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Mastering intercultural communication in business

May 17, 2022 | Tips & Tricks

Intercultural communication could be complex, particularly when it comes to business relationships. However, intercultural communications have become part of everyday life in today’s culturally increasingly diversified business and social environments. Therefore, the significance of being intercultural competent, appropriately and effectively interacting in an intercultural setup has risen in the past few decades. 

But, what is intercultural communication? Please continue reading to learn about intercultural communication, how it works in the business context, and its benefits and processes. We will also enlighten you on why to utilize the Sonatafy Nexxus network as a knowledge hub for software developers. 

What is intercultural communication?

Intercultural communication in Latin America refers to sharing information on different awareness levels between individuals with distinct cultures and social groups, including people with different social, religious, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. Professionally, workplace intercultural communication entails a set of interactions among individuals from unrelated cultural backgrounds. Here, it is the practice of exchanging, mediating, and negotiating cultural differences via non-verbal gestures, space relationships, and language. 

Embracing Cultural Diversity

Promoting diversity in a business environment needs efforts from everyone because it is a fundamental aspect. A diverse workforce in any business may present communication, religion, and customs challenges. But even in these situations, besides just accepting the evident intercultural differences, it is vital to fully embrace them throughout the business setting. 

But as Forbes Magazine asks, “how can leaders foster a company culture that embraces differences of thought?” You can develop and implement an intercultural and diversity training program throughout your business. And regardless of your employees’ origin, these programs should be available to all of them. 

Specific training for refugees and migrants will work, where they are informed about the host country’s cultural customs. Another specific intercultural and diversity training for the local employees is essential to help embrace diversity and work on prejudice. 

Promoting Open Communication and Overcoming Language Barriers

Good communication is critical if your business features a diverse workforce from different parts of the world. Setting up a sound system in place helps in communicating duties and progress. Unfortunately, having employees from all over the globe could mean multiple miscommunications and roadblocks. And that’s mainly with the existence of a language barrier. But providing language courses at the beginning and mentoring refugees who are not fluent in the local language may help. And with today’s technology, your business may also benefit from significant opportunities for boosting employment, training and educational outcomes, and language learning. 

Fostering strong Relationships Among Employees

Although team-building is often overlooked in the business sphere, creating meaningful relationships among workers helps significantly in refugees’ social inclusion. Team-building further keeps everyone engaged in their tasks and ensures everyone performs group tasks efficiently. Forbes Magazine further states that team-building “builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration.” So, your business’ top management can begin by arranging weekly face-to-face calls for all the workers to catch up and review their progress. 

For instance, the key to promoting meaningful intercultural communication Latin America is to bring your employees from completely different backgrounds together to work towards a similar objective. 

20 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can intercultural communication be successful, especially in business?

Intercultural communication is essential in any business. It allows people to interact constructively and respectfully. With that said, intercultural communication can be successful in business while helping with developing a hiring process that prioritizes employing diverse candidates. Additionally, intercultural communication can help with advancing internal communication within an intercultural, diverse team. In business, intercultural communication can also help in promoting existing client relationships.

How can businesses improve intercultural communication?

Today, businesses can advance intercultural communication in multiple ways. For instance, companies can invest in their workforce and the efficiency of their firms by offering regular English language training. Additionally, posting signs in the respective languages of their workers can boost intercultural communication in businesses. Businesses can also improve workplace intercultural communication by sending a plan to their personnel at least a day before meetings.

What is the role of intercultural communication in business?

In business, intercultural communication’s role is primarily to let individuals interact constructively and respectfully. Intercultural communication in Latin America further encourages respecting differences and finding common ground in a workplace. Workplace intercultural communication is equally vital on the phone, via text message, and email as it is in person.

Can you give examples of intercultural communication?

