To ensure your success in making a connection across cultural divides? Here are some guidelines from Richard Richards:
Reference: A Seminar is coming, details: Global Thinking, Training, Success
Being present is a universal courtesy that transcends culture, language, and whether communicating in-person or virtually. Key points to consider:
– Some cultures have personal relationships that precede business relationships. Results in a “Type A Sales first” behavior vs. calmer, contemplative start to a working relationship.
– Multi-tasking and BUSYNESS, can be seen as rude and unacceptable. Unplug!
– Looking at “body language” and cultural politeness.
Reaching out and connecting is essential. Key points to consider:
-Check-in frequently , discover acceptance or disagreement.
-Use empathy in timing, holidays, local happenings, religious events. Establish a “Do not Call List: for areas that are experiencing disasters, holidays etc. Think about time zones! Bend YOUR work hours.
Not just what we say, but how we say it (vocally, facially, physically, and emotionally). Key points to consider:
• Pace of their speech, clarity, loudness and enunciation will profoundly change the level of understanding with a new audience. Involve written communication with verbal. Have you ever misunderstood or had trouble understanding a faster pace? ASK your audience if they can hear you! Accents, slang, idioms can cause trouble. Yup and Bob’s your Uncle!
• You might try SMILING when speaking. You can hear it (even in a phone conversation). Body language helps communicate, so if others cannot see you, enhance your descriptions.
•Watch out for filler words, “ums” and “ahs.” These are distractions. Practice in front of your team. Join the Toastmasters International club for encouragement and help.
•Acronyms will cause misunderstandings, even if they are explained, because B sounds like D and on a conference call, new people may join later or be afraid to “raise their hand”. Yes, check-in!
•Make sure to have supporting visuals or text. Increased understanding AND retention will help those listening in their non-native language.
Self-knowing is being aware your values, strengths, and limitations, especially when it comes to what you know about the other culture. Key points to consider:
– Admit what you don’t know. Own it with grace and humility and teach others what you learn so it can be adopted company-wide. Be forthcoming, Make sure to “honor” questions. Thank those that speak up!
At the end of the day, we need no language to be able to laugh together, and much of what “divides” us is really our own biases and lack of curiosity about differences. And as the author Ciore Taylor said, “Differences simply act as a yarn of curiosity, unraveling until we get to the other side.”