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Three Mistakes Closed Minds Want You To Believe About Cross-Cultural Communication

If you’re serious about learning how to get diverse team members to start working together like a well-oiled machine, then this list of common mistakes preventing people from engaging in cross-cultural communication holds the keys you need.

The moral with this list is don’t let uncertainty hold you back from engaging with different cultures. 

There are common misconceptions people hold when interacting with other cultures. Everyone needs to understand this means you can change your mindset when approaching new cultures; however, these beliefs will keep you stuck in your efforts to create an inclusive environment.

Mistake # 1 – Expecting The Other Culture To Be Just Like Me

Many people encounter another culture and suddenly feel uncomfortable because everything seems different.  However, when you expect things to be different, it becomes a more comfortable experience.

Mistake # 2 – Thinking Differences Are A Sign Of Superiority Or Inferiority

Many people see how other cultures function differently and assume their own way is better (or in some cases worse) than the new culture.  However, there often is no right or wrong way to do something, just different ways that may be more or less effective.

Mistake # 3 – Refusing To Try Anything New

Many people avoid trying new things – food, fun, or festivals – because they are unfamiliar and they’re not sure they’ll like them.  However, you’ll never know until you try! As long as you remain respectful, it’s ok to try something new and not like it.

My advice at this point is to learn more about what makes cultures unique and special.

Want even more? Well, if you’ve ever wanted a whole lot more detail about building a diverse team, my one-on-one complimentary consultation has the answers every leader needs.  Click Here: https://calendly.com/tasham-troy/consultation

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Three Ways Cross-Cultural Communication Can Help You Become More Inclusive

I was recently asked what the top reasons would be that a professional should get started and to learn about cross-cultural communication. I have three key reasons why I think this is an important topic for any professional, but especially for leaders.

  1. The first reason is, the better you understand yourself, the better you can understand others. As you understand others, you can adapt and connect with them, build strong connections, and find those win-win outcomes that we talk about in business so much. “Understand yourself to understand others.” 
  1. The second reason is that learning cross-cultural communication helps you develop a respect for differences. When you see people from Korea doing things very differently from Americans, you can say,  “Oh, that’s because it’s a different culture.” However, when you see your neighbors down the street doing something different from how your family does things, we don’t usually think, “Oh, it’s because it’s a different culture.” We tend to expect everyone to interact with the world the same way we do, but that is unreasonable. There are many ways to do things right in a lot of cases, so developing that respect for differences is the second reason. 
  1. The third reason is to learn to honor and value differences. It’s not enough to recognize and respect differences. You might find another person’s way of doing something is more effective. Just because your family or your community did it one way doesn’t mean it’s the most effective or the best way. As I’ve learned about different cultures and different ways of doing things through interacting with professionals from other countries, I’ve been able to create my own way of approaching things.

In the end, I think it’s human nature to gravitate towards what’s familiar, but I love what John Maxwell says. 

In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he has the Law of Magnetism, which states, “Who you are is who you attract.” A lot of times we attract the people who look and act and sound like us; that’s natural. But when you’re intentional, you can attract the people who have the same values, who might look and sound and act differently, but have similarities that go deeper than the surface.

Again, it’s human nature to connect with people who are familiar, but when you step out of your own perspective, there’s so much you can learn, and you can benefit from the enrichment that comes from diverse perspectives.

Not sure where to start? I offer complimentary, no obligation introductory consultations. Schedule your consultation at https://calendly.com/tasham-troy/consultation, or contact Tasha M. Troy at tmtroy@troycommunications.net.