Business across cultures effective communication strategies

It is no surprise to any professional that communication lies at the heart of business. In fact, you most likely consider yourself an expert at communicating your business model or sales pitch to a variety of audiences. Therefore, it may be confusing when someone suggests that you revisit your tried and true strategies in the name of improving ‘Intercultural Communication.’

What is Intercultural Communication, and is it really that different from what I’m already doing? If so, what should I know?

The globalized world we live in predisposes most of us to act cross-culturally in one way or another. As the world appears to be getting smaller, the challenges of communicating across national, ethnic, organizational, and generational boundaries become more apparent. Take this situation for example: I was once consolidating reports for a Spanish colleague that included various numerical quantities of Spanish exports. I knew enough to include the quantities in € instead of $, but what I did not know is that in Spanish monetary terms, a period (.) is actually used to signify a number in the thousands instead of a comma (, ). Therefore, writing what I presumed to be €2, 500 was actually understood by my Spanish counterparts as €2.50. I did not realize my misunderstanding until halfway through the project—resulting in immense frustration, confusion, wasted time, and downright embarrassment on my part.

At first glance, it may not seem necessary to revisit perfectly good communications strategies, but it is important to avoid the costly and unexpected misunderstandings of communicating across cultural lines. While it is nearly impossible to avoid every mistake, here are three things to keep in mind for future communications:

  1. Understand that communicating across cultures is more than communicating in different languages. Although it’s a great start, simply translating your reports to another language or bringing an interpreter with you to a business meeting will only get you so far when communicating across cultures. There are many elements of communication that vary across cultures and could have a major impact on business relationships.

  • For example: Administering surveys to a group of Arab program participants—even if it is translated into Arabic—may leave you with an inaccurate understanding of their true opinions. This is because many Arab cultures operate in a high context environment. In general, they prefer to be much less direct than Americans. To truly understand their thoughts about the program, you must closely observe their body language or talk to them individually in a private setting. This is just one example of a very important cultural dynamic that cannot be expressed or understood through language alone.

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Business Across Cultures: Effective Communication Strategies (English for Business Success) ( Paperback ) by English, Laura M.; Lynn, Sarah pulished by Addison Wesley Longman
Book (Addison Wesley Longman)

Q&A

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How does communication in business vary across cultures? | Yahoo Answers

with in the culture it does vary but across cultures it does not!!! business is business!!!


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