Without a doubt the biggest barrier in cross-cultural negotiations is:
your own mindset
We all tend to think any barriers in cross-cultural communication and negotiation is due to something beyond ourselves.
But we all forget that we all come to the cross-cultural negotiation table with our own cultural prejudices.
To put it in other words...
We automatically assume our way of thinking, our way of doing things, is the only way or the "right" way.
So, when you first start in cross-cultural negotiations, your own mindset will be your biggest risk in cultural blunders.
You need to put aside your own ideas, thoughts and opinions in your cross-cultural communication.
This takes a little practice...
Simply because these little ideas, thoughts and opinions have a habit of wanting to find their own way back.
You need to make a conscious effort t o communicate with people from other cultures on a "prejudice-free" environment.
I have a little technique I use that has always worked well for me.
When I am communicating with someone from a different culture than mine, I imagine myself turning 90 degrees from my waist up to meet them.
It is as if I keep my full cultural profile out of their view and that is where my own cultural prejudices stay.
And that 90 degree turn is the one where I greet people politely.
I imagine myself in this position until the encounter is over. Some people say "put your best face first". I guess I took that literally.
With practice this becomes easy and natural to do.
If you can adapt your own mindset to receive cross-cultural communication without any of your own filters,
If you are interested in understanding the other person,
If you interact appropriately with the other person,
Then your communication will be successful 95% of the time.
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