In this second to last tip in this months challenge to build trust in cross-cultural communication, we are going to take a hard look at ourselves again. Here are the 4 other tips in this series on being polite are:
In our search for improving our politeness and others perception of our politeness across cultures, we have taken a good hard look at ourselves.
Today let’s try to go a little bit further… today’s tip is not as simple as it seems and it is not as small as it seems either.
Read further to see just how far a little observation can lead you…
Trust In Cross-Cultural Communication Challenge – Tip 29
Do not brag and boast
We all have stereotypical images of what bragging and boasting means to us. First, let me say that yes, it is important to curtail any tendencies to go overboard in the area of bragging and boasting. But this is not what we are going to cover today. We are simply going to use this as a starting place to go even further and discover an essential part of all cultural and international skills.
We have all had experiences of with different emotions by someone bragging or boasting. These emotions could have been:
Bragging and boasting can incite different feelings in others and with varying degrees of intensity… but from a communication point of view, bragging and boasting are usually not the best way to transmit the message. There is too much interference from other emotions.
Similarities In Reactions
Once again cultural differences can create havoc in our communication. There are a range of communication practices that can come across wrongly in different cultures. These practices might not be considered as bragging and boasting in some countries, but they incite the same range of emotions in other cultures. Here are a two easy examples:
- Excessive politeness in saying “please” and giving compliments too often can come across badly in some cultures. What is politeness anyway? Remember it is different for everyone.
- I have written about the cultural differences in smiling between North America and France. Best practices in how you smile differ in different cultures. Smiling may be universal, but the message you send in how you smile is not universal.
The Perceptions Others Have
Human reactions are complex when we react to people. Different cultural signals can be misinterpreted. There are certain basic things we can do for good communication:
- Communicate with clarity and consistency
But we are who we are and we cannot always become chameleons and adapt our communication to fit 100% to one culture after another in international business. What we can do is pay close attention to how others perceive us. Look for signs where we might be inciting reactions similar to what people might feel towards bragging and boasting.
Cultural Awareness A Tool To Actively Build Trust
Cross-cultural awareness of what others think and their reactions helps to create a strong foundation on which to build trust. Cultural awareness is important to find the right way of being polite.
But if you stop at the foundation you are missing something. This cultural awareness can be used well beyond laying a good foundation.
When you use your cultural awareness with care and with thoughtfulness it can become the tool that enables you to build the trust you need for international business.
Questions for you
- What cultural differences have you noticed when people from different cultures brag or boast?
- How do you use your cultural awareness to improve trust in cross-cultural communication?
- What are your favorite tools to build trust 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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