In my last two posts, I introduced the 3 Barriers to Effective Multicultural Communication. These barriers, which include stereotyping, a lack of understanding and judgmental attitudes, have the potential to cause significant communication problems in culturally diverse settings. Fortunately, there are 3 steps that each of us can take to help remove these barriers. These include enhancing your self-awareness, increasing your empathy and suspending judgment. I’ll discuss the first step here and the other two in subsequent posts:
Enhance Your Self-Awareness. To reduce the impact that stereotyping has on your interactions, you must increase your understanding of the biases and stereotypes you have. You must also understand the impact they have on your communication with others, especially those who are culturally different. Remember, stereotyping is a subtle, often unconscious process that can negatively impact the quality of your communication. The best way to increase your understanding of your stereotypes (and the impact of your behavior on others) is to ask for both positive and constructive feedback from people you trust and respect. You should include individuals that have had an opportunity to interact with you over a period of time such as a supervisor, mentor or coach. They can provide you with useful information regarding your behavior and performance in a variety of situations. Most importantly, they may see something in your behavior that you will not discover on your own.
NEXT POST – September 2, 2008
Removing the Barriers to Effective Multicultural Communication: Part 2