As we saw yesterday it is not always easy to be perceived by international clients as being honest.
- Sometimes it is difficult to know where to place people
- Something indefinable is unclear
Trouble starts when you ask yourself the direct questions:
- Do you trust this person from a different culture?
- Is he honest?
And cannot come up with immediate positive answers… because he’s different. And how can you be sure?
Cultural differences make it difficult to find the answers. They can wreck havoc on building trust in cross-cultural communication.
This is why we are going through a few things to keep in mind during cross-cultural encounters. You need to be aware of possible cultural blunders simply because other people may get the wrong impression and lost trust in you.
It is always much easier to work at nurturing trust than trying to recuperate lost trust in cross-cultural situations.
There are only a few key things to remember with regards to being perceived as honest.
Trust In Cross-Cultural Communication Challenge – Tip 17
No hidden agendas
As usual, it is fairly easy to understand the reason why today’s tip is important. When people from different cultures think they are dealing with someone who has a hidden agenda they become wary. This situation is not a good foundation on which to build trust.
There are 3 reasons why I include this tip.
There is almost always some degree of initial apprehension or wariness when dealing with people from different cultures for the first time. There is a readiness to become wary, especially in the beginning of the cross-cultural relationships.
This is naturel and one of the reasons why you need to work on building trust in the first place.
If you do have information that you need to keep private you have to be very careful. When people are wary, they are usually capable of telling when something is missing.
Cross-Cultural Differences In Perception
The next big problem is that different cultures perceive things differently. There are two scenarios to pay attention to:
When you are withholding information and the person from the other culture feels you have a hidden agenda, but imagines something worse.
Even in normal communication a person from a different culture can misinterpret something and falsely deduct a hidden agenda.
This is one reason why it is best to:
- Communicate clearly and with consistency
- Explain things in a logical manner
- Be open
Different Business Practices
In international business, you will rapidly see differences in how businesses do things. It is always important for all parties to be aware of these differences and to explain the process well enough to avoid any misinterpretations.
When personal issues are mixed with cultural differences in doing business it becomes even more important to cultivate an environment of trust.
Balancing Perception Of Honesty
These are different reasons why others may think you have a hidden agenda. In practice there are two common situations in cross-cultural encounters:
An apparent foundation of honesty without any hidden agendas. This may or may not be true.
An environment where both sides have an undercurrent of wariness. This can be the easiest to deal with because you generally know where you stand in this international business relationship.
In both of these situations, there is one thing to do:
- Continually work on developing your trust factor
Cross-cultural encounters without hidden agendas is much easier than with them. In a business environment, the best way to avoid hidden agendas is to get focused on the task at hand and find the reason for the connection in the first place.
And what about you?
- What hidden agendas have you encountered in international business?
- Why do you think it is easy to perceive hidden agendas in cross-cultural encounters?
- Why does trust become an issue in cross-cultural business when our perception of honesty is not clear?
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: Cross-Cultural Communication
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