The ability to communicate and negotiate with people from different cultures has become an indispensable skill in modern business. With global markets, and international workforces, intercultural communication has quickly become a reality in both business negotiations and the everyday workplace.

If it is performed successfully, good communication between people with different cultural backgrounds can indeed become a highly valuable asset for any business. However, such things as misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and in the worst case broken deals are still common occurrences when different cultures try to communicate. These more unfortunate outcomes could be easily avoided though, if one pauses to consider a few basic but crucial aspects.

Experts in the fields of sociology, cultural sciences, and linguistics have done important research in the field, and provided business practitioners with some useful guidelines. Market Inspector has compiled a quick and easy-to-follow video based on the research of British linguist Richard D. Lewis for all who want to get a first basic understanding of the subject matter. Specifically, Lewis’ work on the related topics of communication styles and cultural identities served as inspiration for the video.

Video by Market Inspector

Of course, we always have to exercise caution when talking about cultures, as it is all too easy to slip into stereotypes. Scientists such as Lewis have frequently pointed out that the generalisations they make are necessary in order to provide a point of comparison. Nevertheless, you should always bear in mind that no two people are the same and can be clearly sorted into any category. Certain national patterns of communication can only ever serve as helpful basic guidelines that provide the possibility of engaging with a different culture on a deeper level.

All in all, first-hand experiences will also enrich your intercultural knowledge and skills more than books ever could. You should therefore not hesitate to launch yourself into multicultural environments  – no matter if that is in a workplace- or everyday setting. It is also important to be self-reflexively aware of one’s own culturally shaped habits and ways of communication – so why not take the following personality quiz in order to discover which of Lewis’ cultural identities overlaps  with the way you behave and communicate?

Quiz by Market Inspector

Quiz by Market Inspector