“The world has changed (…)” (J.R.R. Tolkien). So has the business communication.
Only a decade ago we used max. one fifth of the communication platforms we use today and the work environment in many European countries was still pretty much mono-cultural. Today not only do we communicate via an exhaustive range of digital channels but we do so in a massive global village where different cultures, religions and languages co-exist.
This omnipresent pluralism makes many businesses, especially start-ups and SMEs, feel overwhelmed, to put it mildly. I’ve noticed that as a consequence they often either impose on their employees developing a rapid understanding of the foreign cultures or try to live inside a mono-cultural bubble (against the reality surrounding them).
I’m going to argue that there is no way to be aware of the cultural intricacies if you’re not an expert on cultural studies. Hence the secret to practising successful multicultural communication is to truly empower your employees and rather than providing them with one-size-fits-all cultural tips help them adopt a more receptive approach. Managers should encourage their employees to have their eyes and ears wide open to be able spot those cultural differences and eventually develop a real and deep understanding of different cultures and values. It’s the most agile attitude which enables employees to be receptive to the ever-changing reality, not only when it comes to cultural differences.
*The featured photo was taken while delivering a multicultural communications workshop for Vincent Pol University of Lublin, 20/09/2017