Is “cross-cultural communication” just another one of those buzzwords that’s being used everywhere but nobody really knows what it means? Despite the potential hype, cross-cultural competence is nevertheless a widely recognized and valid concept which every expat should be familiar with.
Being familiar with cross-cultural communication doesn’t just imply having a vague or rudimentary idea of what the expression means and how it works. In order to become an IEP, an interculturally effective person, you need to understand the concept with all its components. Moreover, you should be able to translate the theory into action.
Whole books have been written on cross-cultural communication; it has even become a popular subject in academia. The basics, as well as its practical uses, are hardly rocket science, though. Our introduction to intercultural communication attempts a simple definition of the topic and explains the idea behind it, with a focus on illustrating its importance for expats. We have included case studies to show how you can profit from a basic knowledge of communication across cultures and how you can put this into practice.
Cross-cultural communication in a business context, while being based on the same principles, requires some additional analysis and preparation. Our article on cross-cultural training for business purposes focuses on giving business presentations to an international audience. By pointing out some common international business issues and showing how to analyze your audience and their expectations effectively, this guide touches upon an important aspect of cross-cultural training for many expatriates.
Just like cross-cultural communication, intercultural competence seems like an empty phrase to many. There are considerable numbers of people, expats even, who fail to acknowledge its relevance to their lives. This doesn’t automatically mean they don’t perform well in an international setting, where such skills are usually in great demand. However, a clear idea of what intercultural competence is and how it manifests itself might come in handy one day, even if you are a natural at this.
Intercultural competence is a skill that can be acquired, like most others. Once you have admitted to yourself that your intercultural skills might lack the final polish and that there’s room for improvement, you’re already halfway there. Don’t stop here, though. Read our articles on intercultural competence, cultural awareness, and cultural intelligence to find out what you could do better when dealing with people from different countries. Cross-cultural communication expertise is always a bonus!