Intercultural communication can cause a lot of problems like misunderstandings, conflict, anger etc. if a person fails to understand other person cultural beliefs and values. When I first arrived in the USA for higher studies I faced a lot of problems because I failed to understand what another person actually means and it took me a lot of time to make any friends. Cultural differences can cause a lot of problems and can increase person anxiety and stress level to its peak. But there are some intercultural communication tips that I applied personally, and I will share here with you, that actually proved to be very useful for me. So if a person keeps these tips in mind I am sure that he/she won’t face any kind of problems in a foreign country.
Firstly, establishing rules can prove to be very useful for a person who goes for higher education or for a job in a foreign country. Rules will help a person to understand the importance of punctuality, what is expected from them etc. For example, when I worked on a group project with other students of different cultural backgrounds in the USA we usually discuss the time of the meeting and what needs to be done in that meeting and make sure that every person understands and accepts it, simply to avoid disputes. Another example is when I worked in a non-profit organization for special children in my country, Pakistan, there were people of different religious backgrounds were working there. Our staff then make sure that they understand their cultural beliefs and give them some flexibility in timings etc. This proved to be very useful as the employees were satisfied and were working to their potential.
Secondly, sometimes individuals in the different country feel hesitant to ask something about a thing they do not understand. This is simply because of the reason that they are not quite sure of how another person will react. In my personal experience asking questions do solve a lot of misunderstandings. For example I came across this news on the internet long ago that Pepsi decided to do a marketing campaign in China and Pepsi developed a slogan as “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation”, which when was translated into Chinese language it meant “Pepsi brings your ancestor back from the grave”, and this is considered as rude in China. So Pepsi as a big brand should have done some research on how will the Chinese people behave or react to this slogan in order to avoid misunderstandings.
Also, it is important to become more aware of our cultural differences, as well as discovering our resemblances, can help us communicate with each other more effectively. Knowing where cultural differences are at work is the first step toward understanding and respecting each other.