With the growth of the internet and technology in recent years, it is clear that our world is becoming more and more interconnected. International business and international relations continue to be an important aspect in creating a successful business and being a successful intercultural communicator.
In our ever-changing world, the importance of being a competent intercultural communicator cannot be disputed.
So what is intercultural communication? Intercultural communication, or cross cultural communication, is the interaction between two people from different cultural backgrounds. While you might believe this to mean only interacting with people outside of your country, intercultural communication happens on a daily basis. Cultures differ beyond nationality. Culture could be related to a given religion, company, taste in music, gender, or education level. It is important to be aware of cultural differences and know how to respond to those differences.
In recent years, many colleges and universities across the world are now requiring their students to have some kind of intercultural credit in order to graduate from their given institutions. Classes range from the basic Intercultural Communication lecture to Anthropology of Cultures and Sociology of Global and Social Trends. The acknowledgment of a more connected world, and the need to know how your own cultural bias and prejudice effect how you interact with those who are seemingly different from you, are helping to create a more empathetic and understanding generation of leaders.
What are some of the problems with intercultural communication? Easy. Miscommunication.
Like most disagreements in our lives, most can stem from simple miscommunication. Miscommunication can come in the form of language barriers or simple predetermined biased. Often times, individuals from different cultures have their own opinions on how "the other side" lives.
A simple way to avoid this problem is to simply ask questions. Take a few minutes to do research and get a better understanding about topics you do not understand. Be respectful of beliefs that differ from your own and remember to listen before speaking.
Being a competent intercultural communicator could open the door to relationships, both personally and professionally, that you could not have seen coming.
Our world is changing. Change with it.