The Impact of Globalization on Communication Skills Development
Communication skills development has always been an important factor of success in business, but the influence of globalization and cross-cultural interaction in recent decades has impacted the types of communication skills needed in dramatic ways. No longer can entrepreneurs afford to simply communicate well within their own homogenous cultures. Today, people need to understand the dynamics of long-distance collaboration, the impact of culture on manners of speaking and body language, and how to use technology to communicate with people on the other side of the globe. Understanding the impact of globalization on each of these factors can help you to select the most useful communication skills development programs for yourself or your employees.
Globalization has introduced virtual communication and collaboration as a major part of workplace dynamics. Modern entrepreneurs need to understand the strengths and limitations of different communications media, and how to use each medium to maximum effect. For example, communicating via email to distant team members requires a certain etiquette and nuance not necessarily required in face-to-face interactions. Holding virtual meetings requires a similar change in approach, and people who are unaccustomed to communicating in groups in virtual settings can find themselves lost, confused or unable to share their input. When choosing a communication skills training program, look for courses that address the challenges of virtual interactions.
The need for cultural awareness is a major impact of globalization on the required skillset of effective communicators, resulting in the evolution of communication skills development programs. Modern entrepreneurs and employees need the ability to catch subtle nuances of people's manner of speech when communicating across cultures. Even when two people are speaking the same language, cultural differences can affect vocabulary, colloquial expressions, voice tone and taboo topics. In Japanese business culture, for example, it can be considered rude to ask personal questions in an initial business meeting. In the U.S., on the other hand, asking personal questions and sharing personal information can display warmth and openness. American and Japanese businesspeople who understand this about each other can communicate in ways that resonate more effectively with each other.
Awareness of cultural differences in body language can be just as important as the nuances of speech. Modern training programs teach students to understand acceptable speaking distances, conflict styles, eye contact and posture in different cultures, accepting that the physical expressions of their own culture are not universally accepted. Look for training programs that address these differences to prepare you for face-to-face meetings with foreign suppliers, customers or team members.
The advent of global collaboration introduces another new dynamic to communication skills -- the need to communicate and share information with people across several time zones. When people collaborate with others on the other side of the globe, their counterparts are usually at home asleep while they themselves are at work. Today's communication skills development programs should address the nuances of overcoming this challenge by teaching people to understand the information needs of their colleagues, according to the communication styles of different countries or cultures. Being able to effectively share information between shifts can make or break the productivity of a geographically dispersed team, making this an important issue for many companies.