In my last post, I described 2 things you should do if you want to enhance communication in diverse settings. Here are 3 more DO’S:
DO suspend your judgment. It is very natural to evaluate others. We do it all the time. However, judging others can create many communication problems so always try to be non-judgmental, even when you disagree with the person, or in situations where your values are different. One way to do this is to say to yourself, “There is always value in difference, even when I have to look hard to find it!”
DO seek common ground between yourself and others. This is especially important during multicultural interactions. Always remember that no matter what the cultural differences are, you will always have more similarities with your colleagues than differences. Focus on identifying these similarities and using them as a means to better understand your differences.
DO acknowledge the impact of stereotyping. Stereotypes (the generalizations we make about members of a particular group) negatively impact our interactions and cause us to act in unintentionally biased ways. Therefore, be aware of your stereotypes, and actively work to reduce their impact.
NEXT POST – October 6, 2008:
Culturally Competent Communication: Part 3