Cross Cultural Communication and How to Build Bridges Both Online and Offline

businesspeople shaking hands

At its origin, cross cultural communication is a field of study that analyzes how people who come from different cultures communicate. Cross cultural communication has been made increasingly easier by the online world. Moreover, nowadays, most businesses have to learn the basics of cross cultural communication, since their employees and partners tend to come from all over the world. In today’s guide, we’re going to look at how businesses can build bridges online and offline through cross cultural communication.

How to Build Bridges Through Cross Cultural Communication

1. Adapt Your Approach

If you’re going to be dealing with someone from an entirely different culture, you’ll have to adapt your business approach in order to make it easier for that person to understand it and be comfortable with it. Especially if you’re coming from a fundamentally different culture. Ultimately, your goal is to create a win-win situation, and that can’t be possible if only one of the people communicating has a full understanding of the issue at hand.

2. Research the Culture

Perhaps one of the most important tips on building bridges when communicating with people from different cultures both online and offline is for you to research their culture. You don’t want to run the risk of saying something wrong or offending someone. At the same time, researching the culture can help you come up with just the right things to say. Whatever you do, don’t start a partnership with someone from a different culture before learning at least the basics of that culture.

3. Be Aware

You can learn many things about what you should say and how you should phrase it by being aware of how the other person is communicating. For example, if you’re communicating online, pay attention to the words used in emails, messages, and so on. Is that person trying to be formal? Does he or she expresses direct ideas or takes a more indirect approach? Being aware of these things can help you communicate with them more successfully.

4. Learn to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Chances are, when you’re doing business with someone who has a different cultural background, you’ll stumble upon occasions when you’ll feel slightly uncomfortable. This is absolutely normal. Moreover, we can assure you that there are instances when the other person feels the same way. When engaging in cross cultural communication, you have to have an open mind and be willing to learn about the other person’s culture without judgement.

5. Keep the Interactions Simple

First of all, when you’re communicating with people from different cultures, you can’t just assume they all speak the same language as you and can understand you. Second of all, even if they do, you shouldn’t complicate the conversation without any good reason. As long as you can say things in a clear and simple way, you should.

One last thing we should mention is that humor can be seriously misunderstood in other cultures. What is considered funny in your culture might be not be in another. Worse, it could be offensive. So, we advise you to stay away from humorous comments when you’re communication across cultures.

This brief guide to building bridges through cross cultural communication will help you expand your business’ horizons.

Image Source: here.

Author: Amanda Knowles

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