Communicating Across Cultures at the Speed of Language

According to Sherwood Fleming, "When I first begin helping my clients adapt how they communicate within an intercultural business context, whether for a report or a presentation, the first concern they often express is that they do not have enough to say. In my experience, that is hardly ever the problem. In fact, the most fundamental problem we all face when we communicate interculturally is that we have too much to say within the time we are given to say it."

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Stop Wasting Time When Adapting Across Cultures

"In the previous article we looked at the role that how you communicate plays in adapting to your intercultural context. Once you can see what to change, you can change it, right?"

"Actually, this depends on whether what you want to change can in fact be changed. The surest road to endless frustration is trying to change something that is not open to change. In contrast, the biggest lost opportunity is not trying to change something because you believe it is not possible to change it. So let’s examine which is which."

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Listen with Intercultural Ears and See with Intercultural Eyes

"Did you know that you listen with cultural ears and see with cultural eyes? What I mean by that is that how you interpret what is being said or written has been culturally conditioned. When listening and seeing you not only decipher the meaning of the words but you also interpret the tone of voice, body language and sentence form. I call those four elements — content, tone, body language, form — the dance of language. No matter what language is being used, you are always interpreting the dance from your own cultural point of view."

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