Our behaviour and communication is shaped by our culture

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Communicating well requires understanding. Yet, while it is important that we understand others, it is vital, if we want to succeed in our own communication, that we analyse and understand our own communication tendencies first. It is only in light of our own culture, background and worldview that we can even start to constructively communicate with those of other cultures or backgrounds.  Obstacles in doing so include: 

  1. An assumption that our counterpart thinks in the same way, sees the world as we do.
    One might assume that our differences in culture are purely based on national identity. However, there can be many other cultural reasons. For example, depending on a person's background their motivation can be shaped by a perceived need to survive and compete whereas someone else's drivers will be shaped by the desire for position reputation. The interaction between the two, not knowing each other's background nor motivation, could very well result in high levels of miscommunication and frustration. Both, however, will most likely not be aware o their own tendencies and therefore unlikely to adjust.

  2. Non-verbal communication
    Personal space, the way we hold our head, the length with which we look someone in the eye all communicate and can be misread depending on the cultural background of those receiving and processing the communication.

  3. Stereotyping
    While cross-cultural communication is informed by a certain level of stereotyping, it is our tendency to stereotype others which leads to high levels of miscommunication. This tendency affords no probing, no time for 'getting-to-know' our counterparts and no acceptance that we might be wrong.

It is here that cross-cultural communications training can bring tremendous insights and help professionals in diverse or cross-cultural teams overcome their communication barriers and help shape resilient and flexible organisations equipped to succeed in an ever more globalised and diversified working environment. 

To find out more about Zeitgeist Communication's Cross-cultural communications training, contact us at info@zeitgeistcomms.com or call us on 07824 897976. We look forward to hearing from you.