We all get used to how we communicate with one another in our own comfort zone and setting. However we may not realize that certain tones, way that is phrased – may be perceived differently from someone from a different culture. So this is perhaps something to take note of when you travel, work abroad, or simply when you deal with someone of a different culture over phone during your day to day business dealings.
So how do we get along with everyone? Here are some of my thoughts:
- First train yourself to listen more than talk.
- Before interacting, first study and understand the person’s culture. And see how they were raised, what are their values, and how they prefer interacting (e.g.: European vs Saudi). Each culture has their preferences.
- Interact with the person, see what their sensitivities are, what they are bold about, and adapt to it in your communication to them. (e.g.: To more sensitive cultures, you would greet them with a softer tone, and don’t have to handshake like a lemon squeezing competition vs. say a strong culture, like French. Understand where they come from and transmit a similar aura)
- Learn a bit of their language so they see you are trying to see things from their perspective, rather than be pompous that you are more superior
- Speak clearly, tailor to each. For some you may want to keep it simple, for others you may want to elaborate a bit further.
The two pictures in this article was from my trip to South Africa. One in the cover photo was me trying to ‘fit in’ by joining a local group doing a tribal dance. But I think my outfit gave me away and made me standout. But hey to those who are one of those guys who can’t tell a difference when your girlfriend had her hair cut, maybe i might go unnoticed. This boy and girl in a cave were South Africans who are likely of Dutch decent, showed me around a cave where they mined for gold.
Oh, and the most important thing: Bring good aura and energy. Be positive, be nice, and when people feel that – regardless of culture, race or religion, they would appreciate it, and you will accepted with open arms.