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Multi Cultural Communication


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presentation introducing cross cultural communication information and tips to avoid the largest hazard companies have in today\'s global business world.

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Multi Cultural Communication

  1. 1. Multi-Cultural Communication<br />Oakland County Employment Diversity Council<br />June 17, 2009<br />
  2. 2. Background<br />Marketing Director, IteroText Translation Services<br />Blogger/Host, Global Business Perspectives<br />Masters, Communication, Thesis: Diversity Training Effectiveness<br />Conference Presenter on Self Labeling and Hate Crimes<br />Lived in both Spain and Brazil<br />Communication Geek<br />
  3. 3. What is Diversity?<br />&quot;Diversity is understood in its broadest sense: diversity of thought, of experience, and of background”<br />Source: Pfizer<br />
  4. 4. Business Case for Diversity<br />“The most universal quality is diversity.“<br />Montaigne<br />Raises marketing opportunities<br />Increases creativity and innovation<br />Enhances recruitment and retention<br />Boosts productivity<br />Ups shareholder value<br />Deepens customer loyalty<br />Increases employee commitment and morale<br />
  5. 5. Pick a shape<br />Try not to put too much effort into analyzing why a shape is or isn’t appealing, and instead, just pick your favorite one. <br />Choose the shape most appealing to you. <br />
  6. 6. The World is Flat – Global View<br />Thomas Friedman’s Book read by 3 million + Americans today. <br />95% of the World’s consumers are outside of the borders of the U.S.<br />Technologies are breaking through borders with communication tools like Email, Internet, Skype, Facebook (57 languages & 70% non US.) <br />
  7. 7. Global Communication <br />Language and culture are at the core of all human society<br />Interpretation: Verbal translation of words<br />Translation: Written interpretation of words<br />Companies get it wrong all the time and it costs $ and productivity.<br />Language <br />Lost in Translation<br />“Finger-lickin’ good” Slogan translated into Chinese became…<br />“eat your fingers off”<br />
  8. 8. 1 of 100 people<br />We are citizens of a very diverse world<br />If we shrank the earth’s population to a “global village” of only 100 people and kept all the existing human ratios, there would be:<br />
  9. 9. What’s in the Numbers…<br />61 from Asia <br />21 from China <br />17 from India <br />13 from Africa <br />12 from Europe <br />5 from the U.S. <br />1 from Australia and New Zealand <br />17 who speak a Chinese dialect <br />8 who speak English<br />8 who speak Hindi <br />50 females<br />50 males<br />31 Christians <br />69 non-Christians, 16 of are non-religious <br />21 Muslims <br />6 Buddhists<br />14 Hindus<br />29 who have enough to eat <br />88 old enough to read<br />17 of whom cannot read at all <br />Source:<br />
  10. 10. Shift Happens – A Domestic View<br />15.6% of U.S. Workers are foreign born<br />The U.S. workforce (generally ages 25 to 64) is in the midst of a sweeping demographic transformation. <br />From 1980 to 2020, two shifts are happening<br />larger numbers of younger Americans (ages 0 to 44) are ethnic minorities – Hispanics the largest segment<br />increasing numbers of white workers are reaching retirement age.<br />Source: National Center for Public Policy & Higher Education and Bureau of Labor Statistics<br />
  11. 11. Culture…also known as<br />National / ethnic culture: The group assumed to be site of child&apos;s primary socialization -- &quot;THE Latvian culture,&quot; &quot;THE African-American culture.&quot; In the U.S. this is usually the assumed meaning of culture, and people revert to this narrow view of culture out of habit, even when you may have been quite explicit about defining culture more broadly than this.<br />Secondary or subgroup culture: Cultural groups we&apos;ve been socialized into: Organizational culture, professional culture, manager culture, Muslim culture, peer culture, prison culture, nerd culture and so on.<br />Culture in the anthropological sense: the meanings and behaviors groups of people develop and share over time.<br />Capital C Culture: the high arts of theater, painting, music, etc., or a superior upbringing. <br />
  12. 12. Culture as a Toolbox<br />Cultural &quot;tools&quot; for making dinner would include heat source and cooking vessels, knowledge of food stuffs, recipes, knives, rules for what items are served at which time of day to which kinds of guests. <br />Instead of saying &quot;in this culture we make tables THAT way, we raise children or cook a meal THIS way&quot;, we acknowledge that culture gives us a set of tools for the task, along with a guide book that suggests how we might use those tools and what the results should look like. <br />
  13. 13. What is Cross Cultural Communication?<br />The process of exchanging meaningful and unambiguous information across cultural boundaries, in a way that preserves mutual respect and minimizes antagonism. (inclusive)<br />People from different cultures encode and decode messages differently, increasing the chances of misunderstanding, so the safety-first consequence of recognizing cultural differences should be to assume that everyone&apos;s thoughts and actions are not just like ours.<br />
