Avoid These Cross-Cultural Pitfalls

Avoid These Cross-Cultural Pitfalls

With the introduction of new international trade deals, the rise of global corporations, as well as the restructuring of businesses businesspeople, are interfacing increasingly with people from different cultures. This presents a whole new set of issues. What are your strategies for managing these challenges? Do you think that the values you were raised with are standard? Are your cultural values influencing your perception of the actions of other people?

If not correctly handled If not handled properly, these challenges between cultures could shut the door to business opportunities. Here are five factors that can cause miscommunication between different cultures.

“Standard” Standardization

We believe our way of doing things perform things is standard and that anything else is considered to be wrong. Ask the majority of Americans, “Which side of the road does British use to drive?” Most will respond, “The wrong side.” It’s not really wrong, but different. Our values and beliefs-in business and in our lives-aren’t always shared across the globe.

Business Priorities

In the United States, contracts are the crucial United States. We concentrate on the deal. However, there are many cultures that are a top priority is to establish a connection with you before evaluating the product or service you offer. It’s very irritating when potential customers want to go on a trip with you and feed you food or ask you to rest for a few days prior to presenting your idea. If you are impatient with their relationship-building process, you will never make the sale.

Words and Language

Simply because someone else in the world is fluent in English doesn’t mean you share the same understanding of specific terms. Roger Axtell, in his book Do’s and Taboos Around the World, is the author of this tale. An exchange student who was from Iceland resided in the home of the same American family. He was offered help by his wife to take his luggage out. While she was doing so, she asked him what prompted him to keep many forks in his luggage. He explained that every time the dinner was served at an American home, the hostess would clean the table to prepare for the next course and then say, “Keep your fork.” So…he did!

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Our usage of slang and business idioms could be confusing for people from a different culture, and the reverse is true. People from various cultures, particularly Asians, do not have the courage to be able to say “No.” Instead, they’ll try to keep the discussion to themselves. They might ask a non-related query, or say that it’s uncomfortable to talk about the issue now, or state that they will be able to answer in the near future.

Expressions of facial and gestural gestures

The facial expressions and gestures you make aren’t universal. If you hand out an “OK” or “thumbs up” gesture to your colleagues from different countries, you could send them an inappropriate message. The act of crossing your fingers to indicate good luck can be considered offensive in certain places. Doing a sway or a nod does not always mean approval. others use it to express “No.”

Space, Touch, and Distance

Cultural differences vary significantly in views on the proper distance between the participants during a conversation. Certain cultures are more tolerant than others. For instance, an Arab businessman could hold the hand of a male guest to show friendship while walking along the street. However, in Texas, it is possible to be taken to the hospital for this same behavior.

If you’re looking to establish new opportunities in the multi-cultural arena of the United States or doing business with foreign companies knowing the cross-cultural aspect is essential. Be aware of the challenges that cross cultures face to start your business with less confusion and thrive in the current global marketplace.

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