Cross Cultural Solutions – Effectively Communicate

LEARN to Effectively Communicate for Cross Cultural Competence

Are you looking for cross cultural solutions to effectively communicate in cross cultural interactions? Virtual team managers must LEARN cross cultural competence and practice how to effectively communicate across cultures. This week we continue with the E of L E A R N = Effectively Communicate, and provide you guidelines for building and maximizing interpersonal relationships to help you enhance your next virtual cross cultural interaction.

Cross Cultural Solutions #2 Keep it Transparent: EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE
Virtual teams need to compensate for the lack of visual and physical cues. The aim is to keep the communication lines open and transparent so that when conflicts arise – and they will – a resolution is found quickly. Here are some helpful cross cultural solutions to keep the cultural communication lines open:

1. Respond with appropriate words that will not inflame a situation, when you sense difficulty.

To make sure you fully understand a situation:
  • If you have an impulse to disagree with, reject, or ignore what someone has said.

• Ask / email for confirmation.

“In other words, Tom, you’re saying that….” or “Let me see if I understand you, Tom….”

  • If you don’t understand what or why something was said.

• Ask / email for clarification first; then ask for confirmation.

“I’m not sure I understand. Could you say more about….?” or ”Why is that?” or “Oh?”

2. Deliver balanced feedback 

In these situations:
• To influence another or when you have concerns about someone’s work or idea.

• Itemize the merits and faults in the correct order, making them specific and task related.

“Your implementation plan for a 256 slice machine is ambitious, and I’m concerned that we don’t have the resources to write the software code as quickly as you need it.”

Remember to express all faults as concerns!

• When you see a way to overcome the concerns you’ve itemized.

• Offer suggestions which retain the merits and eliminate the faults.

“In view of this, I think it would be better to perfect the software before we commit to showing real images for the next sales cycle.”

• To continue the conversation after you’ve offered your suggestions.

• Invite further comments.

“What do you think about that?” or “Do you have any other suggestions?”

3.    Build on an idea

To improve an idea:
• When you see a way to improve someone’s idea or suggestion.

• Indicate the connection between the person’s idea and what you’ll say. For example, “What you said makes me think that ….” or “Not only that, but it would also make sense to …”


• mention an additional benefit or advantage, and/or suggest a modification, and/or suggest a different application.

• If you’ve modified the person’s idea.

• Check to be sure you haven’t distorted what the person was originally trying to accomplish.“What do you think?” or “Would that still accomplish what you wanted?”

4.    Give credit / positive reinforcement 

• To increase the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring or to compliment someone whose behavior exceeds expectations.
  1. Make a general reference to what you’re crediting, e.g., “Nice work, Tom. I like your ideas on image resolution.”
  2. Provide a specific example of the idea or task being credited, e.g., “I particularly liked the simplicity of what you’re suggesting.”
  3. If appropriate, mention the qualities that led to the success, e.g., “It took a lot of creative thinking to come up with that one.”
  4. Indicate the benefits, e.g., “It sure will help Marketing generate interest in our newest models.”

Regarding teleconferences, here are some good practices to follow:

• If the conversation appears to be coming to a close, conclude with a transition or sum-up statement. For example, “So you are saying that…”

• Allow the other person to complete his/her thoughts – avoid dominating the conversation – even if you feel you have a lot to say.

• If the other person appears bored and uninterested, change the subject and/or direction of the conversation. Keep the other person involved by asking question, and even asking where the person would like the conversation to go.

Next week’s post will focus on the third letter of our L E A R N cross cultural communications acronym: A= Avoid Ambiguity for cross cultural solutions.
Enjoy and Regards, Yael Zofi

Posted in Intercultural Business Communication