Making the effort to communicate with sensitivity across cultures delivers big dividends. Taking the time to understand others, and learn about their culture is critical to organizational growth and global branding. The following checklist presents basic guidelines for improving interaction with multicultural audiences.
Study Your Own Culture – Know your own customs, biases, and views, and know how they differ from those in other societies. This knowledge can help you better understand and accept the values of other cultures.
Learn About Other Cultures – Education helps to alter cultural misconceptions, and reduce fears. Such knowledge prepares you to expect and embrace differences.
Curb Ethnocentrism – Avoid judging others based on your personal views. Try to develop an open mind, and get over the view that other cultures are defective and primitive.
Avoid Judgmentalism – Strive to accept other behaviors as different, rather than right or wrong. Strive for objectivity, and avoid justifying your culture.
Look Beyond Stereotypes – Remember people are not always the same as their cultural stereotype. Probe beneath the surface and reject preconceptions.
Seek Common Ground – When cultures clash, look for solutions that respect both cultures. Be flexible in proposing compromises.
Observe Nonverbal Cues in Your Culture – Become more astute to the meanings of eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and the use of time. KNOW HOW THEY DIFFER IN OTHER CULTURES.
Encourage Accurate Feedback – Ask probing questions and listen attentively without interrupting. Don’t assume that a smile, and at times a yes indicates understanding.
By Sophia Sanchez, PhD(c), SPHRFounder and Principal Consultant Develop For Results International Author of “The Development Alternative: Powerful Strategies for unparalleled Business Results” DevelopForResults.com