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The Importance of Intercultural Training for Global Business

Technology has made it easier than ever to do business globally. The wide range of free or inexpensive tools for video conferencing, tele-conferencing, instant messaging, e-mailing, translating and more means it is possible for just about anyone with access to a Smartphone, computer or tablet and the internet to conduct busness across cultures and across borders.

However, being successful when working with people from different cultures may not be as easy as simply connecting with them. Good communication is vital in global business exchanges, and this can only be done in context of mutual understanding, trust and respect. Engaging in intercultural training allows you to understand all underlying cultural differences and similarities that affect behaviour, attitudes and business exchanges.

 Overcome Barriers in your International Business

Besides simply allowing you to understand behavioural differences in various cultures, cross-cultural training enables you overcome barriers that might hinder a working relationship. For instance, you could go to a certain meeting arriving just on time or a few minutes late, thus jeopardizing your meeting before it even starts if your business meeting partner valued promptness and meeting discussions starting on time. However, if you are aware of the unique behaviour of the people you intend to meet with, for example, people from countries where it is customary to arrive 5-10 minutes before a meeting starts, then you can adjust your timing to ensure a positive meeting relationship rather than kicking off discussions amid disappointment. Knowing cultural differences in how business is conducted across countries allows insight into the behaviours you may need to adapt to ensure global business success.

 Intercultural Training Let’s You Understand Reactions

When business issues are not resolved quickly or when there is not sufficient cultural competence to know what went wrong, it is likely that you or the person you are doing business with could take offense or be disappointed by certain attitudes, actions or behaviours. However, if you have an understanding that some behavioural patterns are essential to normal business in other countries and cultures, then you be able to more effectively analyse the whole situation and find a solution forward. Let us say you are working internationally, and you have been in close talks with your Chinese colleagues and you feel like they are now ready to conclude a contract. However, once the meeting ends, the Chinese only thank you and say they want to go and consider the deal further. If you do not understand that Chinese culture likes to make decisions together, you will likely consider this as a failure. However, if you have undergone cultural training you can also express your readiness to offer more information if they require it.

 Cross-cultural Training Enhances Multicultural Team Communication

One of the major targets of Global Training Specialists, a company that offers cross-cultural training is to enhance communication among multicultural teams. While English may be the common business language for companies that have international team projects, communication goes beyond literal understanding of words. Communication encompasses a cultural understanding of how team members usually decide, develop and deliver projects. Is it customary to volunteer for a project role, or does a manager usually attribute roles and tasks to each team member? Knowing how work is conducted across different cultures goes a long way to actually getting work started.  What is accepted in one country or culture may differ from how work is performed in another. Cultural training conducted in the early stages of global team projects enables the development of more effective business communications and builds trust and understanding for more dynamic and collaborative exchanges.

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