The Importance of Cross-cultural Understanding in Business

The Importance of Cross-cultural Understanding in Business

In today’s global business era, acquiring an adequate cross-cultural understanding is crucial in order to succeed in your business and career. This article will give you the best answer to the following questions:

  1. What is Cross Cultural Understanding?
  2. Benefits of Acquiring Cross Cultural Understanding
  3. Practical Way to Obtain Cross Cultural Understanding in Business


What is Cross-cultural Understanding?

Cross cultural understanding simply refers to our ability to recognize, interpret and correctly react to people, incidences or situations that are open to misunderstanding due to cultural differences. Let’s take Asian culture as an example: silence within a conversation is a critical aspect that demonstrates good listening skills. Within an Asian business setting, your question may not receive a response right away. The silence between the question and the answer is deemed acceptable and shows that the people involved are paying attention and considering what they say carefully.

On the other hand, people from the United States, Brazil or France view silence as an awkward part of the conversation and attempt to fill it up as quickly as possible. When dealing with business partners from Asian cultures, this behavior may give the impression that you are not listening carefully enough.

Benefits of Acquiring Cross-cultural Understanding

The following points are just several various benefits of acquiring cross cultural understanding in business:

  • Breaking Down Barriers

All of us have certain barriers such as preconceptions, prejudices and stereotypes that obstruct our understanding of other people. Cross cultural understanding demystifies other cultures through presenting them under an objective light. Through learning about other cultures, barriers are slowly chipped away thus allowing for more open relationships and dialogues. This will enable you to create a more collaborative atmosphere with your foreign business partners, clients or investors.

  • Building Trust

When people’s barriers are lowered, mutual understanding ensues, which results in greater trust. Once trust is established, altruistic tendencies naturally manifest, allowing for greater cooperation and a more productive workplace.

  • Developing Listening Skills

Listening is an integral element of effective and productive communication. Cross-cultural understanding helps people to understand how to listen, what to listen for and how to interpret what they hear within a much broader framework of comprehension. By becoming good listeners, people naturally become good communicators.

  • Improving Career and Business

Cross-cultural understanding enhances people’s skills and therefore will enable you to get more future employment and business opportunities. Having cross-cultural understanding will make you easier to collaborate with foreign business partners. Eventually, you will be able to expand your business up to global scale.


Practical Way to Obtain Cross-Cultural Understanding in Business

Learning business English is the most practical way to obtain cross-cultural understanding in business. At English Today Bandung, we don’t merely teach you relevant English skills but we also give insight on cultural differences and how to break cultural barriers in your business and career. 1

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