14 Cross-Cultural Communication

“We are, at almost every point of our day, immersed in cultural diversity: faces, clothes, smells, attitudes, values, traditions, behaviours, beliefs, rituals.”

Randa Abdel-Fattah

What do Asia, Africa, America, Allianz, Amex, and Avon have in common? They all begin with the letter A. Beyond that, differences abound and are reflected in the way people behave. Even within the same country and company, values vary and people struggle to understand one another’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. How can you be expected to engage comfortably with people whose cultures are so unlike your own?

The simple answer is: treat all people with respect and aim to establish rapport. (See Chapter 3 for ways of creating rapport.) ...

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