Over the past 2 months, I have described specific actions you can take to improve your ability to communicate across cultural differences and build powerful relationships. They are listed here along with links to each post:
Next Post: February 24, 2016 - How to Communicate the Importance of Diversity
Inclusive language acknowledges different people and creates positive environments where people feel involved. Exclusive language limits involvement and creates barriers between people. Inclusive language uses positive words to support and encourage others, whereas exclusive language demeans, insults and demotivates others. To communicate inclusively, use terms that will be understood and respected by people of different backgrounds, refer to people by the names they wish to be called and eliminate language that suggests men are the standard for all human beings (e.g., use both masculine and feminine pronouns). Avoid stereotypical statements (e.g., “you people”) and actively attempt to get other people involved (e.g., invite a new person to lunch or ask the opinion of someone who doesn’t speak very often). Simply stated, anything you can say to promote the involvement of a diverse array of individuals on a consistent basis is inclusive language.
Next Post: January 27, 2016 - The 7 Do’s of Multicultural Communication – A Summary
Stereotyping is the human tendency to categorize and make assumptions about others based on identified characteristics such as gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, nationality and socioeconomic status (visit my earlier post, The Barriers to Effective Multicultural Communication #1: Stereotyping, for a more detailed description). Therefore, one of the most important steps we can take to improve our ability to communicate across cultural differences is to be aware of our stereotypes and actively work to reduce their impact. I have discussed steps we can take to reduce stereotyping in previous posts (e.g., How to Reduce Stereotyping); however, there are 3 relatively simple actions you can take to begin this process. First, enhance your self-awareness by consciously working to understand how you impact those around you. Second, increase your empathy by trying to understand the world from the perspective of those around you (i.e., take a figurative walk in their shoes to see what their world is like). Third, actively work to suspend your judgment. It’s not easy but try to listen before you evaluate and assess others.
Next Post: January 20, 2016 - The 7 Do’s of Multicultural Communication #7
Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. He helps his clients develop the skills needed to communicate, resolve conflict, solve problems and improve performance in diverse organizational settings.