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Effective Communication in Multicultural Teams

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Historically, most people spent most of their lives interacting with people from the same culture and who spoke the same language. Globalization has put more people from different backgrounds in direct contact with each other, and this trend is only accelerating. The next adventure of humankind is learning to be effective working on diverse teams – overcoming language and cultural gaps, and making the most of the varied perspectives and ideas that people from different backgrounds bring. This involves understanding the impact of culture, understanding one’s own cultural style, learning effective techniques for communicating with those who have different styles, and learning how to bridge the language barrier.
This session will explore these issues, with a focus on what everyone can do to make communication in their teams more effective. You’ll come away from this session with a new awareness as well as things you can try right away.

https://tech.rakuten.co.jp/

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Effective Communication in Multicultural Teams

  1. 1. Effective Communication in Multicultural Teams Rakuten Tech Conference 2016
  2. 2. Hello ! I’m Rochelle Kopp You can find me at @JapanIntercult in English, @JICRochelle in Japanese, and @SVSpeak for Silicon Valley topics Email: Rochelle@japanintercultural.com
  3. 3. Let’s use Global English ! Tell me to slow down, or ask ques- tions if needed
  4. 4. The Next Adventur e of Human- kind Will it be like Star Trek?
  5. 5. Group discussion and debrief ▪What’s most difficult for you about communicating in multicultural teams?
  6. 6. What is culture?
  7. 7. Assess Your Communication Style ▪For each of the statements below, choose how well it describes yourself, using one of the following:1 Strongly agree 2 Somewhat agree 3 Neutral 4 Somewhat disagree 5 Strongly disagree
  8. 8. Questions ▪I feel that problems are best solved by getting them out in the open. ▪I feel that differences in opinion should be surfaced rather than hidden or glossed over. ▪I enjoy debate and discussion. ▪I say clearly what I am thinking without hesitation, even if I know it’s different from what others are thinking. ▪I believe that conflict can be healthy and constructive. 1 Strongly agree 2 Somewhat agree 3 Neutral 4 Somewhat disagree 5 Strongly disagree
  9. 9. Scoring ▪Please add up your answers for questions 1-5, and divide by five. This is your score for “Communication and conflict resolution."
  10. 10. The farther someone is to the left, the more they: ▪Feel that problems are best solved by getting them out in the open. ▪Do not feel that confrontation damages relationships. ▪Feel that differences in opinion should be surfaced. ▪Enjoy debate and discussion. ▪Say clearly what they are thinking. ▪Do not hesitate to give their own opinion. Out in the open, confrontation OK, direct Avoids confrontation, indirect
  11. 11. The farther someone is to the right, the more they: ▪Feel that harmony is important. ▪Fear that confrontation will damage relationships. ▪Are uncomfortable being open about differences in opinion. ▪Are careful when communicating information that the other person may not want to hear. ▪Sugar-coat, use roundabout and softer ways of saying things. ▪May be reluctant to share their opinion. Out in the open, confrontation OK, direct Avoids confrontation, indirect
  12. 12. Communication and conflict resolution style DK D NL F R H SW A US I S B UK IN HK K J LA P ME E C AF SE V M T Out in the open, confrontation OK, direct Avoids confrontation, indirect
  13. 13. If the person you are working with is to the right of you: ▪Avoid disagreeing with someone or criticizing them in front of other people. ▪Be careful in your tone and choice or words when you disagree with someone. ▪Be sensitive to subtleties of what the other person says -- and doesn't say -- to you. ▪Find methods other than public debate for addressing issues -- put more emphasis on one-on- one conversations. Out in the open, confrontation OK, direct Avoids confrontation, indirect
  14. 14. If the person you are working with is to the left of you: ▪Realize that their disagreement with you or criticism of your idea does not mean that they dislike you personally. ▪Don't think that you are being treated rudely when you are spoken to directly or without the niceties/softeners typical in your culture. ▪Put your opinion into words and don't hesitate to express it. ▪If someone's behavior is bothering you, let them know about it (give negative feedback). ▪Explain your actions. Out in the open, confrontation OK, direct Avoids confrontation, indirect
  15. 15. Specific helpful tech- niques
  16. 16. Disagreeing effectively ▪AVOID: I do not like your idea. / You are wrong. / Your view is not good. / That’s stupid. ▫I have a different viewpoint on this. ▫I see this another way. ▫I have been thinking about this problem from another angle. ▫I respect your opinion, but I think that ~ ▪I see your point, but I believe that ~
  17. 17. Expressing concerns ▪AVOID: (Not saying anything) ▪I’m not completely convinced. ▪I have some concerns about this. ▪I think we need to think about this more. ▪Let’s discuss further before deciding. ▪I would like to gather more data about this. ▪I’m not ready to decide yet. ▪There are parts of this that I’m not comfortable with.
  18. 18. Getting a word in edgewise ▪AVOID: (Not saying anything) ▪Excuse me. ▪May I say something? ▪I’d like to comment. ▪I have something to say. ▪May I have a turn? ▪I’d like to talk. ▪May I have the floor?
  19. 19. Over- coming the languag e barrier
  20. 20. Use of identificaton statements ▪Stating form of the expression at the beginning of speaking. ▪Just do it yourself, or can be agreed to by participants prior to meeting. ▪Can also be adopted as an in-house protocol. ▪Examples ▸I have a question. ▸This is my opinion. ▸This is a suggestion. / I have an idea. ▸This is some factual information.
  21. 21. Two verb exercise
  22. 22. What can native speakers do? (and what should non-native speakers ask for?) ▪Distribute materials ahead of time ▪Prepare an agenda ▪Avoid slang and unusual vocabulary (or explain it) ▪Enunciate clearly ▪Slow down ▪Don’t try to talk louder ▪Draw diagrams / use whiteboard ▪Write confirming memos
  23. 23. Thank s!! Any questions? You can find me at @JapanIntercult in English, @JICRochelle in Japanese, and @SVSpeak for Silicon Valley topics Email: Rochelle@japanintercultural.com

Historically, most people spent most of their lives interacting with people from the same culture and who spoke the same language. Globalization has put more people from different backgrounds in direct contact with each other, and this trend is only accelerating. The next adventure of humankind is learning to be effective working on diverse teams – overcoming language and cultural gaps, and making the most of the varied perspectives and ideas that people from different backgrounds bring. This involves understanding the impact of culture, understanding one’s own cultural style, learning effective techniques for communicating with those who have different styles, and learning how to bridge the language barrier. This session will explore these issues, with a focus on what everyone can do to make communication in their teams more effective. You’ll come away from this session with a new awareness as well as things you can try right away. https://tech.rakuten.co.jp/

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