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How to communicate effectively across cultures

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Part 1 - High-context vs low-context communication

What does it take to be an excellent communicator?

Being clear and concise? Speaking with confidence? Being friendly and empathetic?

Certainly, all of these are important, but the real answer is: cultural awareness.

Because what is considered good communication can be fundamentally different from one culture to another.

I experienced that first hand when I first moved to Japan. Even though I spoke the language, it took me some time to figure out why I sometimes experienced a certain disconnect when talking to people - and how to eventually adjust my communication style.

The most important, fundamental principle I learned was the difference between high-context and low-context languages/cultures.

If you are working in a multicultural environment, it’s crucial to understand this principle. In this video, I explain what it is and what to be mindful of when communicating across cultures.


Watch part 2 of the video about how to give negative feedback here.

This video is part of a webinar I gave about The Challenges of Cross-Cultural Communication. You can watch the full video on Youtube.


The data I present comes from Erin Meyer’s “The Culture Map”, a highly interesting book about cross-cultural communication. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this topic.

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