Intercultural Aspects of Business Communication
The most important aspect of any business relationship is communication. Today our world seems to develop into a really global marketplace, there are more and more international firms and organizations that deal with other companies throughout the world. The aim of the article is to study the nature of cross-cultural communication and the intercultural skills that can be useful in any kind of international business relationships. So it is very important to communicate the right way with the representatives of different cultures and nations as the simplest mistakes can cause terrific problems in understanding. There are many scientists and economists who worked at the field of business communication.
Among the foreign scholars we can name Fred Luthans, Larry A. Samovar, Margaret H., De Fleur and many others. The native scientists who devoted their works to the subject of business communication are N. Formanovskaya, V. Goncharov, N. Moskovcev, V. Derkachenko etc. Analyzing business as the sphere of social relations psychologists believe that success here depends on 85% on the person’s ability to communicate. While communicating we use together with some logical tools things we don’t often really understand and pay attention to. Among such subconscious phenomena we can point out the first type of communication which is non-verbal. It can be defined as “non-word human responses and the perceived characteristics of the environment through which the human verbal and nonverbal messages are transmitted”.
Non-verbal communication differs from verbal in some fundamental ways. For one thing, it is less structured, that makes it more difficult to study. Some types of non-verbal communication, such as the meaning of colors and certain gestures, can vary from culture to culture. Thus, it becomes obvious that learning, understanding and following the traditions of different cultures make it much easier to find the right direction on communication with their representatives. While words can carry just the message, non-verbal communication expressed by intonation, gestures, and even facial movements can let the opponent know the attitude of the person. Also it helps to establish credibility and leadership potential in business. For successful communication all the forms must be paid much attention to. More thoroughly we come to the approach that there are no forms of communication to be omitted. We come across the idea that all the forms must be used to get better and more completed results of communication and transferring thoughts and information.
Culture surrounds us all the time. A person may not realize it, but he constantly belongs to several cultures. Making attempt to explain what exactly culture is we can define it as system of shared symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms for behavior. Thus all members of any culture have and tend to act on similar assumptions about how people should think, behave and communicate. Cultures may vary widely. It is no wonder that most of us need special training before we can become comfortable with a culture that differs from our own. And it is apparent that any business person dealing with a foreign partner for successful communication must first of all pay attention to the cultural sphere his partner belongs to. Accepting the regulations of the partner’s culture it is always easier to build and correct the process of negotiations that way that the partner feels some comfortable.
When there appears the necessity to deal with foreign partners a manager has to learn about another culture, and there are two main approaches to choose. The first one is to learn as much as possible – the language, cultural back ground and history, social rules, and so on – about the specific culture expected to deal with. The other one is to develop general skills that will help to adapt in any culture. To become a successful multicultural communicator Margaret H. De
Fleur proposes a set of guidelines for achieving maximum results:
1. Recognize that every individual has emotions, needs, and feelings that are as sensitive as yours.
2. Try to understand the cultural norms of the partner who you communicate with.
3. Respect the customs and traditions of the others.
4. Listen actively in a co-cultural communication encounter.
5. Learn to cope with uncertainly.
6. Avoid stereotyping people who are different from you.
7. Be aware of your own ethnocentrism.
The more differences there are between the people who are communicating, the more difficult it is to communicate effectively. Among the main problems in cross-cultural business communication the scientists circle out language barriers, cultural differences, and ethnocentric attitude. More significant problems arise in forms of written communication that require translation.
As it was stated above, misunderstandings are especially likely to occur when the partners who are communicating have different cultural backgrounds. For example, one side of negotiations makes a message in one context, using assumptions common to people in his or her culture. The other side of negotiations decodes the message using absolutely different set of assumptions. The result is confusion. Such problems arise because of our unconscious assumptions and non-verbal communication patterns. Often the fact that people from different cultures differ from each other in many ways is ignored.
According to the recommendations of scholars such as I. Kuznetsov, V. Goncharov, V. Suharev and others it is possible to circle out certain rules to follow while communicating: try to eliminate “noise”; look for feedback; rephrase your sentence when necessary; use objective, accurate language; let other people finish what they have to say. Culture and communication are inseparable. Culture influences the way people behave, the language they use and gestures they employ. In its turn, all this makes an impact on the traditions of dealing with business partners. That’s why in recent years the interest of communication theorists, scholars, scientists, and researchers was engaged with cross-cultural communication. Anyway, when engaging in any form of communication, a speaker must take into account the possibilities of misunderstanding. That’s why it is so important for a business person to develop skills with the help of which it becomes possible to control and correct the communicational situation with cross-cultural partners. Nowadays, intercultural communication difficulties have become a source of misunderstanding in business relations of our multicultural world society.
The process of globalization makes modern businessmen pay more attention to developing skills of running a business with foreign partners. That’s why the ideas on both organizational behavior and norms of communication stated in the article have become one of the most essential approaches to the successful running of business in the modern world community.