What is culture awareness training?

Cultural awareness becomes central when we have to interact with people from other cultures. People see, interpret and evaluate things in a different ways. What is considered an appropriate behavior in one culture is frequently inappropriate in another one. Misunderstandings arise when I use my meanings to make sense of your reality.

Becoming aware of our cultural dynamics is a difficult task because culture is not conscious to us. Since we are born we have learned to see and do things at an unconscious level. Our experiences, our values and our cultural background lead us to see and do things in a certain way. Sometimes we have to step outside of our cultural boundaries in order to realize the impact that our culture has on our behavior. It is very helpful to gather feedback from foreign colleagues on our behavior to get more clarity on our cultural traits.

Our Culture Awareness Training provides an understanding of the different cultural rules and behaviors that exist, how we react to these differences and how to avoid misunderstandings to improve business and personal success.

cultural values

COURSE CONTENT

All our Culture Awareness Training courses are designed to meet the specific needs of our clients depending on their specific requirements and existing skills set.   A Culture Awareness Training course typically includes:

  • What is cultural awareness?
  • Cultural values and attitudes (time, space, group dynamics, authority, tasks, relationships)
  • Communication styles
  • Cross-cultural management skills
  • Working together across cultures
  • Developing cultural awareness
  • Language issues
  • Tips and strategies for specific countries

BENEFITS OF CULTURE AWARENESS TRAINING

Our Culture Awareness Training course will provide you with:

  • In-depth cultural awareness and understanding of the impact of cultural differences
  • The necessary foundation and tools to become culturally competent
  • A better understanding of the cultural challenges facing multicultural workplaces
  • The opportunity to enhance cultural sensitivity and competence
  • Practical tools to reduce cross-cultural misunderstanding and encourage positive cross-cultural working relationships

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Our Culture Awareness Training course will be of benefit if you:

  • Your organisation is growing its business beyond national borders
  • You and your staff are increasingly working with colleagues in other countries
  • Your staff is becoming more culturally diverse
  • You are involved in multinational projects and programmes

 


COURSE DETAILS

Cultural Awareness training provides an understanding of the different cultural rules and behaviors that exist, how we react to these differences and how to avoid misunderstandings to improve business and personal success. Cultural Awareness is the foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions.

WHAT IS CULTURE?

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Culture is a notoriously difficult term to define. Here are some example: ‘Culture is a fuzzy set of basic assumptions and values, orientations to life, beliefs, policies, procedures and behavioral conventions that are shared by a group of people, and that influence (but do not determine) each member’s behavior and his/her interpretations of the ‘meaning’ of other people’s behavior. Here, then, are three very different understandings of culture, but it is good to know that culture shapes how we understand that incompatibility, what actions and reactions are seen as appropriate, and what possible solutions would look like.


It is of paramount importance that we detect and understand the cultural differences and consequently remember the fact that, due to them, there is no “one best way of managing” organizations. – Trompenaars


CULTURE IS LIKE AN ICEBERG

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CULTURE is often compared to an iceberg which has both visible (on the surface) and invisible (below the surface) parts. Above the surface are the visible aspects of culture which are easy to see such as language, food, greetings, dress, & music. Because we see them we can react to them. However, the biggest part of culture is hidden below the surface and includes the invisible rules that define each culture. Those elements which are not as obvious such as why someone eats or dresses the way they do are represented by the much larger portion of the iceberg underwater. Difficulties arise when the rules of one culture are applied to interpret the behavior of another with a different set of cultural rules. Failure to understand and recognize these parts of culture and the layers that compose them, as well as how they influence each other is the main reason misunderstandings occur when doing business internationally.

Awareness of range of feelings in a new environment can motivate us to learn intercultural competence skills.


CULTURE GIVES CONTEXT & MEANING 

Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-01 um 13.29.38Cultural awareness becomes central when we have to interact with people from other cultures. People see, interpret and evaluate things in a different ways. What is considered an appropriate behavior in one culture is frequently inappropriate in another one. Misunderstandings arise when I use my meanings to make sense of your reality.

– It is a filter through which people process their experiences and events of their lives.

– It influences people’s values, actions, and expectations of themselves.

