|Image Source: mathbootcamps.com
Usually the “two-step” refers to a dance that resembles a basic shuffle from side to side. It’s probably the favourite dance move of anyone who can’t dance (I am one of those…unless there is Bollywood music or a bush dance, in which case everyone is obliged to let all inhibitions go and have fun). My very limited experience with choreographed dance was mostly for preparation for my first dance with my husband at our wedding. And what I learnt from that is that you need to know the basics, before you can move on to elaborate twirls and strides.
It’s the same with a lot of things in life, you need to know the basics first.
So what are the basics of cross-cultural communication?
One way to break it down is in “two steps”:
1. Acquire specific cultural knowledge.
This is about researching the country you are going to, or the cultural traits of those you are working with, or whatever cross cultural situation you are in. For example, knowing the eating habits, cultural dress, taboo conversation topics to avoid and the like.
2. Developing general awareness and skills
This is about acquiring the ability to be flexible and adapt to new situations, even when you don’t know the specific cultural nuances (e.g. If you’ve skipped step 1 or weren’t able to do it). Resilience, listening skills, giving effective feedback and patience often fall into this category.
Really both of the above need to occur in conjunction with each other, in order for a solid foundation of cross-cultural communication, or for our collaborative bridges, to be built.
I like to cover both areas in this blog, so keep an eye out for future posts and see which part of the two-step they fall into.
Happy dancing 🙂