acceptance and Flexibility: Some people tend to void exposure or experience of the host culture as this might not be favourable for their culture or due to an attitude of introversion. This results in developing a closed mindset and learn and ignorance to learn and adapt to the new culture which will give rise to cultural shock and spoiling of business relationships.

 

Ethnocentrism: Assuming that own groups culture is right and moral. Considering other cultures as inferior can spoil and bring an end to a business relationship even before it starts. It is often an unconscious behaviour which is realised after reacting. It is always necessary to consider respecting a totally opposite culture or establishing a path that builds a favourable climate among such cultures. Cross Cultural Awareness Training conducted by people who have a practical experience of dealing with different cultures can be very helpful with practical approaches.