Do you feel depressed when you try to communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds and fail miserably? It is not just your case but many third culture individuals face the same kind of problem while communicating with others. In fact, this is the most common reason why they prefer to stay mum and refrain from initiating conversations. Sometimes, language is not the only bar in intercultural communication, the habits, customs, beliefs and ideas clash as well.
Do you have an idea about what actually causes this problem? If no, then read along. You may just stumble upon the right answer in this post.
In simple words, culture is nothing but a sum total of the behavior, habits, customs and ways of communication within a group of people having the same historical background or living in the same geographical area. The clash occurs when two people from different cultural backgrounds try to communicate with each other.
How to avoid such a situation?
The best thing to avoid is to stop talking. No, of course not, I’m kidding here. If you stop talking, your problems will not be solved.
Follow the simple guidelines given below:
- First, approach the person and greet him or her with a smile. A warm smile is a powerful tool to initiate any conversation. No matter how different the person seems to you, smile is the common language of all cultures.
- Initiate small talks. Talking about general things will make both of you comfortable and create the platform for an intellectual conversation later.
- Listen to the person carefully and make a mental note of what he or she says. Observe his/her body language and hand gestures (if any). Always respond with a smile.
- Listen enthusiastically. Give your undivided attention to the speaker. Follow the cues. If he or she attempts to deliver something of interest, share the excitement with wide eyes and signs of amazement should be reflected on your face. The person will be enthralled to have triggered such interest in a stranger. He or she will speak more freely with you. And there, you get what you want the most, ATTENTION!
- Now, that you have gained the attention of that other person, you can try and share some of your insights on the conversation topic. Be slow and be steady, do not stumble upon your words, think once before uttering them. This will create a sense of understanding between you two which in turn is going to minimize intercultural misunderstandings.
You can see that just by listening to the other person, you can turn the attention towards yourself. You may not know, but people out there are dying to be heard and understood. So, get out of your shy zone and start approaching. The intercultural problems in communication will fade away eventually. Happy listening!