3 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Intercultural Communication Skills

Cognitive biases affect our behavior in pretty much any aspect of life. They are a kind of mental shortcut which our brain uses for the sake of reaching conclusions faster and more efficiently. Stereotyping, for example, is a cognitive bias which all of us have heard of before. As part of stereotyping, we are making assumptions about somebody’s behavior on…

Cultural Innovation: Growing Beyond the Constraints of Your Cultural Conditioning

The lessons we learned from simply being in any particular environment put us into a mental cage. People primarily learn through cultural transmission. This process can happen through a large variety of means such as communicating with other people, observing and imitating other people’s behavior, reading books, watching movies, going to seminars and pretty much any other way of interacting…

Intercultural Empathy: A Guide to Real Understanding Across Cultures

Intercultural empathy is one of the key skills needed to develop a real understanding across cultures. Essentially, it consists of three dimensions: Cognitive empathy: the ability to put ourselves into the perspective of the other person and imagine how he or she perceives a particular situation Emotional empathy: the ability to imagine the feelings that the other is feeling in a particular…

Let’s Talk About Harmony: A Guide to Collective Communication Environments

Harmony is one of the most central ideas in many collective cultures. Recently, me and my classmates had an interesting conversation about a situation that happened in a class-setting. There was a professor who reacted very emotionally and defensively on any suggestion made by the students about how to improve the structure of the class. At one point the discussion…

3 Steps Helping You to Deal With Your Own Ethnocentrism

We are all affected by ethnocentrism. We simply can’t avoid it. And it doesn’t make sense to deny it. Ethnocentrism means that when we are looking at the behavioral patterns and beliefs from another culture, we are judging them based on the standards of our own cultural conditioning. One simple example I have come across again and again are German…

How to Create Balance Between Firmness of Character and Adaptability

Are you more like the break-dancer, or are you more like the sumo-ringer? The break-dancer is flexible. He adjusts quickly to any music which is playing, and he can move his body in a large variety of ways. The sumo-ringer is firm. He can withstand any weight that is pressing on him and he has the strength of will to…