10 essential elements to communicating with people from other cultures

Helen Blythe Avatar

21 July 2017
Written by Helen Blythe Linked-in icon

Culture is a fascinating thing. We all have one, we’ve all grown up in one and some of us have even grown up in several different ones. The environment, values, experiences that form the basis of culture are the things that shape who we are, how we see the world and our preferences.

Now though, with so many companies working globally and across different locations, we’re expected to be able to instantly communicate with people who may have a very different outlook to ours. So how can you do that?

A diverse group of poeple in discussion.

  

Unfortunately there’s no easy step-by-step guide for being able to communicate with those from another culture, however there are some helpful tips to bear in mind to help you when you’re talking to or working with others from a different region or country. For effective cross-cultural communication, a person needs to:

  • Recognise own dominant cultural assumptions
  • Become sensitive to 'invisible' cultural differences
  • Appreciate the value that differences can bring
  • Accept alternative means of achieving shared objectives
  • Avoid stereotyping and generalisations
  • Relate to the individual and develop respectful relationships
  • Demonstrate patience, tolerance, empathy, politeness and respect
  • Recognise non-verbal clues in communication
  • Appreciate FACE – avoid belittling others or causing them discomfort
  • Listen actively and ask questions

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