The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #7 – DON’T Try to Speak or Act Like a Culturally Different Person
Never try to speak or behave like a culturally different person if it is not who you are as a human being. Don’t try to behave the way you think someone else expects you to behave. Never act in an unnatural way because you think it is what another person wants from you. For example, don’t pretend you like certain foods, music or activities just to build a relationship with a culturally different individual. Always be yourself. This is known as genuineness and it is one of the bedrock conditions for effective cross-cultural interaction and relationship building. A lack of genuineness creates noise in a relationship (noise is anything that interferes with the accurate transmission of messages between two or more people). It also reduces trust. So be open, honest and YOU at all times!
Next Post: November 3, 2015 - The 7 Do’s of Multicultural Communication
The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #6 – DON’T Ask Inappropriate Questions or Engage in Inappropriate Behaviors
Avoid asking inappropriate questions or engaging in inappropriate behaviors, especially of a personal nature. In a culturally diverse setting, it is best to stick to business at the beginning of a work relationship. This means you must take care not to ask improper questions or engage in inappropriate conversations. For example, don’t ask about another person’s grooming habits. Don’t ask if you can touch a co-worker’s hair. Don’t ask others about their child rearing practices (yes, I’ve heard questions like these many times). These types of questions can create tension and make people feel uncomfortable. In addition, some people may find these discussions unsuitable for the workplace. Once you have established a strong working relationship or friendship with someone, you may be able to have discussions of this nature. But until that happens, it is best to avoid these types of personal conversations.
Next Post: October 27, 2015 - The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #7
Don’t engage in behaviors that single out a culturally different person, especially if that person is in the minority at your workplace. This may seem obvious, but we often do this without realizing it. In fact, it’s a fairly common, and often well-intentioned, mistake. For example, I have observed many situations where people who are cultural minorities are asked to serve on a team, committee or council because of their race, gender, age or sexual orientation. The goal of the person making the request is to ensure different viewpoints are represented, which is an honorable and desirable pursuit. However, while it may be a great honor to be asked to serve, always be aware of the difficult position you can place someone in if you single them out. Please note I am not suggesting you refrain from asking for diverse participation. That is a noble and worthwhile goal, and can greatly improve performance in your organization. Just be prepared to address any difficulties that person may have in adapting to that situation.
Next Post: October 20, 2015 - The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #6
The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #4 – DON’T Assume a Culturally Different Person is Typical of All the Members of His or Her Cultural Group
A common byproduct of stereotyping is the tendency to think the behavior of one group member is typical of all group members and to only see in those group members what we expect to see. This has the potential to create many communication problems and unfortunately, often occurs without conscious thought (that’s the biggest problem with stereotyping - it happens without our recognition). Therefore, always strive to treat people as individuals and get to know your colleagues on an individual basis. Once again, decategorization (the conscious, cognitive process of reminding yourself to avoid assumptions by intentionally focusing on the unique nature of every individual) can be very helpful. Click here for more information on the decategorization process.
Next Post: October 13, 2015 - The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #5
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.