Cultural Awareness is Good Business

Cultural Awareness is Good Business

“Korea: Land of The Morning Calm” was presented at the Galvin Fine Arts Center at St. Ambrose University on Oct. 21, 2017 as part of the university Faces of Globalization series.   There were presentations on the Korean adoption system (presented by an adult adoptee), the state of politics in East Asia, art displays and wonderful music.   Our region is enriched by the many nationalities and groups calling the Quad Cities home.

We are blessed to have had International clients and consultants with extensive inter-cultural experience and knowledge.   Recently a consultant shared some ”transactional” tips and conducted discussion on cultural sensitivity with customers  with employees of a local construction company.    This process gave sales and operational personnel the chance to look at how they interact with the many ethnic and cultural groups who make the Quad Cities home.   Key concepts were:

Interaction – Personal space, being present, patient listening.

Flexibility –  Don’t assume anything, don’t take offense.

Behavior –  Get some background or ask what to expect in transaction, be patient.

Roles – Gender and cultural traditions which affect transactions.

Furthermore, different regions of the world and their cultures respond differently to interaction, called high and low context.  It has been said that when American want to say 100 things, they will verbalize 150 things for they are explicit in their use of language in communication.   When the Japanese verbalize 70 things, they are trying to get the other person to understand 100, for they are using implicit understandings and at times non-verbal cues to get their point across (Tero Trainers).

Developing “cultural competency” involves study and values clarification.  But it’s worth it, future customers may come to you because of your sensitivity and honesty with other members of their neighborhood and business network!