The first principle of cross-cultural communication is not to make assumptions about people based on cultural stereotypes.
It is important to treat everyone as an individual by taking the time to understand each person and how they express themselves in 4 dimensions. We can both underestimate and over estimate cultural differences. Specifically around how much a person actually identifies with their given national culture.
For example, in China many cultures exist within one nation. From Shanghai to Beijing, from city dwellers to farming communities, young and old, male and female, the people of China are influenced by many different factors beyond simply being Chinese. Other sub-cultures within national boundaries to consider are:
Preparing for cross cultural communication is about preparing to do some detailed research, asking questions and being willing to adapt your behavior to each person you are communicating with. For example, what is their preferred style of self-expression in terms of the 4 dimensions?
- Physical – Gestures, Proxemics, Touching, Eye Contact, Posture
- Emotional – High Expressive or Low Expressive
- Intellectual – Thinking and communication styles - High Context & Indirect or Low Context & Direct
- Intentional – Values, beliefs and the Spiral Dynamic stages
The programmes in this section are designed to help you and/or your team to manage diversity by developing a deeper understanding of the dynamics of cross cultural communication.
Find out more about our Diversity and Communication courses