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How to be Culturally Sensitive in Business

AIU Alumni Mentoring Program

Conducting business cross-culturally can be an exciting but delicate endeavor. International business holds potential for both success and failure, and much of it rides on cross-cultural communication. Therefore, it’s important for employees to know the best techniques for handling business in a culturally sensitive manner.

Be Open-minded

There’s no doubt about it. International business will involve new concepts for both sides of the relationship. The first step to dealing with these differences is to maintain an open mind. Instead of letting your first reaction be “That’s weird,” allow yourself to consider the culture’s differences as valid techniques. Cultures each have their own methods and values that could prove useful to your business. Take advantage of your international relationship by incorporating new techniques rather than forcing your own on others.

Listen First

One way to be sure you stay open-minded is to let other speak before you do. This forces you to listen to new ideas, and it allows you to observe the other business’ values and communication styles. By observing first and then applying the techniques you notice, you can be more culturally sensitive when you decided to voice your ideas.

Consider New Forms of Communication

Not only should you observe the other business, but you should also incorporate their styles. New communication styles could involve a conflict mediator or a more relational approach to business interactions. By attempting to communicate in the other culture’s style, you show that you value their ideas and techniques. This can build credibility between your businesses and allow for more efficient communication.

With international business skills, your business potential could grow exponentially. Explore your business education options at AIU’s ACBSP-accredited business administration degree programs.

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