– It impacts people’s perceptions and expectations of others.


Cultural Awareness is the foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions. – Stephanie Quappe


INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

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When you step into a foreign culture, suddenly things seem different. You don’t know what to do or say. Learning about the Intercultural Communication as a starting point, you can evaluate your approach, your decisions, and actions based on a general sense of how the society might think and react to you. If we look at communication as a process of coding and decoding of messages, it is obvious that there are many points in the process where the communication can break down. In particular, successful communication depends crucially on shared culture. When you have communication between people of different cultures, even if they share a common language, things can go wrong. In particular, knowledge of a language does not automatically give you the background knowledge that native speakers assume you share.


Intercultural communication refers to communication between people who have different cultural beliefs, values or ways of behaving. – De Vito


TROUBLE ACROSS CULTURES

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Hofstede makes the important point that although certain aspects of culture are physically visible, their meaning is invisible: ‘their cultural meaning … lies precisely and only in the way these practices are interpreted by the insiders.’ For example, a gesture such as the ‘ring gesture’ (thumb and forefinger touching) may be interpreted as conveying agreement, approval or acceptance in the USA, the UK and Canada, but as an insult or obscene gesture in several Mediterranean countries. Similarly, choice of clothing can be interpreted differently by different groups of people, in terms of indications of wealth, ostentation, appropriateness, and so onOne answer to the question of why misunderstandings occur is that many people naively assume that certain similarities exist among all people of the world; they expect that simply being human makes everyone alike. Unfortunately, vastly different values, beliefs, and attitudes that vary from culture to culture are often overlooked.


Saying that “people are people” is a common trap, even when it reduces the discomfort of dealing with difference.


INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE

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The basic requirements for intercultural competence are empathy, an understanding of other people’s behaviors and ways of thinking, and the ability to express one’s own way of thinking. It is a balance, situatively adapted, among four parts:

– knowledge – about other cultures, people, nations, behaviors and Cultural identity – knowledge about one’s own culture.

– empathy – understanding feelings and needs of other people

– self-confidence – knowing what I want, my strengths and weaknesses


Awareness of range of feelings in a new environment can motivate us to learn intercultural competence skills. 


  • Theoretical short lectures and multimedia presentation
  • Communication exercises. We learn how to improve cross-cultural communication.
  • Case studies – based on specific culture. A case study is a description of a realistic situation including sufficient detail of the perspectives of the different characters to make it possible for the participants in a training program to analyse the problems involved and to determine possible solutions.
  • Simulation of real situations – participants will take over the different roles. Simulation games and role plays. The major and most appropriate purpose of a role play is skill building. It is a training activity where participants take on characteristics of people other than themselves in order to learn how to interact in specific situations with members of a specific culture.
  • Interactive video exercises (viewing recorded situations at work and analysing the different approaches


OUR INTERCULTURAL APPROACH

Our Intercultural Training is a In-House Training available seven days a week, 365 days a year at your offices in any location worldwide.  We usually recommend a one or two day course but can also offer a more flexible format to suit your schedule.

The training needs assessment helps us find common training programs for your group of employees. The identification of training needs is the first step in a uniform method of instructional design. We suggest to perform the assessment in form of Personal Analysis. We will start to get to know our participants and their learning needs by sending them a short questionnaire before the start of the training. However the Organizational Analysis, in form of consultation with persons in key positions, and/or with specific knowledge could be also conducted via video conferences or done by phone call, if desirable.

We would like to provide participants with the reading materials to prepare themselves for the training taught in the course. The pre-training-material may include introduction letter to the training approach and objectives, some informations about our methods and rules, and recommended books and readings. In addition, we suggest the participants to get familiar with some cross cultural tools available online.

Suitably tailored training materials will be provided  and your trainer will provide a balance of structured input and discussion of case studies, critical incidents and scenarios relevant to your own particular context. The most appropriate training format, content and approach for your Intercultural Training course will be discussed during your diagnostic consultancy.


REQUEST A PROPOSAL

We would be happy to talk with you about your department or organization’s needs and possible solutions. Please us for further information about what the we can do to assist you. Please contact us!

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