Top 3 Tips for An effective Cross-Cultural Communication
By Imane Mdarhri
Cross-cultural communication is the link that gathered humanity. The world has lived through wars, conflicts also crises, which have contributed to creating various cultural and social differences. Through this article, you will discover the 3 Tips for an effective Cross-Cultural communication, both in social life and the workplace.
Nowadays, we still live under the pressure of those historical conflicts. Either in the form of prejudices, stereotypes, or beliefs, humanity faces a lot of backlog challenges which complicated the process of building harmony through effective Cross-cultural communication. Despite the intense efforts made by NGOs like UNESCO or Exchange programs like Erasmus, cultural themes do not yet integrate international discourse.
Besides, Workplace cross-cultural communication is just one aspect of an organization’s communication strategy. Still, it is the main aspect where biases or misunderstandings can create serious problems; especially that professional success is directly linked with the effectiveness of our communicational skills. According to a cultural consultant, “Collectively, the entire cultural system encourages, legitimizes, and rewards a set of core cultural values. Thus, comparing differences in cultural values is the most efficient method of understanding cultural differences”.
Mainly, being culturally different does not refer, that we are strangers or enemies. Siblings can show cultural differences in their beliefs or habits. Hence, comparing those differences in a respectful way converts varieties into richness.
Part of being simple is speaking slowly. It may be strange if you are using your native language or accent. Yet, it can be complicated for a foreigner to understand. Which interrupt communication and create a misunderstanding. Also, the use of close questions- Yes/No questions can block or limit the development of ideas. For example, in some cultures, it is difficult or embarrassing to answer in the negative, so you will always get a ‘yes’ even if the real answer is ‘no’. So, I recommend keeping your tone simple, direct, and respectful; friendly too if necessary, and writing things downs if necessary to make it clear.
In a multicultural context, using slang, an informal discourse, or humor can be a sign of non-respect or create an underestimation, especially in the first meetings. Further, greeting, dress code, and language formalities like “Herr and Frau” in German versus “Family and Given name” in china are small details which make a huge difference to maintain a healthy relationship. Therefore, it is preferable to research and learn a few ethics of your target culture to keep things positive.
Active listening is an effective tip to advance any form of cross-cultural communication. Whenever you listen deeply to catch the whole meaning, have a sense of reading-between-lines, and ask open questions, you will build a strong rapport and ensures that important information does not get missed.
“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”Miguel de Cervantes
In brief, cultural harmony may appear like an ideal dream. Yet, the absurd here does not require being literarily similar. It is simply living, acting, and reacting under humanitarian values that will give you peace of mind and bring into the world a generation or a community that crosses the borders and breaks the barriers using a colorful passport called “Humanity”.