In today’s society, business reaches beyond borders, extending from multiple countries around the globe. With global trade being such an incredible part of society, lacking cultural awareness can be a major setback for companies today. Business leaders are called to rise above the differences and increase their cultural awareness. Overcoming language, values, beliefs, and more are all critical steps to better business on a global scale. Regardless of the business, you are in, any career can benefit from becoming more culturally aware. Here’s how you can increase your cultural knowledge and be more open with your view on the world.
In order to connect and communicate with another culture, there has to be an interaction. International communication is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in business, especially when it comes to language. Outstanding communication skills are essential when interacting between cultures. Not only is this from a verbal standpoint, but even slight nonverbal cues can have a big impact.
When you learn the local language of the culture you’re working with, both verbal and nonverbal, you give yourself an understanding of how exactly to navigate cultural differences and provide a positive influence within the workforce. In any cross-culture environment, effective communication should be a priority for effective business.
Observation and Empathy
When you are interacting with another culture, ask yourself “How is this culture conducting their business?” and try to notice the details behind this question. How do locals of this culture maintain themselves? When you take the time to observe another culture, you gain an understanding of how that culture works.
Your power of observation will come in hand when communicating with other cultures. In order to understand the culture, you need to place yourself in the shoes of someone within that culture. You’ll gain more knowledge and empathy for how and why a culture is the way it is. You can easily paint yourself as an experienced professional when you have proper behavior and an understanding of the culture itself. Not only will this increase your awareness of another culture, but it will increase your self-awareness as well.
Put business aside and simply try new things. To truly absorb a culture and gain a greater understanding of it, you have to have new experiences. Whether that’s attending an event within the culture or trying the traditional food of the culture, you gain insight and experience particular to the culture itself.
By participating in new things, you expand your cultural competency first-hand. This gives you a deeper understanding of the way things work in a culture. From a larger perspective, you simply see behaviors among other cultures. Peeling back a layer, beneath behavior lies value. Understanding a value within a culture means that you know what matters to this culture, what makes this culture proud and vibrant with life? Even further than behaviors and values are beliefs. This is the core to any culture. Experiencing a culture hands-on will show you just what makes up those specific components within a culture.