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Use these seven tips to bridge the cross-cultural communication gap in your company

by , 02 January 2014
Cultural differences can make communication in your business difficult. If your employees misinterpret or don't understand each other, it could lead to confusion, misunderstandings, conflict and resentment. Make sure there isn't a breakdown in communication in your workplace. How do you do this? Use these seven tips to bridge the cross-cultural communication gap in your company.

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management says you must always consider the following when communicating:

  • What you say;
  • How you say it; and
  • How it's perceived by the other party(s).

To help you with this in your workplace, use these tips to improve communication across the cultural divide.

Want to improve communication across the cultural divide? Use these seven tips to do just that…

Tip #1: Identify your own cultural perceptions and assumptions. Be aware of, and respect, cultural differences.

You must respect that each of us is different (not only between cultures, but also within a cultural group) and have a unique contribution to make. Start seeing and using these differences as an advantage to your team.

Tip #2: Learn about the culture of the country you work in and the people you work with. Ask questions, listen and observe.

Tip #3: Be aware that cultural stereotypes are often false.

Tip #4: Consider others' response to your culture's tone, sounds and body language.

Challenge your own (mis) perceptions about what a tone or sound could mean in another culture.

Tip #5: Think about how the person will respond to your message.

Pre-present your communication to someone from the cultural group you're addressing.

Tip #6: Don't judge other people's messages. Ask for clarification and check your understanding if you're offended or don't understand. If you're not sure - ask!

Tip #7: Develop sound generic communications skills.

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Ask questions at communication sessions so you can address your employee's concerns, questions and interests.
  • Don't allow emotions, mistrust and stereotyping to get in the way of effective two-way communication.

Remember, not improving communication across the cultural divide will affect relationships and trust in the workplace, employee retention, productivity and this will cost you in the long run. So use these tips to bridge the cross-cultural communication gap in your company.

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