Rather often a company that suits you most and that you want to contract with is located in a different part of the world. In that case, to improve business relations and achieve successful communication, you should bear in mind cultural differences, as you will certainly face them.
In fact, it’s not something you should be afraid of, as intercultural communication is not so difficult as it might seem but a great opportunity to learn something new about other countries and cultures. But at the same time, cultural differences should not be ignored when communicating with your offshore or nearshore partner, as it can lead to misunderstanding and even ruin your relations. So, effective intercultural communication is vital for your business and you surely need to learn it.
The difference between Western and Eastern cultures is notorious. In fact, they belong to completely opposite types of culture which reflects in the difference in mindsets. Thus, western culture appreciates individuality, and employees are usually awarded for their own achievements, rather than the achievements of the whole team.
So how can we achieve successful intercultural communication?
First of all, you have to accept the fact that those differences in cultures really exist. The way you behave is not the only possible way of behaviour; words and gestures you use can be inappropriate in other cultures. This first step might be hard for you. Make sure you are tolerant enough to accept all cultural differences, to respect them and what is more, to watch what you say and do.
After that, you are almost ready to imbibe the culture of your partner. Now your task is to learn about it as much as possible. Read about country’s history, traditions, religion, politics, economy, some current events. The more you know about your partner’s culture, the more you are able to understand some of their decisions or actions.
Also, listening skills are very helpful in intercultural communication, as simply listening to your partner will help you overcome cultural differences, to understand each other and make sure you have the same interests. Listening is as important as knowing about your partner’s culture, so if you want to build strong business relations, this skill should be improved.
And here is the strongest piece of advice, which will guarantee successful intercultural communication. Do you remember the Golden Rule “treat people the way you want them to treat you”? So, here this rule doesn’t work. Considering cultural differences, you should apply another rule: treat people the way they want to be treated. Show respect to your foreign partner and try to avoid situations that might offend or embarrass them.
Considering Andersen’s geographical position, our mindset is closer to Western. But at the same time, we have a great respect for other cultures too. It allows us to work not only with Western Europe, the USA, and Canada but also with countries like Singapore and Korea. Andersen has been partners with many companies around the globe so we can boast of a great experience in intercultural communication. We believe we can always find common ground with our customers.