Posts Tagged ‘speaking to diverse cultures’

Communicating with diverse cultures requires care

When I was writing copy for large public corporations I invested a lot of time and energy in making sure I what I was saying was understood; I invested just as much time and energy in making sure I avoided being misunderstood. It’s amazing what people can read into what you write or say that has no relation to your intent. It’s a challenge at the best of times. All we need to do is look at how easily life partners and families can misunderstand each other to see just how fragile simple communication can be.

We want to be understood

The challenge becomes larger when we’re dealing with people from other countries and cultures than our own. Something that’s okay in one culture can be an insult in another one. And in a culturally diverse region  such as Greater Toronto and many other areas as well, the potential for misunderstanding can be immense. So it’s important that when we speak and write to diverse cultures that we develop some understanding of their customs and be sensitive if we want to be understood clearly.

Some guidelines

I read an interesting tip sheet about this topic prepared by Randall Craig, who is president of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Randall distributes his Make It Happen Tip Sheet weekly and I always take the time to read it because he often delivers a gem – and he does it in a very brief, succinct manner, ever mindful of busy people and overflowing e-mail boxes. I recommend him for thoughtful, useful insights. He makes some interesting points about communicating with diverse cultures in this week’s edition

Check them out

Check out his suggestions for improving cross-cultural understanding here: http://www.personalbalancesheet.com/news/archives/2010July20-Diverse-Points-Randall-Craig.html, then share your opinions in the Comments box below.

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About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.