First, what is intercultural communication? In intercultural communication, individuals of one culture attempt to identify the information the other cultures covey. A good example of intercultural communication is in a hotel establishment where the hoteliers review their customers’ tastes and requirements and then offer services accordingly. On the same note, the customers also convey their messages to the hoteliers regarding their needs.

What are the 5 qualities of an effective good intercultural communicator?

Nowadays, an effective intercultural communicator possesses the following five essential qualities and skills;

  • They are respectful to the other dissimilar cultures. 
  • They are aware of their own culture and different cultures.
  • They have adequate knowledge of multiple cultural codes. 
  • They mirror their body language and are open-minded
  • They are members of international organizations, clubs, and associations.

What is the most crucial factor in intercultural communication?

The most crucial factor in intercultural communication is having an understanding of differences. Fundamentally, good intercultural communication needs intercultural awareness. This is employees’ understanding that different cultures feature varying norms and standards.

How can I be a better intercultural communicator?

Improving your intercultural communication qualities helps you become a better intercultural communicator. Here are top tips for effective workplace intercultural communication;

  • Learn how to maintain etiquette as many cultures globally have definite etiquette surrounding how they communicate.
  • Be open-minded since it might be challenging to properly understand someone’s viewpoint if you are not open to their perspective. 
  • Educate yourself because a lack of understanding between parties from different cultures could result in a strained relationship. 
  • Besides reading books and watching films for helpful, practical information, normalize interacting with different people physically to learn the most. 
  • Be self-aware by thinking about your overall presentation, attitude, and how you talk.

What are the advantages of intercultural communication?

Multi viewpoint is the main benefit of intercultural communication in any business. Individuals from different cultural backgrounds present their outstanding cultural experiences to the real-time state of affairs in business activities. In that case, innovative and distinct ideas blend to resolve business conflicts amicably. 

Still, intercultural communication creates healthier communities while reducing conflicts. Additionally, businesses experience increased national, local, and international commerce with intercultural communication. And that’s not forgetting the personal growth that companies and organizations experience through increased tolerance.

What are the three intercultural communication?

The intercultural communication study is mainly based on three primary methodological approaches, including interpretive, critical, and social scientific methods. Each of the three intercultural communication approaches reflects different philosophical hypotheses about the earth and how human beings came to know it.

What are the six barriers to effective intercultural communication?

General communication faces barriers like ethnocentrism, anxiety, nonverbal misinterpretations, prejudice and stereotypes, and language issues. When it comes to intercultural communication, the obstacles are almost similar. The following are the critical barriers to effective workplace intercultural communication;

  • Ethnocentrism is a phenomenon where most people naturally tend to look at other people’s cultures through their own lenses.
  • Psychological barriers.
  • Language barriers.
  • Conflicting values.
  • Geographical distance.

How do you practice intercultural communication?

If you want to practice and improve your intercultural communication successfully, here are the tips to follow;

  • Do your homework by researching communication techniques, cultural standards, and norms of a particular place if you know early what country you will be visiting or who you will be conversing with. 
  • Asking demonstrates your willingness to learn more about the current communication norms and a new culture.
  • But even with all the intercultural communication questions, you will ask and all the study you are going to undertake, accept that you could commit errors. 
  • Until you have spent significant months or years learning someone’s culture, you should avoid jokes because it can be easy to belittle or offend someone. And in professional circumstances like businesses, that can spell disaster. 
  • Practice actively listening to what people from other cultures are saying and make keen observations.

What are the challenges of intercultural communication?

Some of the common intercultural communication challenges include;

  • Different attitudes toward business conflicts.
  • Different communication styles.
  • Different decision-making styles.
  • Different approaches to completing work-related assignments.
  • Different approaches to knowing.
  • Different attitudes toward disclosure.

What is prejudice in intercultural communication?

In workplace intercultural communication, prejudice can either be positive or negative. But generally, prejudice is the biased, unfair, or intolerant opinions or attitudes that a worker may have toward another individual or group because they belong to a particular race, nationality, or religion.

