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.