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Cross Cultural Strategies – Not Just for Big Business Anymore

“What are you talking about? Cross Cultural Strategies? You mean like those giant US companies that do business overseas? No. That doesn’t affect me.”

If you had thoughts like that when you read this headline, read on. You are in for a big surprise. As an employee or as small local business, either on line or on the street, you more than likely communicate across cultures every day and you didn’t even know it.

When you are shopping or go to work, do you deal with persons with a different cultural background than yourself? Then you are using communicating across cultures.

Do Hispanics live in your area? Vietnamese? Japanese? Any other culture? When you talk to them do they sometimes look confused? They may be polite about it, but they still walk away wondering just what you meant.

Confusion on their part could be anything from a hand gesture to slang or even to how you reacted when that elderly lady was stuggling with her shopping basket.

How would you know if you had inadvertently offended that person? By learning some Cross Cultural Strategies.

Just to get a feel for the amount of intercultural communication going on in the US today, look at the following statistics that provide ready evidence that intercultural differences abound in America.

The 2008 American Community Survey data reveals that…

  • 36% of residents of New York City are foreign born (estimated)
  • Miami is 70% Latin American
  • San Francisco is about one-third Asian.
  • African Americans, Asians, and Latin Americans make up 38% of the U.S. population, up from 30% in 2003[i].

Did this surprise you? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on where you live.

Now you know that you are already communicating cross culturally. So, if you are already doing it without realizing it, just why is it all that important that we understand intercultural business communication?

  1. Because you have probably already offended many people without your knowledge.
  2. Worse, if you are in business, you may have lost out on a lot of business because of these mistakes.

Why learn cross cultural strategies? Because these strategies address the procedural, substantive, and informational global problems you need to be aware of whether working at the local Wal-Mart with a multi-cultural staff or dealing with country-to-country contacts, diplomacy, and international legal issues.

Stick with me and you’ll learn as we go along. Later you may decide to take part in some of my webinars that tackle specific Cross Cultural Strategies.

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One Response to “Cross Cultural Strategies – Not Just for Big Business Anymore”

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