Course Outcomes

This cross-cultural course will:

  • Provide a forum for frank discussions about culture and its impact on workplace communication.
  • Give an academic overview of cross-cultural fundamentals.
  • Suggest tools for communicating better in person and in writing.
  • Recommend tactics for conflict management and cross-cultural negotiation.

Course Overview

It should come as no surprise that the face of business has evolved significantly in recent years thanks to demographic changes, advances in technology, better transportation, and shifts in political policies throughout the world. As a result of those changes, it is not unusual to find businesses with a multitude of teams made up of members from different cultures. This onsite training workshop addresses cultural awareness and also offers tactics for surfacing conflict and improving communication. The program explores the benefits and challenges that come about from having a multicultural workforce, the communication issues that often arise in diverse groups, and methods for handling conflict.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the business advantages of having a multicultural workforce.
  • Identify and explain the four basic behavioral styles and the benefits and challenges of each.
  • Describe Geert Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions and their impact on communication.
  • Explain how time is viewed differently throughout the world and how to communicate expectations to those with a different outlook.
  • Describe a model of feedback, communication, and listening.
  • Explain the importance of body language in the listening process.
  • Demonstrate techniques for better listening when communicating with challenging speakers.
  • Develop an action plan to improve communication skills.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Dollars and Sense: Profiting from Cultural Differences

This workshop begins with a cultural self-assessment quiz and continues with a discussion of why working in a multicultural organization is beneficial from both a personal and business standpoint. Through hands-on activities, participants will see the value of tolerance and patience as they work with others from cultures other than their own.

Cross-Cultural Fundamentals: Understanding Cultures

This course component looks at four elements that contribute to how people view culture.   The first element, relationships, explores the individual versus the collective and how some cultures place importance on individualism and personal competitiveness, while others value group harmony and connections with people above all else.  The second element discusses the difference between high-context and low-context cultures and how communication differs depending on the social framework a culture follows.  Element three explores the idea of time, how it differs from culture to culture, and how people can adjust their communication to accommodate different views.  The fourth element of the program focuses on power and how people from a range of cultures view hierarchy, status, and authority. 

Listen Up!: A Better Means of Communication

Even when everyone is speaking English, that doesn’t mean that they are speaking the same English.  Jargon, idioms, and slang often cloud the communication process.  This portion of the program looks at how people from different cultures use language differently.  As part of this workshop segment, participants will practice several methods for improving their listening skills and their ability to hear what is said and unsaid.

Yes? No? Maybe So: Reading Nonverbal Cues

This part of the course takes a deeper dive into the importance of non-verbal communication signals and the ways they affect the communication process. Participants will learn how to listen more effectively by recognizing non-verbal cues. They will also explore how cultural and gender differences influence the interpretation of body language.

Put It In Writing: Emailing Across Cultures

Opportunities for cross-cultural miscommunication arise daily for those in organizations with global teams.  During this part of the program, participants will examine written communication from all parts of the world and determine what the writers are really communicating despite differences in how they do it.  This component concludes with a review of best practices for creating accessible and reader-friendly documents to all readers regardless of their cultural preferences.  

Worlds Apart: Agreeing to Disagree

Different points of view often lead to conflict in the workplace. Occasionally, agreeing to disagree can solve a problem or keep it from materializing at all. In this part of the workshop, participants will evaluate several case studies and determine whether agreeing to disagree is an option. They will then practice using the technique to communicate a point of view and working through both process-driving and people-driven disagreements.

Sticking Together: What We Can Do Better

The program concludes with a review of all covered concepts. Participants will have the opportunity to set both personal goals and team goals (if applicable) to improve communication.
By the end of this program, participants will understand the personal and business value of a multicultural workplace. They will have a better awareness of which behaviors are acceptable and expected, and they will know how to listen better for improved communication with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.