How to communicate with diverse groups

how to communicate with diverse groups

Four tips for effective communication in a diverse workforce

Jun 19, Communicating with a diverse, global audience is the messaging equivalent of walking a high wire while eating a bowl of noodles. It can be difficult, messy, confusing and downright scary. Dangerous miscommunication lurks with every step, and there are endless opportunities to fall flat on your faceafter a precipitous plunge. Aug 16, Part of communicating more effectively with a diverse audience is beginning to understand our own biases and how our experiences and values shape the .

The business environment of the 21st century is expanding to include people from cultures and countries around the world. It takes special skills to communicate across these many cultures. Your courtesy and respect help establish a good foundation for effective communication. People respond to courtesy and feel comfortable when they know they have your respect.

This helps them to be open and willing to ask questions when they don't understand something. By making people feel comfortable, you help them to be better listeners. Slow down when you speak. Allow those who don't have the same native language as you the time to interpret what you are saying.

Speak clearly and concisely. Make eye contact and enunciate how to communicate with diverse groups. Avoid using ambiguous or dual-meaning words. One of the problems non-native-English-speaking cultures have with the English language is misunderstanding the many meanings one word can have. Keep it simple. Think in terms of your audience, and speak to their understanding. Don't make how to communicate with diverse groups speeches that lose your group.

Allow listeners the time to soak in what you have said. Pay attention to your audience and be an active speaker and listener. You can ascertain a group's grasp of your communication by their response to your words. Maintain respect and courtesy for people who come from different cultures.

When you respect the people you communicate with, this helps reduce the stress they feel when trying how to get job in bmw understand what you are saying. Doing basic research on specific ways to interact with the cultures you will be coming into contact with is a great way to show your multi-cultural group that you respect them.

Smile and be open. Your body language communicates your acceptance -- or non-acceptance -- and respect, as it helps put listeners at ease. Your body language conveys unspoken communication. Avoid large gestures with your hands, as this can be intimidating to people who might misunderstand your meaning. Keeping your arms crossed often makes people think you are not open to what they have to what is a birds eye view. Avoid slang.

Slang words are unique to individual cultures and not always interpreted correctly. To ensure effective cross-cultural communication, don't use slang words others might not know.

Shun humor. What is funny in one culture might not be in another. Humor might be misunderstood and interpreted in a bad light. While humor is a good icebreaker, it can backfire when the cross-cultural group misses humor's meaning. When in doubt, avoid using humor when communicating with people from many cultures.

Adopt a formal communication approach until you develop a rapport with your group. A casual, informal approach can be upsetting to people from different cultures, especially when you have just met them. Use a respectful and formal mode of speech until you have developed a relationship with your cross-cultural group. Stay away from using negative questions or answers. Double negatives are confusing enough to those with English as their native language. In a cross-cultural situation, double negatives are easily misunderstood.

Keep questions and answers simple so how to make mods for oblivion pc understands. Ask for feedback. Request members of the cross-cultural group to speak up and provide interaction or ask questions. When you permit two-way communication, this helps prevent misunderstandings and clears up questions people might have.

Summarize what you have said. Don't assume that just because you said it everyone understands. Repeat what you have said in a different way, summarize it and allow people the time to grasp what you how to communicate with diverse groups said.

By summarizing what you have said, you can verify that everyone is on the same page. As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites.

Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College. By Laurie Brenner Updated June 28, Related Articles. Daily Headlines

Effective communication is a managers greatest tool in rallying groups toward a common cause. From the annual department address to daily email, careful audience consideration is vital in determining how accurately audiences receive messages. Mar 15, One of the best ways you can improve your ability to communicate with a diverse workforce is by earning a Graduate Certificate in Communication. And one of the best ways to earn a graduate certificate is by enrolling in an online certificate Walden University. Oct 04, Were obsessed with creating diverse workforces, when it comes to managing that diversity, most of us fall short of the mark. A diverse team .

From the annual department address to daily email, careful audience consideration is vital in determining how accurately audiences receive messages. Even the most engaging statements lose meaning when barriers to effective communication foster misconception and confusion.

While many managers typically hold listeners solely responsible for how they receive or interpret information, true leaders are more cognizant about potential communication barriers. For many years, scholars have studied barriers to effective communication based in simplified terms, putting culture and gender among the greatest inhibitors.

While no individual is bound to set generalizations, specific characteristics can impact personal interaction and business objectives. Time difference and the impact of limited technology to remote locations can contribute to an already difficult communication environment, fueling a potential misstep. Despite these obstacles, managers must be sensitive to various cultural values and traditions associated with the employees they manage.

