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Best Practices – Intercultural Communication

Behavioural change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort and engagement. With that in mind, we’ve written out some tips to help you get the most out of our Intercultural Communication training. 

Before your training:

Before the start of your course it’s helpful to start engaging with the topic. Keep it easy and relevant to you. If interested, you can ask your trainer for some suggested readings or videos to start some directed exposure. It might also help to understand the difference between intercultural, multicultural and cross-cultural communication. Otherwise, work on coming prepared! This mostly includes asking around or asking your manager to select a few people to reflect on their own, individual, intercultural interactions. Thinking of a specific moment to discuss in the training has the benefit of creating early reflections, but offering a relevant and relatable real-world case study creates more engagement.

Additionally, if you’ve purchased our Cultural Profiler tool alongside your training, explore it before you start! It will be fully introduced during the training, but by exploring it beforehand, it allows our students to start seeing some similarities and differences between themselves and various cultures. Doing so ahead of the training also allows for a period of reflection prior to the training, which the trainer can then build upon.

During and after your training:

After the training is completed, or if you’re taking a multi-day training, keep the discussion flowing! Interacting and creating a connection with this new information is key for retention. Work with your team, or a buddy, to discuss cultural differences and how it might relate to your work. This can be done in a formally scheduled time, or even over a coffee!

As the training comes to an end, work with your manager or HR to develop individual or buddy follow-up plans. Scheduling working/discussion times as well as check-ins with management or HR will help structure your continued development and engagement with the material. Embed the lessons you’ve just learned. Think about how this training can introduce your organisation to productive team building and behavioural change. What behaviours can, or should, change? Continue to go through our reading list, especially check out topics such as DEI and the fluency gap. Don’t let this training end with the end of our time together.

Paul Van Zanten
Paul is an American intercultural communications professional living in the Netherlands and connecting with his Dutch roots. With a passion for travel, as well as gaining new perspectives and experiences, Paul aims to further his growth, as well as that of others at Language Partners.

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