Dealing with different cultures

Many interesting discussions can be had about cultural differences.

Most discussions on this topic concern perceived national differences. They usually proceed along the lines of “How do the British give the impression of being so polite? Why are the Dutch perceived as being very direct? Are the French really as irritated as they sound?” But what if we consider different cultures much closer to home?

Perhaps dividing people culturally by nationality is too simplistic; forget countries – how many different cultures exist in one company? Between the IT department and the Sales department, for example, or Customer Service and Logistics? An understanding and appreciation of different working styles, decision making processes and communication styles is key to building successful business relationships and creating opportunities, not only in today’s global market, but also in your own company. If you have to communicate in English, you need a broad repertoire of language that conveys your message clearly and convincingly, but without raising the temperature in any difficult situation. In addition, a wide vocabulary, and confidence in your knowledge of socialising expressions, will enable you to get any meeting, with colleagues or clients, off to a good start.

This session deals with the specific challenges encountered when working and communicating with people from different cultures, and equips you with the language to successfully communicate across any borders.

A typical lesson on Dealing with Different Cultures would contain relevant materials concerning:

  • Greetings and introductions
  • Socialising
  • Formal and informal language
  • Techniques for softening your message
  • Being clear and firm but polite
  • Asking for explanations
  • Avoiding causing offence
  • Associated grammar, e.g. use of ‘would’ and ‘could’
  • Giving bad news
  • Complaining
  • Appropriate idioms