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Communicating with a Cross-Cultural Audience

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

How people communicate in business is, to some extent, determined culturally. Languages, idioms, intonation, and gestures all vary to some degree.

So when people from different cultures cross paths, at work, miscommunication is a risk.

And the resulting misunderstandings can lead to problems.

Loss of business, productivity, and mutual respect are all potential pitfalls.

So you need to be culturally savvy to ensure you say and do the right thing.

It’s not too difficult - essentially, it’s just about remaining mindful of cultural sensitivities when communicating.

What should be avoided when speaking to a culturally distinct audience?

  • Slang, idioms, and sayings.

  • Humor, unless research shows the audience will definitely understand and appreciate it.

  • Negative or double questions

Effective cross-cultural communication takes careful consideration. If you speak too quickly or use contractions or slang you may dilute the clarity of your information. Encourage your audience to interrupt you and ask questions if they don’t follow what you’re saying.

What are some tips for building rapport with a culturally distinct audience?

  • Plan in advance

  • Research the accepted cultural etiquette. a good idea.

  • Lean at least a few words of the local language.

  • Listen actively.

What can you do to improve your communication skills?


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