In today’s diverse workplace, communication issues have their own set of challenges. Even if someone talks the same language as you, their culture and background can have their own set of unspoken assumptions and tendencies.  Many people rely too much on their own common sense to communicate with a cross-cultural audience effectively, but this can lead to misinterpretation, misunderstanding and even misjudgement. 


This article gives you 3 As to focus on for effective cross-cultural communication: 


  • Acknowledge your differences


To be a successful communicator and public speaker, you need to show awareness and willingness to adapt how you communicate and exchange information. Cultural values and behaviors will vary significantly depending on the country your audience was born, grew up in, or who has influenced them the most. 


We all have our own unconscious barriers or subconscious biases that affect the way in which we communicate. Effective public speakers need to demonstrate a degree of flexibility and willingness to try different ways of communicating their One BIG Message®


When we can demonstrate respect for cultural differences, we reduce the chance of alienating members of our audience, and increase the chances of them being greatly influenced by our message and acting on our word. 


  • Analyze their communication styles


The second important ‘A’ of cross-cultural communication is to analyze their unique communication styles. Find out as much as you can about the audience you are speaking to. 


There is so much information available on the internet that will give you insight into the cultural background and history of the people you are about to speak to. 


Consider not only the language they speak but also their original culture, otherwise known as co-culture. In American society, for example, there are African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, and Arab Americans and each will have their own co-cultural influences and beliefs. 


  • Adapt your own communication style


Finally, a cross-culturally aware speaker will learn how to adapt the direction and format of their message content to positively engage their audience.


This might include explaining concepts using a ‘local’ example so they can relate to it and make it more relevant. You may also need to use brief pauses so you can actively ‘listen’ to the audience and check how they are responding. This will allow you to adjust your communication style spontaneously so that your audience understand it better. 


Ask a “GOOD question.” This is a type of question that people are willing to answer and allows them to think deeper into themselves to find a meaningful answer. It provides greater insight for the person asking the question, as well as for your audience who answer it. 


When your communication strategy is guided by the 3A’s, you’ll find that your results will embody a fourth – Amazing!

If you want to find out more about how to deliver an effective cross-cultural presentation, enrol on my online course “The Art of Persuasive Speaking in Global Business” and be ready to adapt any message to any audience.

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