Throughout this month’s series we have looked at 5 different areas to build trust in cross-cultural communication:
- Smooth Differences
- Cultivate Quiet Self-confidence
- Do What You Promise
- Be Honest
- Show Respect
The last area we are going to look at is to:
- Be Polite
And once again, we are going to look into 5 specific ways to be polite and build trust in cross-cultural communication. The 5 tips ways of being polite are:
- Use subtlety
- Seek the path of gentleness
- Cultivate authentic humility
- Do not brag and boast
- Show genuine care
First let’s look at reasons why we may not remain polite…
Of course there are cultural differences in politeness, but there are times when we can forget to remain polite. Sometimes at a very basic level, we let ourselves react negatively to cross-cultural differences. Sometimes the culture shock makes us forget to remain polite.
Politeness and lack of politeness is a recurring theme in cross-cultural difficulties.
How does being polite help you build trust in cross-cultural communication? The answer is very simply because a lack of politeness is not a good foundation for building trust. In some cultures and in some circumstances a lack of politeness is a serious breach of protocol. It is always a good idea to take the simple steps you need to be polite in all cross-cultural circumstances.
Trust In Cross-Cultural Communication Challenge – Tip 26
It is not always straightforward to know:
- What politeness really means in other cultures and how to create this – words do not always have the same interpretations
- How polite others find you and what you can do to improve this perception
This is why a dose of subtlety is always useful. Of course there are other forms of politeness, but subtlety helps you to avoid cross-cultural pitfalls and gently find the direction to take.
A Question Of Style
Although many seasoned international professionals master the use of subtlety, not all use it to the same extent. This might be related to the cultures you are used to dealing with. High context cultures would require more frequent use of subtlety than others. There are different styles in using subtlety in communication.
Reasons To Use Subtlety In Communication
Dimension To Communication
When you do use subtlety this usually adds another dimension to cross-cultural communication. It widens your scope of action.
When Direct Communication Does Not Work
There are international business situations where a direct approach does not work very well. Often a more subtle approach can move discussions forward faster.
Added Value In Business
Subtle communication expertise can be extremely valuable in international business.
A Skill To Master
It takes time to master subtlety in communication, to know:
- When to use it
- How to use it
- And when not to use it
Subtlety in communication is an advanced communication skill that takes cross-cultural communication to another level. It can help to build trust, because others quickly recognize this as a desire for meaningful communication, respect of each person’s cultures and a form of politeness.
Questions for you…
- Do you find it easy to recognize subtlety in cross-cultural communication?
- When do you need subtlety in cross-cultural communication?
- How do you build trust in international clients with subtlety in cross-cultural communication?
Please share your stories in the comment section below.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: Cross-Cultural Communication
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