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Last Updated: 01. September 2017

Business Communication Around the World

How Different Cultures Communicate in a Business Environment - Video & Quiz

In our globalised world, intercultural communication has become an inescapable reality in both the conduct of business and the everyday workplace setting. In the context of global markets, cooperations, takeovers, and other international dealings between companies have become commonplace. Additionally, with a highly skilled and diverse workforce being valued as one of the greatest assets in modern firms, internationalisation has also rapidly entered the workplace. 

Overall, successful collaboration and communication between people from different cultures can indeed become a highly valuable business advantage. However, there are definitely some important aspects to bear in mind if you want to avoid such things as misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and in the worst cases, broken deals. Linguists, sociologists, and cultural scientists have been researching the subject matter of intercultural communication and international business etiquette for a long time, coming up with a number of very helpful notions in the process.

Richard D. Lewis, a British linguist, has presented some sound basic frameworks, for instance. His work is particularly helpful when it comes to communication styles, which are especially relevant for business negotiations, and cultural identities, which he roughly assembles into three groups that form a continuum between one another. Combining these naturally related aspects, Market Inspector has created a short explanatory video in order to provide a quick initial overview.

If you would like to share this video, you are welcome to use the code below:

 <iframe width="770" height="460" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></br><em>Video by <a href="">Market Inspector</a></em>

Of course, caution always has to be exercised in order to not slip into crass stereotypisation. Lewis himself, as many other researchers of culture along with him, has noted that no two people are alike and that the subject of culture needs to be treated with a great amount of care and sensitivity. He goes on to say, however, that for the sake of a meaningful comparison that is to help avoid cultural misunderstandings, some generalisations needed to be made in his work, based on emergent national patterns.

While works such as Lewis’ are undoubtedly highly valuable for gaining a first basic orientation, it has to be noted that the most effective way of developing cultural sensitivity and intercultural communication skills is still the hands-on approach. So do not be afraid to launch yourself into intercultural environments, no matter if it is in a workplace, academic, or even an everyday context.

First-hand experiences will teach you more than books ever could, which will quickly help you to develop a good sensor for successful intercultural communication! It also never goes amiss to start off with a little self-reflexiveness—so why not take this little quiz to find out which of Lewis’ cultural identities overlaps with your personality and communication skills?

If you would like to share this quiz, you are welcome to use the code below:

<iframe height="755" width="100%" style="display: block !important; height: 755px !important; width: 100% !important;" scrolling="0" frameborder="0" src=""></iframe></br><em>Quiz by <a href="">Market Inspector</a></em>