6 Tips for Improving Cross-Cultural Business Communication

Have you been living in a cross-cultural environment? If yes, then you must have known why cross-cultural communication is important. If not, these tips will be useful for you to start.

Cross-cultural communication is invaluable in business. It is required for successful business negotiations, building relationships with global business partners and collaboration within and outside your team.

Cross-cultural communication is not just about verbal communication either. It helps to be able to read body language and eye contact and communicate using other ๐—ป๐—ผ๐—ป-๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€. These nuances are unique to cultures and are very important to effective communication.

6 Tips for Improving Cross-Cultural Business Communication

โœ… 1. Develop Cultural Awareness

โ€“ Understanding the differences between oneโ€™s own culture and the culture of others is called cultural awareness. Developing this ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด and striving to understand more is an essential step in cross-cultural communication.

You can gain this awareness by ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด questions, ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด to people with different cultural backgrounds, ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด cultural museums or institutions, ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด books, or ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด classes.

โœ… 2. Learn a New Language

โ€“ Learning a new language can be hugely beneficial for cross-cultural communication in business.

Learning a new language helps us ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜ with others and gives us ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ into the culture.

โœ… 3. Choose Face-to-Face Communication

โ€“ A lot of communication happens in our mannerisms and body language. As much as possible, try to communicate with people ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ผ. This helps to develop relationships and reduces miscommunication, a common problem in international business.

โœ… 4. Open Your Mind

โ€“ When you’re part of a large global enterprise, you have colleagues from other cultures with a wide spectrum of perspectives, experiences and skills, which often differ from those that may be common in your own culture.

With an open mind, youโ€™re more willing to ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ new ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ and ๐˜๐—ฟ๐˜† new ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜€, both of which foster ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป.

โœ… 5. Be Flexible

โ€“ This is where we really embrace and practice trying new ideas. When we stay flexible, we are more open to improvement and opportunities โ€“ both of which are critical for professional and personal development. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something a new way.

โœ… 6. Maintain Proper Etiquette

โ€“ When meeting with a new client or business associate, having proper etiquette is important.

For example, if youโ€™re meeting someone from China, it would be helpful to know that a proper greeting is a nod, a bow or a handshake. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Each culture has different rules of etiquette and formalities. Using poor etiquette communicates a lack of knowledge or care and could make the difference in business activities. When in doubt, do your research and observe.

Cross-cultural communication is a necessary capability as our world becomes increasingly globalised and interconnected. Especially in business, being able to communicate across cultures is crucial to success.

We help professionals to learn cross-cultural ( especially cross west-east ) business skills for a global career / business that can take them anywhere.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Which tip do you like most?

Change And Growth Happen At The Edge Of Comfort Zone

edge of comfort zone
Climbing the mountain

We talk about the comfort zone quite often especially when we face the challenge or make change of our lives. Are you on the edge of your comfort zone? As a coach I know how difficult it is at the edge of comfort zone.

I still remember my experience of climbing the high mountain in Switzerland. It was the first time I looked at the mountain and doubted whether I could make it through. Luckily there are two things help me stay with the edge of my comfort zone and step up. One is my partner (playing coach role), who was encouraging and inspiring me during the climbing, and he took this photo here. Another is the lovely dog following me closely. For the dog, there is no much difference between climbing on the mountain and walking on the flat roads. Seeing the dog walking around made me focus on my foot movement, step by step, nothing else. In the end, when stood at the top of the mountain, I was feeling great and laughing.

It’s a simple personal experience at the edge of comfort zone. Growth here is gaining inner confidence. Most people experience forming a new habit or changing an old habit is difficult. As human, we are more”store and program” creatures. So what’s the challenge when you are at the edge of comfort zone?ย Here are two small stories from the people around.

One client came to me after she returned from her vacation. She said “I felt my meditation habit was not stable after my holiday. Before that, it was my morning ritual.” Here she forgot when the environment changed she needs to be aware of it then make adjustment.

Another story is observing my partner quitting smoking. It was not easy. As you know, many smokers tried many times in their lives and put a lot of effort to become a non-smoker.

Except the will power (energy), there is one more important thing, be aware what is going on during forming a new habit. Theย concept “Habit Gravity & Escape Velocity” is what I learned from Eben Pagan. This concept can help people get comfortable with being “uncomfortable”.

habit gravity and skill velocity

Habit Gravity and escape velocityย is the natural process that is happening within our mind when we install a new habit. It takes about 30 days to develop a new habit and once you do that the momentum starts to build and the new habit will become a part of you (basically programmed into your systems).

From the model image, you can break 30 days to 3 sections of 10 days. In the beginning few days, you are excited, optimism about the new habit, then you hit the “habit gravity”. The first 10 days will be the hardest and you will be resisting the new habit, don’t like the new things you are doing which take your energy away. Eben names this part of forming a new habit as you are โ€œDefying Gravityโ€ and getting resistance.

Once you pass this 10 days, you will be still facing active resistance and being pulled, but not to the extent of the initial 10 days. You still have to consciously work on your new habit. Once you passed 20 days doing the same thing everyday, it will start to automatically integrate to your life. You see the “light” of the end of tunnel. It’s called “Escape Velocity”. By the 30th day this will be a part of your life that you will do without even realizing.

If you are not conscious about this model, forming a new habit is hard. So the pattern to form a new habit is: Awareness -> Will Power -> Habit (Do it) everyday for 30 days.ย The Habit Designer & Timerย can help you plan your habit in detail and refine it.

This is a general model, but the disclaimer is for some people and for certain habits this can take longer than 30 days.