Communicating effectively across cultures

Jan 24, 2019

As business continues to globally expand, cross-cultural communication is becoming the new norm. While an international workforce connects companies with a wider range of customers, communicating effectively with people from different backgrounds who speak various languages requires effort and understanding. 

Communication styles can differ from culture to culture, as can traditional views of hierarchy and decision-making processes. Leaders and employees must understand international etiquette and language barriers so they can foster positive and healthy relationships to drive business success.

“The key to success is understanding and accepting the differences on a multicultural team, and then using them to enhance the way the team analyzes situations and makes decisions,” said Kelley Holland, in a New York Times article, “How Diversity Makes a Team Click.”

Speaking at a steady space, asking open-ended questions and setting expectations are a few ways to better communicate with diverse colleagues. When preparing for a visit or meeting, remember these fundamental tips for communicating across cultures.

Why should you care?

Respecting cultural differences and learning how to effectively communicate within a global workforce will ultimately help drive business success. Whether you work with a diverse team or interact with companies across the world, being aware of these best practices will help guide efficient conversations.