Communicating Across Cultures
Many global organizations have classes on cross cultural communication or how to live abroad, but What exactly constitutes cross-cultural communication problems?
Well , The Salt Lake Tribune has taken the initiative to define these terms. Cross-Cultural miscommunication is about not fully understanding the nuances of a different culture. What exactly do we mean by nuance, well the non-verbal and verbal messages other cultures use.
An example that was give is if one person uses a tenative tone of voice in a business conversation. To the sender it may seem normal and even expected, but to the receiver it can be interpreted as arrogant.
However, it is not usually the nuances of divergent cultures that are the problem, it is the result of misunderstanding them in that the message the sender is trying to give is lost.
How Do We Fix Communication Problems?
A good place to start is to Define Terms correctly. Do not take for granted that a businessman from a different country sees ideas, concepts, and plans exactly as you do even if you work in the same industry.
The article goes on to note that you should “make sure you take the time to explore which terms could be confused.”
For example, if you are speaking to someone about additional research that you would like to be done you should make sure to clearly define what you mean about research, “So, to make sure we are both using the same definition of the term ‘research,’ might I share that my understanding is that research is spending about $1000,000 to interview 1,000 people? Is that your understanding as well?”
Humintell undertands that miscommunciation in a global society today can be very unfortunate. It’s important to understand that culture does not always mean different ethnic groups. Every group has its own culture.
Try IntelliCulture our cross-culture adaption course. This course helps you understand exactly what culture is, how it influences behavior and how to think critically when encountered with a difficult cultural situation.
Having good cultural awareness is not just for the business traveler. With global interactions taking place everyday in varying ways it is just as important for the average person to understand and apprecite cultural differences.
IntelliCutlure is perfect for business men or women, college students, teachers, lawyers and even doctors.