5 Key Elements Needed To Communicate Across Cultures
When we visit, work and/or move into another country, it requires attention to communicate clearly with the culture and the people you are relating with. For clear communication, we cannot only take in consideration which language we speak, but also the culture, education, environment and community we live in and travel to.
As an entrepreneur and business owner with the experience of working and living on different continents, I had the opportunity to develop skills in cross-cultural communication. Every culture has taught me new ways to think, to relate and to live. I consider that the most important is to stay true to my values, to be selective and to consider what helps improve the well-being of everyone. Learning to observe, to be mindful of my environment and the circumstances and culture I live in helps me communicate clearly. Yet it has always been important for me to have a clear intention and inner awareness to stay true to my values, to my self while exploring other ways. Clarity in your intention, values, and selectivity are fundamental for mindful cross-cultural experiences.
Sometimes we can stay trapped in our belief system and engraved perspective of what life is and should be. Then we may resist the opportunity to explore new ways. It is only when we release attachments and expectations that we can fully experience a culture and find a way to communicate with clarity. A mindful communication takes into consideration the space and perspective of everyone. Here are five key elements to support cross-cultural communication:
SEE ALSO: Compassion Is The Key
Ether – Intention
Whenever I enter into a new space, a land, a culture, I enter with gratitude and respect; the way I would like others to do if they would come into my own country and culture. I consider that every culture and everyone deserves respect, compassion, and acknowledgment. When you have a positive intention, your perspective and approach will come from a healthy perspective. This can lead to clarity in your choices and in the direction you choose to direct your attention.
Air – Mindfulness
You have to be mindful and take in consideration the culture you visit or you live in. There are now many ways to learn about a culture and to prepare ourselves psychologically before the entrance into a new environment. It is insightful to open our mind to different cultures and perspectives. This step requires the release of judgment and the detachment from core beliefs that have been ingrained through our own education and life experiences.
Every culture and perspective has some truth and gives us the opportunity to learn, to clarify what we will take and what we let go. A word can have many different meanings. It is not only about the different language, but rather about the culture and perception of the word itself in some countries or areas.
Fire – Leadership
Charge with your heart and take leadership with positive intention. All cultures have different forms of expressions. A kind gesture from your own culture and country can be interpreted in a negative way in another culture and environment. You can become familiar with their expression by learning about their culture and traditions. When you interact with the people you will observe a space of respect and heartfulness.
In this element, we take into consideration the feelings along the experience.
When you enter into a new community, it requires a sense of leadership with positive intention. You are the one who is going there and make a step into a new world. The people in the other culture may be welcoming, yet it is not always sure they will. Remember that they are in their own space and culture. If you can enter with an open heart and do it in a harmonious rhythm and intensity, there is more probability for them to open as well. This requires you to be aware of the way you act and the intensity of your expression.
Water – Relationships
Interpersonal relationships and honoring healthy values are necessary. You can study the culture and try to comprehend it the best possible way through rational understanding and study. Yet, the subtleties can be integrated with life experience only. In this element, we take into consideration the emotional intelligence. When we travel and experience relationships in different ways, we cannot attach too much emotionally. It requires to be in flow and to navigate life transitions with compassion and clarity. The diversity can awaken many emotions and it takes dedication to channel them creatively with a positive intention. Nurturing healthy relationships is a key aspect of cross-cultural communication.
Earth – Resources
Be present, respectful of space and resources. In every culture, they have a different notion of time. When I am in Switzerland the time is very specific and the resources are managed in a clearly organized way. When we arrive a few minutes late, it can trigger a stress and sense of chaos. When I am in Argentina, I have to honor a 30-minute extension. This means that it will be polite to arrive 30 minutes late at a party. If not they may feel stressed and overwhelmed.
The way the people organize their activities and resources is quite unique to every culture. It requires a certain flexibility in the way we manage our resources, yet it is key to still respect your own time and energy in a way that will be beneficial for everyone. You can learn to use their resources with respect and consideration. Setting healthy boundaries and finding the way to clearly communicate them with the people you meet is a key aspect of the intercultural communication. You will be fully present, in the moment, in the place you are at.
Remember: you are at the right place, at the right time, with the right people.
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