5 Tips for Building Relationships Across Cultures

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When working across borders, whether hosting or visiting your global clients, consider your client’s perspective. For example, rank and status are highly valued in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures which impacts everything from how you greet one another to seating arrangements.

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Connect through Conversation

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A colleague recently had coffee with a friend whom she hadn’t seen for awhile. Afterwards, my colleague shared her feelings of disappointment with their get-together. Over the course of two and a half hours, her “friend” talked at length about herself and her family. Never once did she ask my colleague about her business or her family or her love life. “Now I remember why we drifted apart,” she told me.

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Everyday Cultural Conversations….

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The opportunities for us to share and learn from other cultures are all around us. Just yesterday I was talking with my barrista, Akiko. As I placed my order for a green tea frappucino, Akiko suggested that the next time I ordered one, I might like it the way they prefer to drink it in Japan. “Ask for extra green tea powder and hold the melon,” she recommended. In less time than it takes to sip a latte, Akiko had cracked open my worldview just a bit and I learned something about her culture that I hadn’t known before.

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