Basic Principles to Aplly in Cross-Cultural Communication

Basic Principles to Aplly in Cross-Cultural Communication

Phillip W. Balsmeier and Anita K. Heck , 1994 , Cross-cultural Communication , cross cultural management VOLUME 1 NUMBER 2

Basic Principles to Apply in Cross-cultural Communication

By being aware of differences and being sensitive to the needs of people from other cultures, participants in international business meetings and negotiations are better able to concentrate fully on the real issues and improve the probability of success. General principles, which can be applied to improve cross-cultural communication, are presented in the following three sections.

• Conversational Principles

• First, when conducting business with people from high-context cultures, recognize their need to know as much as possible about the people with whom they are dealing and the companies represented. Conversations that appear to be casual and unimportant usually are more significant than suggested by the content of the conversation. Provide as much information about the company and its representatives prior to visiting or entertaining people from high-context cultures. Copies of the resumes of the people who will be representing the company, as well as the resumes of high-ranking executives, documents, and annual reports, are some of the items that would be useful in providing information to business associates of high-context cultures (Dulek et al., 1991).

• Second, to avoid miscommunicating, speak slowly, clearly and simply. Do not use slang, cliches, jargon or colloquialisms. Foreigners typically learn the formal version of English and become confused when Americans begin using slang. Expressions such as "I'm all ears" and "so long" are very puzzling to the foreigner trying to translate them literally (Dulek et al., 1991).

• Third, incorporate some words and phrases from the foreigner's language into the conversation. An attempt to learn some phrases in the language of the host or visitor indicates that some good...

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