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How can you effectively communicate across cultures?

Posted on by from Visible Leaders

As more of us do business in Asia, we need to think harder about the cultural challenges that this brings with it. How can you develop a leadership style that is effective across the globe?

Today, if you are a senior global leader, you are expected to be an accomplished communicator.

As individuals move into genuine leadership roles, that they often need help with the communications transition involved. In more operational roles, they may only be involved in communications that are about explaining and informing. As leaders and strategists, they need new skills, such as listening, influencing, persuading and relationship-building.

These skills are hard to master in a single culture. When operating cross-culturally, they are more challenging still.

Cross-cultural communications: spotlight on Asia

The economies of Asia embrace some 4.4 billion people (60% of the world’s population). Asia is the fastest growing economic region, with China and India now being the first and third largest economies in the world, respectively. As globalisation accelerates, we are seeing more and more leaders with purely Western experience arriving in Asia, and facing communications challenges in unfamiliar territories.

In parallel, as Asian multinationals expand and grow, we are seeing an increase in capital and human flows from East to West. More and more successful Asian leaders are now managing teams where their own culture may be in the minority. They face the corresponding communications challenge: how best to adapt an Asian communications style to predominantly Western audiences.

As more of us do business in Asia, we need to think harder about the cultural challengesthat this brings with it. This is especially key when it comes to leaders and their personal
communications. Poor cross-cultural communications can create disengagement, confusion and at its worst, resentment and anxiety on both sides.

What are the similarities and what are the differences between Eastern and Western cultures, and and how can you respond effectively as a leader?

Download this complimentary whitepaper which explores why it is important to take cross-cultural communications seriously. Discover some of the underlying differences between Asian and western culture, and what to bear in mind to ensure you are an effective cross-cultural communicator. 

Colin Hatfield

By Colin Hatfield

Colin specialises in helping leaders to develop their leadership narrative - the story that helps to position them within their organisation and bring to life their leadership agenda. Once the narrative is clear, he works with leaders to hone their communication skills to ensure they come across with impact and commitment. One area of particular interest is in helping companies develop the communication skills of the wider leadership. Over recent years, he has designed and delivered a huge number of group coaching programmes where executives can learn the core principles of leadership communication and improve their abilities to deliver compelling content.

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