Cross Cultural Solutions: Practice No Judgment When Working Across Cultures

More Cross Cultural Solutions from Yael Zofi

cross cultural solutionsThis week we provide you with more cross cultural solutions with the completion of the LEARN acronym. Many of you have asked for cross cultural etiquette and manners strategies to more effectively work with and communicate with other cultures as you practice N behaviors of L E A R N. In the acronym, N stands for no judgment when working across cultures.


It is important to show respect to the person with whom you are interacting with and to convey that you consider him or her as an equal.  Be aware of terms people use to explain themselves and the world around them.


The following strategies can help you avoid jumping to conclusions when working with people of other cultures:

  • Before taking action or letting emotions get the better of you, consider several different interpretations of the behavior/situation in question.
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions.  Don’t assume that what you understood to be true is universally correct.
  • Respond in ways that are descriptive and non-evaluative.  Avoid making judgmental comments based on your culture that lead to wrong conclusions.  Avoid leaping to conclusions before considering several alternative possibilities.
  • Don’t assume that other people think/behave the way you do. ? Accept the possibility that whatever occurred could be an anomaly caused by any number of circumstances (e.g., someone having a bad day or dealing with personal issues).
  • Be aware of your personal biases (increase your self-awareness).
  • Treat people as individuals and not as generalized stereotypes. Refrain from seeing things at the extremes since there are many shades of gray.
  • Remain positive. Don’t always assume the worst/negative outcome.
  • Avoid making comments such as, “You don’t understand” or “What’s your problem?” since they may cause the other party to respond defensively.
  • When communicating with others, use descriptive and non-evaluative language.
  • Be mindful of terms people use to explain themselves and the world around them, as certain terms have different meanings across cultures.
  • Try out the three step evaluation approach of Description, Interpretation, and Evaluation for coming up with several options to explain the behavior of dissimilar others to avoid a misattribution or misunderstanding.

Consider these cross cultural solutions when trying to practice N = No Judgment when communicating across cultures to improve your cross cultural relationships.


For more information on our cross cultural solutions, check out the 2nd Edition of my book Communicating Through a Global Lens.
Yael Zofi

Posted in Intercultural Business Communication