This series of tips on how to be honest and be perceived as being honest by different cultures in order to build trust is not an easy one. We have seen how little cultural differences on many different levels can lead to misinterpretations and wrong assumption leading to a lack of trust. One of the best tactics to avoid these situations is to start off the best way possible.
Today we are going to look at how to avoid misinterpretations and wrong assumptions. Many cross-cultural blunders begin with a simple disconnect where there was no two-way communication and both parties went away with a different understanding of what was said.
Avoiding misunderstandings in a cross-cultural environment is a skill that takes practice.
Trust In Cross-Cultural Communication Challenge – Tip 19
Use extreme clarity to avoid wrong assumptions
The previous Cross-Cultural Communication Challenge gave 30 tips on how to Get Extreme Clarity In Cross-Cultural Communication.
Clear communication is the first step in avoiding wrong assumptions and misinterpretations due to cultural differences. Although I suggest you review the full 30 day challenge to get extreme clarity in cross-cultural communication, and download the Get Extreme With Clarity mini-poster, here is a summary of all of the 30 tips:
- Open your eyes, ears and your whole mind… and follow all aspects of your cross-cultural communication.
- Focus on what is said with words, body language, flow of conversation… and also what is not said.
- Listen to how the other person’s conversation fits with yours
- Listen carefully and be careful not to read any additional meanings into what is said in a cross-cultural conversation
- Listen to identify what the other person needs to hear to make the communication easier
- Ask follow up questions to confirm mutual understanding
- Ask questions to clarify even the slightest uncertainty or assumption
- Ask questions to get specific information and avoid assumptions
- Be aware of any assumptions you make and be sure to confirm these during your conversation.
- Don’t assume the other person thinks like you and try to identify how you can make the communication easier for him
- Be aware of the cultural flavor of your own language
- Think about the words you use and try to make them easy to understand
- Try to identify differences in communication and ways you can bridge the gap
- Pay attention to the flow of the conversation and clarify anything that seems the slightest bit out of place
- Look at your communication from a different angle
- Adapt your communication to make it easy for others to understand
- Give clear answers to questions before giving any additional information
- Focus on communicating one thing at a time and in the right sequence.
- Know what you want to say before starting
- Keep your written communication simple and to the point
- Think about rephrasing key points and things that may be be difficult to understand
- A good glossary is an invaluable tool to improve clarity.
- Do not forget to mention the information you think as obvious
- Break complex ideas into easy pieces and present them in a logical order
- Tell others why you do certain things differently so they can understand your cultural environment
- Look for different perspectives to see how you can simplify and clarify your communication
- Make sure that all of the elements of your communication say the same thing
- Notice similarities where glitches happen in your communication
- Look for reasons behind for questions especially if they are recurring questions
- Try to see your communication from the other person’s viewpoint
Good Communication Skills
Clarity does help to avoid the wrong assumptions that can lead to the perception of a lack of honesty and trust, but clarity is also a basic skill in communication. Any extra effort you make in improving the clarity of your communication will help you improve communication across a wide variety of potential cultural blunders.
Questions for you…
- How do you avoid wrong assumptions in cross-cultural communication?
- Why do you focus on clarity in cross-cultural communication?
- When do wrong assumptions interfere with international business relations?
Please share your stories in the comment section below.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: Cross-Cultural Communication
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