One of the biggest challenges when communicating across cultures is the tendency to say and think ‘be like me’.
This can cause all kinds of difficulties doing business in other countries and cultures like those of Asia – in negotiations, running meetings, expectations, approach to time and punctuality, speaking out of turn, openly voicing disagreement, and many other areas.
Being unwilling to deviate from your own set model of doing things is one of the main reasons that companies fall down in Asia.
This is true not only in Asia but also in a multicultural setting at home. A lack of cultural sensitivity is a major reason why businesses often fail to reach out to their customers, clients and partners in their home markets.
Culture influences the way we make decisions, our management style, and determines whether we’re going to get off on the right foot or the wrong foot when dealing with people from other cultures.
The key to successful cross-cultural business is adapting your own ways and expectations to those of counterparts who may well do things differently.
Often that is easier said than done. But if you learn how to show respect, to adapt your expectations and behavior to other customs and mindsets, you are well on the way to becoming one of the ‘in-group’ in your chosen market.
That means you will be forgiven for social and cultural mistakes that could otherwise be highly damaging to your business.
So how to avoid miscommunication across cultures?
This is the topic of today’s expert interview when I had the opportunity of speaking with Phillip Khan-Panni, professional speaker, trainer in communication skills, and author of Communication Across Cultures, among other books.
Tune in as we chat about the inside tips and secrets to effective cross-cultural communication:
5 Secrets for Better Communication in Asian Business
Listen in as we discuss:
- How to develop sensitivity, empathy and flexibility for other cultures
- Why the Chinese have an expression for ‘one track Westerners’
- Dealing with the colonial hangover in Asia
- How national self-confidence is driving the ‘new’ Asian economies
- Why mocking Asians for poor English can easily backfire!
- And much more
Have you been confused or even lost an important deal because you or your teams simply didn’t adapt to another culture?
Would you add anything to Phillip’s excellent advice on how to communicate successfully across cultures?
Please leave your comments in the box below, and if you found this helpful, please share on the social media buttons.