Greetings, in my last two posts, I described 5 things you should do if you want to communicate more effectively with people who are culturally different. Here are my last 2 DO’S:
1. DO step outside of your comfort zone. The best way to increase your cultural knowledge and skills is to experience the things that culturally different people experience on a regular basis. This can help you to better understand the values, beliefs and behaviors of people who are culturally different. Go to diverse places of worship, visit different cultural events, go to various social activities, visit different ethnic restaurants, talk to different people at work, or do anything else that puts you in direct proximity with people you don’t normally interact with. The most important aspect of this process is to step outside of your comfort zone. For example, if you are a member of a “majority” group, put yourself in the position of being a “minority”. This will give you a better understanding of why culturally different people might think or act in certain ways.
2. DO speak inclusively. Inclusive language acknowledges different people and creates more positive environments where people feel included. To communicate inclusively, use terms that will be understood and respected by people of different backgrounds, refer to people by the names they wish to be called (e.g., physically challenged instead of handicapped), and eliminate language that suggests men are the standard for all human beings (e.g., use both masculine and feminine pronouns).
NEXT POST – October 10, 2008