How to handle cultural differences

Feb 10, 2022

Do international projects + your English skills make you feel instantly stressed? 

Do cultural differences + your international clients make you feel inept?

Have you ever used an English phrase wrong + it left you standing in awkward silence?

 

Believe me, I get it. This is why I've spent some time looking for the solution for this very thing. Because perfect Technical English and over the top Business English will not solely save the day.

 

And guess what? I'm giving you the answers on how to flip the problem. 

1. It's important to be aware of it in the first place; be mindful that once it happens–once you put your foot in your mouth*–it could happen with other things as well, and you just don't realize. And it's important to know what you don't know.

 

2. Whenever you introduce yourself to someone new, never do it by email. Always pick up the phone and let them hear your voice. People's perceptions change if they hear an accent. They become accepting of things that they might not have been otherwise. They understand; "Oh, you're not part of my culture; what you say might mean something different than I expect".

 

3. Let people know: "That's not my mother language; maybe there might be different perceptions of what I say. I try not to be rude; I come from a very direct, straightforward culture."

 

For more insights on that subject listen to podcast episodes #003 and #004, where we dig deep into how you, the ever-active engineer, can manage to handle cultural differences and language barriers when working internationally.

 


PS: 'to put your foot in your mouth' means to say something foolish or embarrassing; to say something by accident that embarrasses or upsets someone.

PPS: Whether you’re looking for one-on-one coaching programs, a regular newsletter delivered to your email inbox and packed with tips to help you succeed, courses, or comprehensive blog posts covering a wide range of topics, you can find it all online, where I look forward to virtually meeting you and helping you thrive however I can.