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.
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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.