Author: Anna Todor
Astound Commerce is a home to talents of various cultural origins. People of six different ethnic backgrounds often have to become a close-knit team to work together on a project. And, while sometimes understanding each other takes time and patience, our different mentalities and temperaments seem to complement one another in our work for clients. Our differences become our strengths, ultimately contributing to successful results.
However, getting along with people from all over the world is a skill that needs nurturing. And, if you are confused as to where to start, go ahead and follow these steps:
We are all different, yet we often expect everyone else to be like us. And if they don’t do the things our way, we assume there is something wrong with them. If you start communication expecting the person to be just like you, most likely you will face some misunderstandings. While, accepting that we are different and that we actually do things differently may lead to discovering we have lots in common.
Most of us appreciate people who show an interest in our culture. You may not know a lot (or anything) about certain cultures, and it’s totally ok. Just let people know upfront that your knowledge is limited but you are eager to learn more. Moreover, showing an interest will not only help you start conversation, but also avoid stereotypes and find the common ground easily.
Yes, we use English for cross-cultural communication. Different levels of English proficiency can impact the level of understanding and the quality of talk in general. Subconsciously we are seeking communication with the people we understand well, and we are likely to overlook those whose English is not as good (or as bad) as ours. So it should be our choice to be equally patient with those who speak differently:
– speak slowly and encourage participation of people who are not confident about their English,
– and don’t be shy to ask for clarification while talking to native speakers.
Remember: everybody wants to be understood!
We often listen to somebody and don’t hear what they are saying. We either interrupt, present our view right away or even jump to wrong conclusions. If you’d like to understand a person from a different culture, let them finish their stories to learn more about their experiences, to hear what conclusions they drew and how those experiences made them feel. And only after that you are welcome to share your opinion or a similar experience. This scenario is extremely helpful, so try it out!
Even though we are different, it doesn’t hinder us from having lots in common. There’s a chance that both you and your colleague can’t live without music and yes, the music you like can be different. You might read different books, but treat literature with the same passion. You can share love (or hate) for sports or wish that today was already Friday and still have different plans for the evening. You are from different cultures, but might have the same problems. And this is what helps us bond despite our differences. We are all different, but a little bit the same no matter where we come from.
“The search for understanding our cultural diversity makes us strong, because it reminds us that we are humans, that sometimes trust takes time and patience, but with respect and clarity in our common goals, we gain that transparency and affection, and that makes us thrive.”Tatiana Jaramillo
Project Manager, Colombia