Through my work with the International Collegiate Programming Contest, I get frequent reminders of how communicating across cultures has special challenges and rewards. But, it’s not just me. If you write things that appear online, you may well have a global audience.
This week, I am getting ready for a research seminar on global education, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading to get ready. A big topic of interest is intercultural competence – essentially the ability to neutrally evaluate a culture other than yours and act appropriately within that culture. As a communicator with a global audience, I need that with respect to what messages i communicate and how I present them. If I fail, I miss a reader, a customer, a friend.
One interesting article gave some ideas for qualities that let one become culturally competent.
- Self-awareness – This is knowing what your own culture holds and values, and recognizing that these are cultural factors, not essential truth.
- Openness – This is an attitude of curiosity and a willingness to believe that others are different from you. This might include trying to meet people who are different from you or using media from people different from you.
- Respect – Your attitude that things that are different are just that: different. It’s a lot easier to understand something if you can see that is has value and is, therefore, worth understanding.
Having these qualities can help you reach your audiences better.