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International Communication

Self-promotion and self-deprecation   Certain cultures find it difficult to speak positively about themselves and prefer to understate their abilities and self-deprecate about themselves in general.

Other cultures, however, are much more self-promotional and would find it bizarre to say they were not very good at something when in fact they were skilled in that area.  These cultures will only say they are not good at something if they genuinely have a problem in that area.

People from cultures which prefer understatement often find colleagues and clients from more self-promotional cultures to be aggressive and arrogant whereas people from the more self-promotional cultures will often take on face value the understatement of other cultures – they believe them if they say they have a weakness!   Self-deprecating cultures include:  Japan, China, Korea, UK, Finland   Self-promotional cultures include:  USA, Australia, France, Brazil   Written and spoken word

Some cultures place far greater emphasis on the importance of written communication between people.  Only when something has been communicated in writing does that issue become a reality   Other cultures place much greater emphasis on the value of spoken communication – things are only really believed when they have been communicated by people with whom they have a strong, trusting relationship.   This simple fact can have a major impact on communication flow and the achievement of objectives within an international team.

Do you communicate to each team member in exactly the same format regardless of their cultural background?  Might it be a good idea to communicate more information orally to certain people if you want them to fully ‘buy-in’ to what you want to achieve?   Written-word cultures include:  Germany, UK, USA, Sweden, Netherlands   Spoken-word cultures include:  Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, India, Brazil   Use of English   Non-native speakers need to be given every assistance to ensure that they can fully participate in international meetings and conference calls.



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