  14. 14. Culture and Communication - Context<br />The general terms &quot;high context&quot; and &quot;low context&quot; (popularized by Edward Hall) are used to describe broad-brush cultural differences between societies. Varies on a spectrum.<br />High context: refers to societies or groups where people have close connections over a long period of time. Many aspects of cultural behavior are not made explicit because most members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. Your family is probably an example of a high context environment. <br />Low context: refers to societies where people tend to have many connections but of shorter duration or for some specific reason. In these societies, cultural behavior and beliefs may need to be spelled out explicitly so that those coming into the cultural environment know how to behave. <br />
  15. 15. High Context<br />Examples: Small religious congregations, a party with friends, family gatherings, neighborhood restaurants with a regular clientele, on-campus friendships, regular pick-up games. <br />Asia and the Middle East<br />Less verbally explicit communication, less written/formal information <br />More internalized understandings of what is communicated <br />Multiple cross-cutting ties and intersections with others <br />Long term relationships <br />Strong boundaries- who is accepted as belonging vs who is considered an &quot;outsider&quot; <br />Knowledge is situational, relational. <br />Decisions and activities focus around personal face-to-face relationships, often around a central person who has authority. <br />
  16. 16. Low Context<br />Examples: large US airports, a chain supermarket, a cafeteria, a convenience store, sports where rules are clearly laid out, a motel.<br />USA and Germany<br />Rule oriented, people play by external rules <br />More knowledge is codified, public, external, and accessible. <br />Sequencing, separation--of time, of space, of activities, of relationships <br />More interpersonal connections of shorter duration <br />Knowledge is more often transferable <br />Task-centered. Decisions and activities focus around what needs to be done, division of responsibilities. <br />
  17. 17. The Notion of Time<br />Linear - distinct and manageable segments<br />Time is $<br />Deadlines are critical/promises<br />Circular - a flowing commodity that can’t be controlled<br />schedules, agendas and appointments-flexible because involvement and interaction with people are considered more important<br />Low Context<br />High Context<br />
  18. 18. Be Careful of Yes or No<br />Many high context cultures will say yes while in a group setting to avoid embarrassment<br />Notion of saving face<br />Low Context cultures are more willing to say no when requests cannot be fulfilled.<br />Yes<br />No<br />
  19. 19. Leaders and Change Agent Traits <br />Must come from the top down<br />Co-created vision not a response to legal issues<br />Possess self knowledge and awareness<br />Curious about others <br />Open to new ideas and willingness to learn<br />Doesn’t live in a world of absolutes but in shades of gray<br />Can communicate clearly in various forms<br />Passionate about change <br />Ability to motivate others<br />
  20. 20. Adapting Management Styles<br />If these issues become apparent, try one or more of these ideas. Please don’t insult multicultural employees who can manage your expectations by indiscriminately applying these solutions to them.<br />Deal with performance issues upfront and as a group. <br />When assigning a task to team, ask them to create a detailed work plan before agreeing to any deadline. <br />Once a deadline is agreed upon, tell the team that you expect them to come to you if, for any reason, meeting it becomes doubtful.<br />Coach any employee who comes to talk to you privately, on ways to sell his/her ideas to the rest of the team. Or provide a coach or mentor within the team who can perform that function. <br />When an employee seems to agree to do something, especially in a non-committal way, paraphrase until you understand his/her concerns. Don’t ask yes or no ?s.<br />Make sure everyone—not just your multicultural employees—knows that performance evaluations will take into consideration how well people meet expectations to achieve desired results. <br />
  21. 21. Cross Cultural Tips<br />Research the cultures to gain understanding of a culture<br />Set clear agendas and expectations of interactions/meetings<br />Avoid using slang and idioms, choosing words that will convey only the most specific denotativemeaning<br />Listen carefully and, if in doubt, ask for confirmation of understanding (particularly important if local accents and pronunciation are a problem)<br />Recognize that accenting and intonation can cause meaning to vary significantly<br />
  22. 22. Cross Cultural Tips Cont…<br />Respect the local communication formalities/styles, and watch for any changes in body language<br />Be careful of written word choices as your communication will be analyzed thoroughly by the recipient<br />Investigate aculture&apos;s perception of your culture by reading literature about your culture through their eyes before entering into communication. This will allow you to prepare yourself for projected views of your culture you will be bearing.<br />If it is not possible to learn the other&apos;s language, it is beneficial to show respect by learning a few words.<br />
  23. 23. Platinum Rule<br />Who knows the golden rule?<br />Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.<br />Who knows the Platinum Rule?<br />Do unto others as they would have done to themselves.<br />
  24. 24. -Must understand in today’s workplace<br />-Miscommunication-greatest workplace hazard<br />-The typical consumer is changing<br />-The composition of the American workforce is changing<br />-Marketplace has gone global and isn’t going back<br />Multicultural Communication<br />Remember: Every person and every situation is unique and different. <br />
  25. 25. Questions?<br />Contact Information:<br />Beverly Cornell<br /><br /><br />248-556-6746<br />LinkedIn:<br />Twitter: @beverlycornell<br />