Due to globalization, managers today have to handle the workforce that includes both domestic and foreign employees. This requires special skills to handle such a diverse workforce. Although there is no quick way to understand any given culture, here are some tips that would make you expert at cross cultural communication in business:
Get first-hand, direct experience of the culture
If you want to learn a new language, there is no other way but to immerse yourself in the language. Similarly, if you want to understand the culture, get immersed into it and understand what are the emotions attached with it. Understand the underlying and the deep meaning that lies within instead of simply reading a book about it.
Differences are not threat
A major hindrance to excelling cross cultural communication is business is perceiving differences as threat. It is quite significant to realize that there are differences in each culture and that only respecting these differences would remove the hindrance. At first, many habits of an individual will seem to be a threat to you. However, if you realize that this habit is nothing but a usual occurrence in a culture, the cultural differences might disappear.
Instead of noticing the difference, notice similarities
The first thing we notice while interacting with a foreigner is the cultural difference. How easy it is to forget that we are all made up of same material 98% of our bodily functions are same. The only difference in dialect and habits is due to the place of inhabitation.
Here are a few tips that can help you reduce these cross cultural differences in business :
- Learn opening and closing conversations of different languages. More than being respectful it is important to be culturally right. Some might consider it rude if you abruptly close a conversation. Besides, knowing how to open a conversation in different culture is a good ice-breaker and creates a feeling of oneness in the opposite party.
- Never demean the rituals or habits of a different culture. It may be wrong according to you, and what you do may be wrong according to them. Only accepting this will make it work.
- In our western countries, humor is a perfect icebreaker. However, laughing during conversations may be a disrespectful sign in other cultures. Learn the etiquettes of other cultures.