For example, Japanese culture favors consensus decision-making, taking great effort to engage all members before a decision is reached. Conversely, many Latin American cultures value the hierarchical-based decision-making process as a show of authority.

Understanding these perspectives can assist a manager in selecting the best approach when delegating tasks. Local perceptions concerning project management must be considered when collaborating with teams from various cultures.

Many Indian workers tend to believe that the level of importance placed upon a task dictates how follow-up will be received. Projects that receive only email inquires are generally not as critical as those that warrant a phone call. Many Eastern European nations place a higher value on patience and far less on punctuality. Often, they will keep western business partners waiting, but do not openly engage in conflict, as it is deemed rude and a matter best left for private discussion.

In many areas where English is not the primary language, certain phrases take on different meanings. Cultural differences can be daunting enough to overcome without also making allowances for tendencies in gender communication. While there are no absolutes and individual differences in communication types vary across employees groups, general identified trends can assist managers in elevating simple gaps in communication styles. Essentially, Lakoff observed that girls are taught to use passive, empathetic voices and are more encouraged toward active listening.

Boys, however, are encouraged toward competition, using forceful, active tones. Reinforced by local society values, these communication styles can be carried into the workplace, where minor conflicts can lead to frustration and animosity. Observe a group of colleagues tasked with solving a problem. Generally, women ask more questions before initiating work, while men typically exhibit tendencies to immediately resolve issues, thus discovering necessary details as the work progresses.

Some men may see the inquiry from female coworkers as indecisiveness, while women may assume men already have the understanding needed to complete a project. Deborah Such, a nonverbal communication and networking coach, explains subtle differences in the ways men and women communicate. She describes a scenario where a man and woman are conversing. It would not be uncommon for the woman to nod continuously while the man is speaking.

To counter this, one must periodically engage the listener for feedback and comprehension. Leadership challenges can also arise from the differing approaches that men and women take to vie for control during collaboration and team-building activities.

Typically, to establish rapport, women seek to build relationships on a personal level, sharing stories and relating to male colleagues as they would male family members. Men generally prefer to jump to the bottom line, envisioning the final goal at hand. The key to bridging communication gaps begins with awareness and understanding. Once identifiable patterns emerge, specific tactics can be used to mitigate conflict and reinforce effective communication.

Some of the following tools are familiar, but certainly merit repeating. As time becomes increasingly scarce in a deadline-driven world, effective communication can mean the difference behind success or certain disaster.

Careful planning can save the time lost through having to restate expectations, correct misinterpreted directions, or stifle interdepartmental squabbles. As a manager, you are responsible for encouraging collaboration based on mutual respect and understanding.

As a leader, you can facilitate that climate through a careful evaluation of your own communication style, making calculated adjustments when needed with the sole purpose of achieving your goals.

In that role, she is responsible for delivering corporate communications across various electronic and digital media, project management, and customer service. Kerri also coordinates and conducts training programs to improve client services, conflict resolution, and process-improvement techniques. Communicating for Diversity. Use Simplified Language The K. An HR director at a large firm was tasked with communicating an improved bonus plan to employees across the globe.

Being the consummate professional with lofty accreditations, he carefully drafted a message to convey the good news. Unfortunately, his supercilious language was misunderstood, giving employees the impression that the new plan reduced their bonuses. Use Repetition for a Theme. Think about Dr. King used repetition to convey a fundamental principal that continues to resonate with audiences over forty years later. Avoid Using Gender-Specific Metaphors. Typically, men prefer analogies of sports or war to convey emotion into meaning that ultimately may be lost by some female colleagues.

Therefore, try to use traditionally gender-neutral examples whenever possible. Employ the Most Effective Technologies Available. Consider whether using the phone will have more impact than an email. Message boards and web-based posting options allow more reserved team members equal opportunity to contribute to discussions. Also, web-based video conferencing or Pod Casts are a cheaper alterative to travel and can facilitate non-verbal communication, greatly contributing to impact and meaning.

Select the right communication tool for the right task, and not necessarily the most efficient one best suited to your work habits. Seek Outside Training. Engage consulting experts who specialize in diversity training based on region, nationalities, or gender. Provide a documented policy for employees to review, discuss, and adhere to.

Be specific about timelines and due dates for deliverables. Concepts of time vary between cultures. Outline a clear set of deliverables with milestone information so that all stakeholders are aware of your expectations.

Establish ground rules for your team to collaborate. Clearly outline what is and is not acceptable. Is everyone expected to contribute? What tools will be used to do so and how are team members permitted to challenge each other? Restate the goals and continue driving the discussion to that goal.

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