The final major barrier to effective cross-cultural communication includes the judgmental attitudes many of us have when it comes to interacting with people who are different. Most of us would like to believe we are open-minded and accepting. But in reality, a great many of us find discomfort with those who are different in terms of values, beliefs and behaviors. We may then evaluate those values, beliefs and behaviors in a negative light. This is the essence of ethnocentrism, where we evaluate good and bad, right and wrong relative to how closely the values, behaviors and ideas of others mirror our own. Put simply, to effectively interact with people who are different from us, we must suspend judgment about their ways, and try to understand them from their perspective. But for most of us, this is much easier said than done.
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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.