Cross Cultural Communication

RBS BoothCamp in Rome 2021

The Today’s workplace expands very quickly, especially to include various geographic locations and span numerous cultures. What can be difficult, however, is understanding how to communicate effectively with individuals who speak another language, or who rely on different means to reach a common goal.

Cross Cultural Communication is the new norm!

The internet and modern technology have opened up new marketplaces that allow us to promote our businesses to new geographic locations and cultures. And given that it can now be as easy to work with people remotely as it is to work face-to-face, cross-cultural communication is increasingly the new norm.

After all, if communication is electronic, it’s as easy to work with someone in another country as it is to work with someone in the next town so why limit yourself to work with people within convenient driving distance when, you can work with the most knowledgeable people in the entire world?

In this new world, good cross-cultural communication is a must.

Given the different cultural contexts, this brings new communication challenges to the workplace. Even when employees are located in the same offices but comes from different nationalities. So there are some cultural differences that should be considered in an effort to optimize communications between the two parties. We must all learn how to better communicate with individuals and groups whose first language, or language of choice, does not match our own.

During or International BoothCamp session 2021, we had the pleasure to learn from Katia Hansel – Business Results Coach and one of our professors of the Master in Human Resources Management, Marketing and Sales, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, we deepened our knowledge of the key components of Cross Cultural Communication.

Main topics covered during the International class

Broaden personal and collective horizons

Becoming more open-minded can be as simple as learning more about an idea that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Being exposed to new viewpoints and making the effort to understand them can have an impact on the quality of the decision that can be taken to move forward on a project.

Fundamental of Cross Cultural Communication

Cross-Cultural Communication Skills are vital in the business world today. The business professionals who works in an International arena with individuals from a wide range of diverse backgrounds and cultures have to learn to communicate efficiently in a culturally diverse environment. Therefore, it’s important for business professionals to develop cultural intelligence (CQ) fostering the EQ, the emotional intelligence by learning more about oneself to create better relationships with others.  

Cultural Intelligence for a Better World

The demand for multilingual employees is growing, though having people from many different cultures and backgrounds can creates conflict, misunderstandings and biases. A true skillset of self-awareness, empathy, leadership, effective communication and effective team work is required to grow a true multicultural working environment able to have a significant impact on the daily life of the society.

Unconscious and conscious biases

Each culture has its own biases, that can be conscious or unconscious. Is important to recognize them when they occur to us:

Assumption of similarities: Our tendency to think how we behave and act is the universally accepted rule of behaviour. When someone differs, we have a negative view of them.

Language Differences: Problems occur when there is an inability to understand what the other is saying because of the different language spoken. But talking the same language itself can sometimes lead to discrepancies as some words have different meanings in various contexts, countries or cultures.

Nonverbal Misinterpretation: The way we dress, the way we express ourselves through our body language, eye contact and gestures also communicates something. A simple gesture like nodding the head is considered to be YES in certain cultures and NO in others

Preconceptions and Stereotypes: Stereotypes involves judging people according to how we think they are or should be. It may consist of a set of characteristics that we assume that all members of a group share. This may be true or may be false. But stereotypes may lead to wrongful expectations and notions. A preconceived opinion of another can lead to bias and discrimination.

Tendency to evaluate: Humans tend to give a sense to the behaviour and communication of others by analysing them from one’s own cultural point of view without taking into consideration why the other person is behaving or communicating a certain way.

High anxiety: Sometimes the comparison with a different cultural perspective will create an anxious state in an individual who doesn’t know how to act or behave in a certain situation.

Understanding across borders, enhancing efficiency and performance

Another important step to improve cross-cultural communication in the workplace is to become more culturally and self-aware. This starts by making a conscious attempt to empathize with your audience and gain a better understanding of their point of view.

Throughout this process, you should be asking how your mission and company values are defined, whether or not they are inclusive, and whether the team’s various cultures have been taken into account. This analysis will give a good idea of the state of your corporate culture, including areas in your organizational communication strategy that can be improved to better serve your team members and achieve your goals.

Cultural Intelligence is a crucial point in a company’s life and work. It entails topics like the DRIVE, interests and motivation to adapt to multicultural environments. The KNOWLEDGE and understanding about differences and similarities between cultures. The STRATEGY, that means the ability to plan multicultural interaction, and how we interact in it. The ACTION, so the ability to adapt when relating and working intercultural. These factors determine how performance is viewed and measured in a world where biases and misunderstandings are part of the daily routine. That is why is fundamental to raise awareness among co-workers form different cultures in order to keep high performance and efficiency.

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