Within the business context, cross cultural communication refers to interpersonal communication and interaction across different cultures.
This has become an important issue in our age of globalization and internationalization. Effective cross cultural communication is concerned with overcoming cultural differences across nationality, religion, borders, culture and behavior.
Cross cultural communication is critical to the business world. The diversity of people in cities and countries means an element of cross cultural communication will always be needed whether it is between staff, colleagues, customers or clients. Awareness of cultural differences can favorably impact the success of a business. Improved staff interaction, better customer relations and effective client management are all areas that will reap benefits through cross cultural understanding.
Although cross cultural communication competency can only be truly achieved through cross cultural awareness training, language acquisition, foreign travel and cultural immersion there are some guidelines that can enhance your cross cultural communication skills.
Cross Cultural Communication needs …Listening Skills
Although emphasis usually lies on being a competent speaker, listening is a key skill that many business personnel do not exercise enough. For cross cultural communication, attentive listening is critical to be able to understand meanings, read between the lines and enable to empathize with the speaker.
Cross Cultural Communication needs…Speaking Skills
Listening and speaking must work in tandem for effective cross cultural communication. Speaking well is not about accent, use of grammar and vocabulary or having the gift of the gab. Rather, cross cultural communication is enhanced through positive speech such as encouragement, affirmation, recognition and phrasing requests clearly or expressing opinions sensitively.
Cross Cultural Communication needs… Observation
Large amounts of cross cultural information can be read in people’s dress, body language, interaction and behavior. Be aware of differences with your own culture and try to understand the roots of behaviors. Asking questions expands your cross cultural knowledge.
Cross Cultural Communication needs… Patience
Man has been created differently and we need to recognize and understand that sometimes cross cultural differences are annoying and frustrating. In these situations patience is definitely a virtue. Through patience respect is won and cross cultural understanding is enhanced.
Cross Cultural Communication needs …Flexibility
Flexibility, adaptability and open-mindedness are the route to successful cross cultural communication. Understanding, embracing and addressing cross cultural differences leads to the breaking of cultural barriers which results in better lines of communication, mutual trust and creative thinking.
Following these five cross cultural communication needs will allow for improved lines of communication, better cross cultural awareness and more successful cross cultural relationships.