How To Communicate Effectively With Other Cultures: 17 Strategies

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Today you’ll find out how to communicate effectively with other cultures.

It is important to understand how to interact with people from different cultures, both verbally and non-verbally, to create positive relationships. Learning their culture and showing tolerance can make things work.

If you understand how to communicate properly, you can learn from people from different cultures and share your culture with them.

How To Communicate Effectively With Other Cultures:

1. Conduct preliminary research.

In terms of knowledge, little is all you need.

If you have time, before you go on vacation or interact with people from another culture, try to get some basic information about what to do and what not to do in that culture. You can find information about this on the Internet, such as the website of the National Center for Cultural Competence.

2. Be prepared for miscommunication.

Different cultures speak at different rates, expressing emotions more or less directly, exchanging pleasantries, and displaying other differences in communication. You must be prepared for such differences when talking to people from different cultures, particularly ones you did not know existed.

3. Recognize and respect hierarchy.

When interacting with people from a foreign culture, you may encounter unwritten social hierarchical norms that you’re not aware of. For example, you may come from a society where men and girls are expected to communicate equally, but you may need to interact with someone from a culture where men are expected to talk more in mixed company.

Likewise, you might talk to someone who believes that younger people should let older people do most of the talking, while you believe that people of all ages should speak equally.

4. Be honest about communication issues.

Speak up if you cannot understand someone or think that person cannot understand you.

Instead of being impolite or rude, explain the situation thoroughly. It’s generally better to be honest than to let communication problems get worse, as this could lead to an even worse situation in the future.

If you are not sure you understand correctly what someone is saying, say something like: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say.” Please try again?

If you suspect someone does not understand what you are saying, say something like, “Repeat again to make sure we agree.” Also make it clear that the person has the right to ask questions.

5. Maintain a friendly and accepting demeanor.

In every society, there are dominant ideals, ideas, and prejudices. In conversations with people from other cultures, you may notice these signs.

However, basic communication is not the time to judge others based on their differences. Instead, appreciate and tolerate them for who they’re. You might even discover something new.

Even if cultural differences are brought up openly in a discussion, rather than arguing, be receptive and open. If someone says something like: “Many Americans take work seriously and there are many reasons for that,” say something like: “Why don’t you tell me a little more about your cultural approach to work?”

6. Be patient with yourself.

Communicating with people from other cultures can be educational and rewarding, but it can even be challenging. Expect that not everything will come out perfectly or that you will not fully understand everything. Be patient with others and ask them to do the same with you.

7. If necessary, speak clearly and slowly.

Avoid shouting or treating others as if they’re deaf. Raising your voice does not make you more understandable and can be seen as rude.

Likewise, even if it’s difficult to interact with people from different cultures, do not treat them as if they aren’t smart. Communication problems stem from cultural differences (1) rather than an IQ issue.

8. Maintain proper etiquette.

Until it is clear that you do not need to, be polite and use a formal way of speaking (eg business contacts are asked to use their first names). Depending on the culture, this may involve addressing others by first and last name only, using titles such as “Mr.” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”

9. Improve your mastery of foreign languages.

If you are going to be talking to someone who speaks a different language than yours, try learning a few basic phrases beforehand. Due to circumstances, you may not have the commitment or need to become fluent in a foreign language, but you can still try to learn it.

“Hello”, “Please”, “Thank you”, “How are you?” and other basic phrases should be practiced.

Bring a phrase book or phone app to help you find phrases you do not understand.

When someone tries to use your language, be patient.

10. If you are in a minority language, try using the majority language.

If you are talking to someone who speaks a foreign language, try to use it as much as possible at first. Even if you do not understand the language and can only say “hello” and “how are you?”, those gestures are normally appreciated.

11. Avoid using slang or vulgar language.

This is particularly important unless you are sure how they’re used in other cultures. Improper use of non-standard or dirty language can make it difficult for speakers to understand and can lead to rude behavior.

Because slang and profanities in a language are complex and rely on context, it is best to avoid them until you are sure you understand how to use them properly.

12. Perform the movement with open arms.

Pointing your index finger, making the “ok” sign, and other common gestures can be considered rude in numerous cultures. Keep the “hands open” gesture because you never know which one could be misinterpreted like this.

For example, if you want to point at something, try using your whole hand.

13. Assume a formal attitude at first.

Maintain a more or less conservative posture with your feet on the ground, sit up straight, do not use your hands too expressively, and customarily maintain a more or less conservative posture. This is because some postures may not be liked by others.

For example, in some cultures it is taken into account a impolite gesture to show your legs, so you should never cross your legs in such a way that the soles stick out.

If you think a less formal posture is okay, you can follow that.

14. Beware of no touching.

During conversation, some cultures may expect more physical contact between individuals than others. For example, some cultures may be more willing to shake hands or touch hands than others.

When talking with representatives of other cultures, don’t be offended if their physique is more or less than usual. The only exception is if you feel you are being mistreated or harassed. If you feel unsafe, let them know.

When talking to people from different cultures, it is a good idea to watch out about how you are touched. If these people seem to use more physical touch, you should do the same if you feel snug.

15. Know when to make eye contact and when to avoid it.

In different cultures, looking people in the eye while talking is seen as a sign of sincerity and concern. However, in other cultures, this may be seen as impolite, hostile, or showing sexual desire.

On the other hand, some cultures consider avoiding eye-to-eye (2) from superiors during a conversation to be a respectful gesture.

16. Be prepared for a wide range of facial expressions.

Different civilizations often use facial expressions in other ways. For example, Americans may smile a lot, but in other cultures, extreme smiling can be seen as a sign of shallowness.

When talking to people from a different culture, you may notice that their facial expressions are more expressive (of enjoyment, sorrow, annoyance, etc.) than usual, or that they do not express their feelings at all.

It does not matter which culture you come from, most communication is nonverbal. However, you can focus on the content of what was said and ask questions to clarify if necessary. For example, if someone unexpectedly smiles or laughs at what you said, you might respond, “I mean it.”

17. Consider the amount of personal space needed in a given scenario.

Some cultures may need more personal space than others.

If you are talking to someone from a different culture and that person moves closer or further away from you than usual, it isn’t at all times because they’re trying to avoid you or invade your space. Try to read their cues about personal space and communicate as effectively as possible.

Thank you for reading this article on how to communicate effectively with other cultures and I actually hope you take my advice into action.

I wish you good luck and that I hope that its content has been a good help to you.