It is very difficult to build effective cross-cultural relationships if you cannot accept the fact that differences exist in values, beliefs, communication styles, personal experiences, ideas, goals, opinions and work style preferences. Remember, acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. You can be totally accepting of a person while still disagreeing with his or her ideas or beliefs. Acceptance refers to a willingness to support and validate your colleagues, to have positive regard for them, and to remain non-judgmental even in circumstances where you do not agree. In addition, be mindful that no matter what the differences may be, you will always have a great deal in common, which you can use to build a bridge across those differences. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!
Next Post: December 2, 2015 - The 7 Do’s of Multicultural Communication #3
The best description of empathy I have ever heard is that it’s the ability to put on another person’s shoes, walk around in them and experience the world from their perspective. Of course, you don’t have to wear someone else’s shoes but if you want to improve your ability to communicate across cultural differences, you must be able to understand other’s feelings, situation, ideas, values and goals. Empathy is a powerful communication tool for at least two reasons. First, it helps you better understand those around you. Second, by becoming more empathetic, you invite others to better understand your circumstances, needs and objectives.
One of the best ways to increase your empathy (as well as your cultural knowledge) is to experience the things that culturally different people experience on a regular basis. This can help you better understand the values, beliefs and behaviors of people who are culturally different. Go to diverse places of worship, visit different cultural events, go to various social activities, visit different ethnic restaurants, talk to different people at work or do anything else that puts you in direct proximity with people you don’t normally interact with. In one-on-one conversations, you can demonstrate empathy by listening first, by trying to understand where your colleagues and co-workers are coming from, and by articulating your understanding on a consistent basis (i.e., active listening, summarizing your conversations).
Next Post: November 18, 2015 - The 7 Do’s of Multicultural Communication #2
Over the past 2 months, I have described the behaviors you should avoid if you want to improve cross-cultural interaction. These 7 Don’ts of multicultural communication include:
Next Post: November 10, 2015 - The 7 Do’s of Multicultural Communication #1
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.