Why are people afraid of intercultural communication?

People tend to be afraid of intercultural communication in the workplace because they must deal with intercultural communication issues. They are from different cultures, backgrounds, and values, meaning they often come across specific barriers while communicating. These intercultural communication barriers include anxiety, language, prejudice, ethnocentrism, and assumption of similarity.

What are the adverse effects of intercultural communication?

Most negative effects of intercultural communication result from its barriers. Take, for instance, ethnocentrism and apprehension. These two workplace intercultural communication barriers can negatively affect someone’s willingness to communicate outside the “in-group.” Additionally, these traits contribute to anxiety, which is another communication barrier.

What is ethnocentrism in intercultural communication?

In intercultural communication, ethnocentrism refers to an individual’s experience of seeing their own culture as superior to other people’s cultures. Ethnocentrism is an intercultural communication element that can affect how one communicates. An excellent example of ethnocentrism is when a Native American thinks that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans.

Why do we need to avoid ethnocentrism?

In the current 21st century, it is paramount that our society gets rid of or avoids ethnocentrism. In most cases, ethnocentrism results in incorrect assumptions about other people’s actions and behaviors based on your own values, beliefs, and norms. In worst scenarios, an individual or a group of people from one cultural background may view another culture as immoral or wrong. Consequently, they might attempt to convert people from the other culture to their own living ways, sometimes using force. 

In a workplace intercultural communication environment, showing an ethnocentric attitude makes other cultures feel undervalued. And when a section of a company’s workforce feels invalidated or devalued, they tend to shut down, leading to ineffective and/or unproductive communication.

What is ethnocentrism and examples?

Generally, ethnocentrism is the tendency to judge a different culture based on the standards of one’s culture. Typically, ethnocentrism involves the notion that one’s cultural practices, beliefs, values, etc., are superior to everyone else’s. Good examples of ethnocentrism include;

  • Using chopsticks versus western cutlery
  • Judging other nations’ diets.
  • Thinking you don’t have a particular accent while everyone else has one.
  • Judging women’s cultural outfits.
  • Thinking immigrants are taking your jobs.
  • Colonial imperialism. 
  • Expecting others to speak fluent English.

What is language in intercultural communication?

Language is the hub of intercultural communication. It is often and closely tied to one’s positioning, worldview, and general identity. Therefore, language influences how workers from different cultural backgrounds perceive and interact with each other.

What is culturally relativistic?

In intercultural communication in Latin America, cultural relativism means not judging a particular culture to our cultural standards of what is wrong or right, normal or strange. Instead, being culturally relativistic encourages us to try and understand the cultural practices, beliefs, and norms of other individuals/groups in their cultural context. 

Why Utilize The Sonatafy Nexxus Network

Are you a Latin American entrepreneur or other forms of business ownership? The truth is that your business could feature a diverse workforce. And since a diverse workforce often comes with multiple challenges in terms of communication, religion, and customs, Sonatafy Nexxus Network is here to help. At Sonatafy Nexxus Network, we are a rapid-growing social group with the aim of sharing experience, advice, helpful tricks and tips, and recommendations for all Latin American Developers and Engineers that intend to take their software development careers to the next level. 

At Sonatafy Nexxus Network, we are a family that believes that everything doesn’t have to do with work. It’s the positive and productive environment that matters most. So, we take intercultural communication in Latin America seriously as we offer our team members a positive environment and family culture without forgetting the feeling of being part of something big. By supporting each member of the Sonatafy team and making them feel at home, we help them learn the importance of supporting each other throughout every position and project, regardless of their cultural background. 

Additionally, Sonatafy Nexxus Network believes in equality. In this open-door policy, we encourage any software developer to book a meeting with any other software engineer, make suggestions and ask for help, regardless of their cultural background, management level, responsibility, or position. 

Visit our Sonatafy Nexxus Network website today or contact us to learn more about how you can master intercultural communication in your software-developing career.