5 Helpful Strategies for Cross Cultural Communication at Work

Fostering Cross Cultural Communication at Work

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 9 August 2016 |

cross cultural communicationAs the world becomes more global, and colleges become even more diverse, it’s essential that teams know how to communicate—and communicate well.

Because the odds are, you are already working with someone who isn’t native to your country or your culture. And unfortunately, these cultural differences can drive people apart and create a hostile working environment.

But with these helpful strategies, you’ll be on your way to communicating effectively with your coworkers and supervisors that come from another culture—or even the ones from your same culture!

1. Breakdown Biases

Even if we don’t think we would judge someone based on a stereotype, the truth is that we all do it. And most of the time it happens unconsciously. The thing is that these biases can color how we interact with our coworkers—especially ones from other cultures.

It’s important that we recognize negative stereotypes and break them down so that we can move past them when interacting with people on campus.

2. Have Some Patience

One of the most frequent problems of cross cultural communication is language barriers. One person speaks a language fluently, while another might still be learning it. And it’s especially difficult when meaning gets lost in translation or there are cultural-specific colloquialisms that only native speakers can understand.

That’s why it’s important to have patience when you are speaking with someone who doesn’t natively speak the same language as you. Don’t get frustrated when you might have to explain something multiple times. Think of it as a way you can educate this person about your culture. Plus, teaching them about (work appropriate!) popular expressions can be a fun way to bond as a team.

3. Be Open to Ideas

As we know, people in different cultures are often just like us, but then there are some very prominent differences. So keep that in mind when it comes to brainstorming ideas.

For example, someone from a different culture might have a totally different viewpoint from you, but other people from their culture will certainly relate. And that will only make your team stronger when you can do something that resonates with more people.

4. Make the Effort

It can sometimes be intimidating to reach out to someone that doesn’t speak your language. Or someone that you are unsure if you can relate to, but it’s worth it—and important—to make the effort anyway.

Because the truth is, they are probably more worried about fitting in with you if they are in the minority. And it will go a long way toward building trust among your team when you make the effort to ask questions and get to know someone.

5. Get Informed

It’s also important to inform yourself about their culture—especially if you are a supervisor. For example, some cultures value individuality, while others value the group. Effective cross communication means you need to be aware of these types of cultural differences.

Plus, it makes it easier on the other person if you are at least somewhat familiar with things about their culture, such as holidays, greeting types, food preferences and scheduling.  

Key Takeaways

Effective communication takes work—especially cross cultural communication. It’s not going to happen overnight, but once you get started, it’s well worth the effort.

And definitely make sure to use all the resources at your disposal to help facilitate better communication, such as cross cultural communication training.

If you would like to learn more about our diversity and inclusion training courses, fill out the form to schedule a demo today.

 

comments powered by Disqus

Request a Demo