Who Is My Conversation With?
Know who I am speaking with, what their position is in the company, how long they have been with the organization, what their actual role-differ is, or not indicated by the position. With the use of technology and global mergers and acquisitions, companies have become significantly more multicultural. Globalization, multinational, and internationalism have opened borders and built Transatlantic bridges that have afforded new encounters with new food, cultural identity, and new friends. It has become more common for most people to work with colleagues from another country, in a different time zone, and a different way of communicating. There are new challenges, with difficulty with language, social and cultural norms, and communication barriers.
In diverse workplaces, there may be an “official language” spoken; however, there will still be miscommunications from time to time. These miscommunications are more common when a larger subset of workers are not working in their native language. For example, if your company operates in British English but is a business unit in India. It is difficult for all of the India office employees to communicate among themselves and then communicate to the United States headquarters in the southeastern region.
These instances widen the diversity gap and may be frustrating and counterproductive. There are several strategies I would recommend to support the bridges and keep the communication lines flowing.
Identify The Common Interest In The Conversation-Topic Alignment
The alignment with the mission and the organization’s values provides a common ground for the employees to find commonality and a common objective. There is a foundation as an incentive that is beneficial to individuals to communicate with understanding. The benefits are measurable and quantifiable for leaders and the individuals that are communicating. Assessment or audit of communication can occur at the beginning of a merger or project and periodic check-ins via survey or a gamified interaction such as meeting using Mural or Klaxoon so that all voices are heard and experiences documented.
Language Barriers Accommodation And Language Differences
The use of visual aids such as an agreed-upon agenda and relatable examples to describe or example the critical points I want to make. The development of a prototype plan or organization alignment statement only reaches an alignment stage after several iterations. The use of words and phrases that are accepted and usable in the workplace for the employees to understand, adapt, and adopt ensures a level of modification of language barriers.
The Communication Does Not End When You Walk Away
In most instances, the follow-up is as critical as the conversation. After a conversation, provide a wrap-up of high-level points of the discussion. These points can include additional information that is needed or amendments to the presented material. These are the ways for cognitive problem-solving and decision-making. The next steps in the wrap-up are for future conversations that pave the roadmap to reach success. Across the organization, a communication matrix is a cross-functionally tool for project engagement, updates, network development, and transparency.
“It is not the misinterpretation of words; it is the silence that creates the barriers”
Written by: Jeannice Samani, Executive Consultant at The Kaleidoscope Group