Listen and Watch for Cultural Differences

When you listen to people who have the same cultural background and native language as you do, you can usually get the gist of their meaning without special effort. You can easily understand their words and “read” their body language and tone of voice. You can make assumptions that are valuable shortcuts to understanding.

When you listen to people from other cultures, your task is more difficult. You can't make the same assumptions. Effective cross-cultural communication requires an extra measure of awareness and attention. To focus on the other person's message, keep these six questions in mind each time you communicate across cultures:

1. What do I know about this person's culture?

2. Do I take the ...

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